How did you prepare yourself, as a student and an individual, for the MCAT?
Being a high school junior, I have experienced scheduling studying for the ACT with regular high school life. However, how were you able to balance such an imposing and important test, the MCAT, with college life? How were you able to find time to do things for yourself and offset that with preparing for med school?
I haven't personally studied for the MCAT, but I worked for a test-prep company and am the daughter of doctors so I have some relevant information for you. The common practice is to start prepping casually in the Fall of your junior year of college, but you can start as soon as you want. My father and a lot of my students/clients spent the entire summer between their junior/senior year studying for MCAT like it was a full time job. The most important piece of information you need in order to determine how/what to prep for is the results of your first full-length, sit down for all 7 hours in a quiet room, practice test. You must take the practice test all in one shot to get an accurate measure. How you perform on a section after you've done 4 before it and know you have another behind it is different than if you were to sit down and do one section each day over the course of days. That's practice, not an assessment. Many test-prep companies offer a free test on their website. Those can be trusted, not the random ones you google. Also, test prep companies offer free practice test and score-back events in partnership with schools. At some colleges, student groups like the pre-med club have a relationship/partnership with a local test-prep company and offer classes at a discounted rate. Once you have the results of your practice test, this is what I would suggest: If you're pretty "even" across all your subjects and feel you need 7+ point increase, make an investment to take a prep course, they cover both content and strategy. A lot of times companies will offer them online if they're not available locally. Don't discredit that. For my company, some of my best test prep tutor/teachers would have life events like kids, or relocate for a job, that would put them 3-4 hours away from a local office, and they would certify to do online teaching/tutoring in order to stay active with the company because they are passionate about what they do. You can ask about their years with the company/qualifications. Online offers a ton of flexibility if you're a busy student. Moving back to the score: If you were weighted, strong in a couple areas but significantly lower in another one or two, I would suggest private tutoring, especially if you're only a 1-5 points away from your goal score. If you're price-conscious and incredibly motivated, a lot of test-prep companies offer self-prep courses with thousands of practice questions, 5 or more full-length practice tests, personalized score reports and results-based suggestions, etc. By the way, I no longer work for a test prep company, but I do believe in the materials/strategies and have seen increases when the student is invested in "the process" and puts in the work. What I would consider to be the "ideal/best" plan of action is in the suggested next steps for you.
Danielle recommends the following next steps:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters
Devote an entire summer to studying for the MCAT and consider paying for a prep course if you can afford it.
My son used MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2019-2020: Online + Book + 3 Practice Tests (Kaplan Test Prep) Kaplan Test Prep
Kaplan Test Prep
Sold by: Amazon.com Services, Inc
It was about $140 and he achieved his goal score.