In today’s episode, Bryan and I talk about the first steps when you want to dip your toes into preparing for the MCAT, particularly starting with the diagnostic test—why you need to take it, when to take it, and more about taking the MCAT diagnostic test.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
Everyone has to take an MCAT diagnostic test.
You have to take something a diagnostic test that is very similar to the real MCAT. The test doesn’t have to be a full 8-hour day, but it should meet the following criteria:
- Should be in the format of the actual exam.
- Should simulate the difficulty of the real exam.
- Must give you an approximate score at the end, so you know where you’re starting out.
The MCAT diagnostic test at Next Step:
The free MCAT diagnostic test offered by Next Step is half-length, so it’s 20 passages long and takes three and a half hours.
This initial diagnostic test at Next Step has high statistical validity and it is of a difficulty that closely approximates the real AAMC.
They’ve tweaked their scoring scale to make certain that the diagnostic score will highly predict how you would do in an official AAMC practice exam.This initial diagnostic test at Next Step has high statistical validity and it is of a difficulty that closely approximates the real AAMC exam.Click To Tweet
When to take your MCAT diagnostic test:
- You shouldn’t even be preparing to take the MCAT until you’ve done most or all of the prerequisite coursework.
- The MCAT diagnostic test falls at the very beginning of the prep process (anywhere from 3 to 6 months before when you plan to take the MCAT).
- The amount of time you have to put into the MCAT varies by orders of magnitude for different students.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my book about the MCAT, co-written with Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep): The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT.
- Related episode: How Should I Start Preparing for the MCAT?
- Related episode: Do I Need to Take an MCAT Prep Course?
- Need MCAT Prep? Get tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!