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How should I study for the MCAT?

I'm starting college this fall, so I wanted to know a timeline on when/how I should study. college college-bound mcat

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Cameron’s Answer

Hi Krystal! There is no single correct answer for when is best to take the MCAT because it depends on your schedule and when you want to attend medical school.

For those who want to go to medical school directly after undergrad, they usually take the MCAT in the spring of their junior year. This allows them to apply to medical school the summer after junior year and matriculate the fall after graduation.

For those who want to take gap years after undergrad before going to medical school, they will take the MCAT either after graduation or even later than that. Personally, I am taking 2 gap years before going to medical school. So I took my MCAT the fall after I graduated and began applying one year after graduating.

Once you have decided when to take the exam, I would recommend studying for 3-6 months. I personally studied for the exam over the summer for about 4 months, and I loved the Kaplan MCAT prep books. They were extremely well written and detailed, and they include practice questions and full length exams.
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Suzanne’s Answer

Krystal, you are wise to be thinking ahead. Good for you! Right now as an incoming freshman the best way to prepare for the MCAT is to focus on your courses and really learning the material.

Here is a link which talks about how to best prepare for the MCAT prepared by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).
aamc.org/students/applying/mcat
It has a section on how to create a study plan for the MCAT.

Be sure to also connect with the pre-med advisor at your college and see if there is a pre-med club so that you can team up with others with similar goals.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Krystal! Great question! So you should be enrolled in premed classes like chemistry, biology, physics, etc. These classes will provide the foundation and knowledge for medical school and the MCAT! Many students take the MCAT their junior year usually in the spring time. It is advisable to have a strong background in your classes for the MCAT as this will help you feel stronger for the exam. The time to study for the MCAT can change as well when to take it. Many students can take a gap year after college or study their summer before senior year or during their junior year and take it in the spring. I would recommend to take your prerequisites especially organic chemistry and biochemistry to ensure a strong outcome. You can begin to study for the CARS section during the summer before junior year.

For studying for the MCAT, I would recommend to obtain prep books -Kaplan is very helpful and Khan academy is teamed up with AAMC on mcat related videos. I would also recommend to check out MCATselfprep.com. It is a free website that allows you to track your progress and has helpful advice. Notecards, passages and practice exams are very helpful for many students. You want to constantly keep learning and refreshing the information and make sure you read the passages and answer the questions efficiently. To do this you want to take practice exams and complete passages to get an actual understanding of what the exam will be like.

As extra advice:
Since you are just entering college Krystal, I would recommend to get involved (of course first being safe with COVID) with extracurriculars, shadowing, and keep up a strong GPA as well. Definitely see a premed adviser and get to know them as well. Always reach back out to career village though because there are many individuals (like myself) who have gone through the premed process and have insight we can offer!

As a side note since you are beginning the process please check out medical school headquarters and Dr.Gray on YouTube. He has a lot of helpful videos that I personally wish I discovered earlier. I think this can help in clarifying more topics, because it's important to receive advice but important to receive the right advice from individuals who know this process well.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have more questions!
Best of luck!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

keep up a strong GPA
check out Dr.Gray
take premed classes and do well
get involved with community service/shadowing
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