Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A – What’s the Best Way to Prep for the MCAT?

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Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A - What's the Best Way to Prep for the MCAT?

Session 77

Should you start thinking about the MCAT as you’re still taking prerequisites? Today’s caller is getting started early. Dr. Gray talks timelines and prep.

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For more help on your medical school application, check out The Premed Years Podcast.

[00:35] Question of the Day

Our student today is currently an undergrad asking how to best prepare for the MCAT, which he will be taking in a year. So he still has enough time. He’s taking organic chemistry and then followed by physics and then he’s done.

[01:18] The Best MCAT Prep

It’s awesome that our student is thinking about MCAT prep this far in advance. Most students wouldn’t even know what the MCAT is. They’ll just even sign up and take it.

So the best preparation for the MCAT is doing well in your courses, the current classes that you’re doing right now, building that foundation of science.

If you’ve taken your prereqs in five years or more, I would usually recommend to go back and retake your courses. Not just because it’ll look good to the medical schools, but also it’ll help you for the MCAT.

There are students out there who are just really good at taking standardized tests and they do well in the MCAT without going back and retaking their prereqs but this is a whole nother subject.

[02:21] Balancing MCAT Prep and Undergrad

A lot of students will go and buy MCAT prep books. Then, for instance, they see how these books say how organic chemistry is very important. So they go through the college course and focus on it more knowing it’s going to be a popular topic on the MCAT.

“What you cover in your college courses is going to be much, much more in-depth than what the MCAT is going to expect.”Click To Tweet

So don’t get wrapped up into just studying for the MCAT and then you get distracted and then you do poorly in your college course and get a bad grade.

There’s a balance and a trade off as you’re going through, through this process.

You have the book and that underlying knowledge about whatever topic and then this is going to carry over to your MCAT. So that’s important. But beyond that, you shouldn’t be doing hardcore MCAT prep at this point.

Just really focus on your classes. And then six months or so out from the MCAT, start diving into the prep.

[04:26] Understanding the Way You Study Best

You have to be self-aware enough to know what’s going to work for you. Everybody’s going to have one study method versus another. Whether or not it works better or not, you’re just going to enjoy one thing versus another.

“Studying is a very personal thing.”Click To Tweet

You might love listening to things to learn. Or you don’t like sitting with a book open in front of you. You have to understand yourself and know yourself. Be self-aware enough to know what works for you.

[05:47] Taking Multiple Prep Courses

Most people suffer with the verbal section. Jack Westin is something you can look into. There’s nothing wrong with taking multiple courses.

But I recommend you take the course first. Check out Next Step Test Prep and use the promo code MSHQ to save some money. But whatever course you’re going to use, and if you find struggling with the CARS section and if you find that the review resources in whatever course you’re taking aren’t enough for you, then definitely go and check out Jack Westin.


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