How do you plan on studying for the MCAT?

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    You know, they say to start studying for the MCAT a year in advance, that time is now for me. How do you plan on studying for the MCAT? How did others study for the MCAT?

    Should I concentrate of recapping my general bios and chem for the knowlege testing first? Should I concentrate on conceptual understanding?

    I think I will start in bio and study what I have forgotten, chemistry, etc. Then save verbal reasoning for the last. I dunno.

    Im not sure I will have the money to take a MCAT prep course next year. Have any of you taken the MCAT and have done well without a prep course?

    Any replies would be valued!



    Oh boy, a year in advance? I don’t know about the utility of that, unless you are so far removed from all your premed requirements that you really don’t remember any of it. This was a long time ago for me now but when I took it I was in college and there really wasn’t that much time for extra studying, but on the flip side I had been immersed in a number of the prereqs and other related courses. I didn’t take a prep course and I did fine but if you study some, take the pretend exams and don’t do well you might consider it. If you do fine on the practice tests I don’t see the point. One thing that I knew that helped me on the physical sciences part of the test was UNITS. You don’t have to memorize a bunch of scientific equations; if you know what comprises the units you can quickly remember the equations, and easier to remember concepts if you’re not bogged down with a bunch of memorization. I didn’t practice for the writing part at all and regretted it, so don’t forget about that one (as if you would).


    Yeah, I say that because Im on break! 😀 I just really dont know what Im supposed to be doing. Im looking for guidance, I guess. I have purchased some MCAT prep workbooks, and have practiced over this break that is about to end. I was sucking BIG TIME on the verbal reasoning, then to my surprise….on one of the passages I got all the answers correct, I think there were 9 questions—-a big improvement for me. I am getting 6’s on the bio and physical sciences, but of course I havent taken Ochem or physics yet. I guess that is not too awful bad for a beginner? I guess it is kinda early for me to start freaking out now. I do seem to study well on my own, but wondered if I would miss something by not taking or being able to take a prep course.Thanks for your input!


    Do not start studying for the MCAT one year in advance that is way too early and by the time the MCAT gets to you, you will have severe burnout. The only thing that you can work on starting now is VR by reading complicated and convoluted totally boring texts. A good way to start is going to a library and start reading Scientific American this will be good warm-up and look for the central idea of the text, try to get a feel for the author for example is the author a woman or a man? liberal or not? stuff like that. Many of the MCAT questions will focus on would the author do this or that, and by getting a feel for the author this will help. Also, you can start memorizing some of the more important physics equations and start practicing doing division, multiplication, square roots, exponentials w/o a calculator by rounding up or down. I would suggest starting to study no less than 3 months out that should do it. I started during Xmas break up until the April MCAT with days off every week. The MCAT is almost 100% about conceptual thinking so memorizing is not so good unless it is formulas or the sines, cosines of frequent angles, IR peaks, etc.


    Dana, I agree…a year is too long to study for a test. By the time February rolls around, you’ll be tired, and that’s when you’ll need to study most.

    I recommend a Kaplan-type course…especially for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to “figure out” what to study. These courses *organize* and *focus* your attention…and for a busy young woman with children, that is what you need. Of course you can organize and focus yourself…

    I’d start probably at the beginning of the year (January for an April exam). Easy at first, then as time passes, pick up the intensity. Of course, as stated, it’s never too early to start reading in preparation for the VR section….


    Thanks for the guidance! I value your advices, you guys have been through this all. Thanks a million!

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