By Mia Wang
If you are interested in medical school, the MCAT is a necessary (and extremely important) step in the application process. I’ve taken the test twice using two different study plans, so I have some tips that will help you start the process of becoming a doctor!
Dedicate 6-12 weeks to studying. Ideally, schedule this when you have few other things going on (during summer or a break perhaps). Start by making a detailed plan for when you're going to cover each topic, and remember that it might take longer if the material is not as fresh in your mind.
Do practice questions! When I studied, I used the UWorld MCAT question bank. It runs cheaper than other preparation products at $239 for a three-month subscription. UWorld offers over 2,000 questions, and I recommend doing them all to help you become more comfortable with the question styles and content. Completing questions in each subsection and then reviewing what you get wrong can be a helpful strategy. There are many other MCAT prep courses available, but I found the UWorld much more helpful than the Kaplan books. I found the ExamKracker books to be helpful for content review because they explain what you need to know, without going into too much detail. Be sure to check out your local library's selection of practice books, too!
Watch videos on concepts you don’t understand. Sadly, the Kahn Academy MCAT videos are being archived on September 21, 2021, but there are many other videos about specific concepts out there for free. I struggled understanding optics and watched many videos about the topic to get more comfortable.
Take multiple full-length tests. There are several full-length tests available on the AAMC website. The AAMC writes the MCAT, so these full-length tests give you the most accurate feel and score compared to other options. My advice would be to take these practice tests just like you would the real thing- no distractions, only taking the allowed breaks, and doing so in a single sitting. The MCAT is definitely a marathon, so it's important to start building stamina early on.
Take care of yourself during your studying time! Self-care is so important during this stressful time. Whatever you need to do to relax, do it.
The MCAT can seem like a daunting task, but it is doable if you stay focused and motivated.
Mia is a science and math tutor and will be attending medical school next year.