How can you prepare most effectively for the MCAT?
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As always, the best way to prepare for the MCAT is to answer practice questions. By using the AAMC official practice tests in a realistic exam setting, students can best assess themselves and review the questions and subjects which are causing them problems in the last few weeks before their test day. But there’s more you can do to prepare, as well, starting earlier.
The MCAT is usually taken by premed students in their junior or senior year in college. August is the busiest time to take it, as it is right before medical school applications get submitted.
It is important to take the MCAT early so the results will be available by the time you submit your applications to medical school. However, it is much more important to take the exam when you are ready since getting a low score will greatly impact your chances of getting in.It is important to take the MCAT early so the results will be available by the time you submit your applications to medical school.Click To Tweet
Since the number of admissions to medical school per year is limited (~19,000 admitted vs ~44,000 applying), getting a high MCAT score (around a 510 and up) will increase your chances of getting admitted. This is especially important if you are planning to enter a so-called “top tier medical school,” as their average MCAT scores are higher than average.
One option that a lot of premed students take is enrolling for review classes that are specifically targeted for the MCAT, such as those by Princeton Review and Kaplan. These will help you prepare for the exam in multiple ways, ranging from reviewing the necessary subjects to test-taking strategies to help you in the actual test.
Options for MCAT Prep
There are many options you can take for MCAT prep, ranging from books to online tutorials, boot camps, classroom review sessions, small-group sessions, and private tutors. Each has their own advantages and costs, and the choice of which of these to take will depend largely on the person.There are many options you can take for MCAT prep, ranging from books to online tutorials, boot camps, classroom review sessions, small-group sessions, and private tutors.Click To Tweet
MCAT books are the most basic of all basic review materials that all aspiring students must have.
- Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)’s Comprehensive Books for the MCAT
- Examkrackers 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning
- Kaplan MCAT Review: Complete 5-Book Series (Kaplan MCAT Complete Subject Review)
- Examkrackers Complete MCAT Study Pkg: 5 Book Package
MCAT Flashcards: Learn While Standing in Line
MCAT Audio Books: Great for the Road
Online MCAT Courses
Both Kaplan and The Princeton Review have online MCAT Review Courses.
Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)
Next Step has been a valuable partner to the Medical School Headquarters and has helped many of our listeners/readers because I have recommended them. We have collaborated on producing The MCAT Podcast and The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT.
Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) focuses on one-on-one MCAT tutoring.
Next Step MCAT Practice Exams
The Princeton Review
- 105 hours of videos
- Office Hours for more interaction
Check out their promotional video.
MCAT Summer Bootcamp
If you’ve already taken the MCAT and didn’t score as well as you wanted, or you just know that you need a little extra help, The Princeton Review has a six-week summer review session with a total of 370 hours worth of intensive MCAT instruction. You will also have access to 19 full-length practice exams. Save $100 on any MCAT course.
MCAT Classroom Courses
Again, both Kaplan and The Princeton Review have classroom-based MCAT Review Courses. These MCAT courses are in a typical classroom set up, which will provide you with a tremendous amount of review sessions, intensive coaching, and practice exams. These are good for students who want a more traditional classroom setup. If you know of any other MCAT tutoring companies, please let me know so I can add them.
The Princeton Review MCAT classroom is 105 hours of intensive live instruction with access to 19 full-length MCAT practice tests. You have access to multiple instructors, which is very beneficial if you don’t mesh with one of them. Save $100 on any MCAT© course.
Small-Group MCAT Tutoring
The in-between of the classroom setup and the private tutor. This is perfect for those students who generally excel in a small group setup but also want more focused and intensive coaching sessions.
The Princeton Review has small-group instruction with only four students per class. Save $100 on any MCAT© course.