MCAT Study Tips

Here is one of our favourite pages on site. These tips are a collection of our tutors' and students' comments and and self experience. It's always good to learn from other people's mistakes, or as Voltaire said -  "Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?"
 
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How to study for the MCAT?

As the MCAT demands the mastery of so many fields of thought and knowledge, a wise planning of the preparation journey is of great importance. That is why our experienced tutors have gathered their insights and into strategical MCAT tips.


When should I start studying?

We recommend taking the test the year before you are planning on starting your medical studies. Assuming that most students start preparing while they are still at the midst of premed studies, a well planned preparation journey should revolve around 3-4 months.

MCAT Tip 1 - AAMC

Start preparing by reading MCAT related content on the AAMC site. The AAMC site provides important general information about the MCAT test, and should be your first stop.
Learn more about the MCAT format.

MCAT tip 2 - study schedule

Create a daily MCAT study schedule that wisely divides your time between the different sections and dedicate 4-5 hours of continuous study each day, in order to adapt to the length of the real test. Diversifying your schedule with all four sections is important for two reasons; first, as in the test, you are asked to shift from one field of knowledge to another in a matter of minutes. Second, it drives interest into your schedule and prevents you from wearing out in early stages of the preparation journey.
 

MCAT tip 3 - gather data and study materials

Gather all the relevant scientific material you have at reach, starting from organized college-course materials to preparation books and online resources. Surprisingly, much of the theoretical knowledge required for the test is offered online for free. With today's free access to information, resources such as Google books, university websites and online lectures are at reach and can serve as a great alternative for buying science prep guides.

MCAT tip 4 - topics checklist


Have a checklist of subjects which you must review for each section. Here is a list of topics that comprise the scientific MCAT sections. Here are links  to the topics lists of the science sections of the MCAT:
MCAT biology topics
MCAT physics topics

MCAT tip 5 - verbal and writing

Make sure you aquire the necessary skills for the verbal reasoning and writing sample sections.
The verbal reasoning and writing sample sections are two fields of knowledge which are not directly dealt with during undergraduate studies. succeeding in these sections not only requires intensive practice but also the implementation of concepts that are not as technical as those presented in biological and physical sciences.

The MCAT writing sample section demands skillful writing and expressive abilities which can be aquired with the right guidance.

The MCAT verbal reasoning section is considered by many students as the toughest as it demands a unique analysis and interpretation of ideas. Premed students who frequently excel at natural sciences find themselves stumbled upon the skills required for this section.

Here at TestPrep-Online, our experts have turned verbal reasoning and essay writing from obstacle-sections into stepping stones on the way to a higher MCAT score.

MCAT tip 6 - practice makes perfect

Practice as much as possible. It is important to accompany each theoretical subject you review with relevant practice questions. Do not proceed to a new subject without practicing the one you have just finished reviewing. 

MCAT tip 7 - FLs

Get familiar with the real test format. Trying to practice a full MCAT test prior to covering the required topics can turn into an advantage although it will not yield a satisfactory score; a real MCAT test simlulation gives you an opportunity to get used to the test environment, sharpen your general test skills such as endurance and concentration and more importantly - learn solving strategies through explanantions.
Do not leave this experience to the last two weeks of your study plan. We recommend you take partial tests or tests that are known to be easy in early stages of your study schedule and then move on to advanced level tests. Try a free MCAT practice

MCAT tip 8 - tackle weaknesses

Don't tempt to concentrate on the subjects you're good at in the first place. Most students tend to start their daily study by practicing the subjects which they know best. Our experience proves that this approach is problematic. It is recommended to focus on less familiar, underscored subjects, since they demand higher levels of concentration and motivation that are usually present at the beginning of each study session.

MCAT tip 9 - simulate the real thing

Simulate a real test environment. There are numerous studies that have shown that imitation of real test environment can substantially increase examinees' chances of achieving a higher score. When reaching the stage at which you are ready to simulate advanced level full MCAT tests, try taking them at the same time in which the real test will be administered:
For single administration dates - the test begins either at 8:00 am or 13:00 pm.
Double administration dates have the first test at 8:00 am and 14:00pm.

The importance of test simulation cannot be overemphasized. Simulating full practice tests at the hour in which they will be taken is an important step on the way to increase your MCAT score. Learn more about our MCAT practice tests.

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