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MCAT Preparation: MCAT Prep Guide

How Should I Prepare for the MCAT?

WITH CARE! We strongly encourage students to review thoroughly for the exam. The MCAT is a six-hour test covering the basic concepts of biology, chemistry and physics. The MCAT measures content, problem solving skills, and ability to interpret data. Since this is a timed test, it also tests one's ability to read quickly and comprehend rather complicated passages. Excellent writing skills are also required for the Writing Sample. We encourage applicants to continue to develop reading and writing skills. Several study guides are available. We suggest previewing sample test materials from several sources. The Premedical Club offers a MOCK MCAT each semester. We strongly recommend taking several practice tests given under test conditions before taking the "real thing" in April. Students have told us that preparation for the MCAT is equivalent to a 5-6 credit hour course. Most of all, DO NOT take the MCAT until you have taken the prerequisite courses. Give yourself every chance to be successful.

The Biological and Physical Sciences sections of the MCAT are knowledge-based, not aptitude or IQ based.

  1. In order to do well on these sections of the exam, it is necessary to increase and consolidate your knowledge of the material.
  2. You must complete all of the courses, General Biology 1,2, Physics 1,2, Chemistry 1,2, and Organic Chemistry 1,2, before you will be able to prepare properly for the MCAT.
  3. Start preparing six months before the test date.
  4. Set aside two or three hours, six days a week, for your preparations.
  5. Do not start earlier than six months, to avoid burnout. Do not start later than six months, since you want to master a large body of material.
  6. Take one practice MCAT to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are.
  7. Rank the three areas (Chemistry, Biological, Physics) from your weakest to your strongest.
  8. Start with your weakest area. As the MCAT draws nearer, you will need less time to study your stronger areas.
  9. Spend fifteen minutes of each study session getting an overview of the material you will study.
  10. Spend one or two hours studying by whatever method works best for you.
    • If you usually use flash cards to study for courses, then use flash cards to prepare for the MCAT.
    • If you normally outline sections/chapters for your courses, then do outlines to study for the MCAT.
  11. Spend five minutes at the end of the session reviewing what you have learned.
  12. Test yourself on the material three days after you've studied it, and again seven days after that (you want long-term retention).
  13. You should aim at getting a 70% or better score on each section. This, when averaged over all of the sections, should translate to a score of 10 on the MCAT for Biological Sciences and for the Physical Sciences.

The verbal section is similar to verbal sections on SAT, LSAT, GRE, etc. You study for it differently.

  1. Get lots of sample tests, and do sample tests, do sample tests, do sample tests.


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