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When is the best time in college to study for the MCAT ?

I am interested in studying medicine. #MCAT

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Shelsa! Great question! So this can definitely vary a bit. The thing is when you apply to medical school you usually have a year in between the time you apply and the time you matriculate. So let's say you are a junior now, and you are applying this summer and you're going to be a senior this upcoming fall. During your senior year, you will be invited for interviews and eventually (and hopefully) you will get an admission offer. That usually occurs your senior year, so when you graduate college, you begin medical school a couple months after. With this in mind many pre-med students take the MCAT their junior year. Usually it is over the summer or during that year say spring time such as April or May, therefore most students spend their time junior year also studying for the MCAT. The best time to study is up to you however because first everyone has different responsibilities, different course load and just different schedules in general. You want to ensure success on the exam, therefore give yourself ample time. Most students finish their junior year in May and then from May to July or August do a strong prep and take the exam, while also either applying simultaneously or waiting until their score and then applying the following year. Most students (like myself) take gap years, while I was working after college, I studied for the MCAT and took the exam. I think if you have much on your plate studying 6-12 months in advance is helpful, if you can really sit down and avoid distractions and have no school/work then about a solid 3-4 months should be okay. Your practice scores will also tell you a little more about how you will do on exam day so be sure to take those to heart!

I would also like to add that the exam is knowledge-based as well in addition to critical thinking, therefore be sure to complete your classes on time. Take your pre-reqs, and make sure you feel confident in them; psychology and sociology may not be too bad to learn on your own especially with Khan academy/Kaplan prep books but other subjects like biochemistry can be a little more challenging and taking one semester (which is also required or recommended by many medical schools if not all) can help in facilitating that portion of the exam.

If you have more questions, especially about your own education path, please feel free to ask! It really is an exam where studying is based on a student's needs and their own lifestyle. As a last note, I would take a practice exam and see where you stand, also it is never early to do CARS passages. They are not science-based and the more you practice the better you get, even if you are early, you can start watching some tutorial on CARS on Khan academy and solving some passages! Sorry, this may seem a bit long but it really is an inclusive answer and not one size fits all!

I hope this helps and I wish you the very best!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much. I will take everything that you have said into consideration. Shelsa
Thank you comment icon You're welcome! Yasemin G.
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Cameron’s Answer

Hi Shelsa! 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.
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