MCAT Preparation

Get ready for the big day

Knowing how important your MCAT scores are for your future career path can make taking the test a stressful event! However, if you take the time to prepare fully, you'll be able to reduce your anxiety and perform better. Try out our tips for keeping your fears in check:

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Tips and Secrets

  • Plan ahead! You'll need to register for the test at least a month in advance.
  • You don't need to know and understand upper level sciences to do well on the MCAT. Some questions do deal with issues related to upper level knowledge, but they're not necessarily written at this level of difficulty.
  • You should spend at least 200 hours preparing for your MCAT.
  • You need to prepare for the MCAT no matter how well you are doing in pre-med and upper level courses. Nearly 50 percent of all MCAT test takers have to retake the test because, even if they were sure they'd ace it, they performed poorly. It's expensive and time consuming to have to re-write, so try not to make any assumptions.
  • You need to study just as much for the verbal skills section as you do for any of the other sections. This portion of the test is consistently underestimated by those who write it, as they believe the science portions to be more relevant. However, the verbal skills section is seen as an important test of your ability to communicate and learn, which are beneficial in any career path.
  • You should spend far more time understanding formulas and the periodic table than memorizing them. After all, on the test you will need to know how to use them.
  • A good score on your MCAT isn't the only factor medical schools will consider when evaluating your application. You need a balance of worthwhile credentials, including personal recommendations and a good interview.
  • Even if you get a good mark, consider re-taking the test. Your mark could go up, and if nothing else you'll demonstrate that you have a strong drive for self-improvement.

Preparation Programs

Studies show that on average, students who enroll in MCAT preparation programs do achieve slightly higher scores. While the Association of American Medical Colleges downplays the value of these programs, saying they may lull students into a false sense of preparedness, they do make practice tests available for purchase on its own website.

These practice programs are not necessarily a shortcut to success, but you may find that enrolling in one can provide you with the discipline to thoroughly prepare for your test. It may also provide you with the confidence to know you can succeed on the real test MCAT.

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