MCAT Preparation in Only 3 Months: Your Complete Plan

3 Month MCAT Study Schedule - image by Magoosh
Wondering how to conquer MCAT preparation in only 3 months? Ask and you shall receive!

Here at Magoosh, we’ve noticed that 3 months is the median amount of time that students have for MCAT preparation–from the day they sign up with us to their projected exam date. So we’ve put together a three-month MCAT study schedule to guide you, day-by-day, through the thirteen weeks leading up to your MCAT.

The study schedule includes:

  • A daily MCAT preparation plan covering three months of content
  • A list of essential MCAT study materials.
  • Links to free flashcards and videos!

Have longer than three months to prepare? Check out Magoosh’s advice for how to prep for the MCAT in 6 months!

What to Expect from the MCAT Preparation Plan

The schedule outlined in this MCAT preparation plan will guide you through how to study for the MCAT over the course of 13 weeks at a rate of 3-5 hours per day. However, on certain Sundays you’ll be taking practice tests, which will take 7 hours to complete. You should expect to cover biology once or twice a week, and most other topics on a weekly basis.

Each week of the schedule provides you with a daily list of Magoosh videos to watch, readings to do, and practice questions to complete. There are also specific days indicated in the schedule for reviewing your flashcards, but if you choose to flip through them a little each day instead, that’s completely fine too!

If you want to work ahead of the schedule, we recommend focusing on organic chemistry, because it can be slow going and requires a lot of memorization.

Looking for a different MCAT study schedule? Check out Magoosh’s range of MCAT study plans!

MCAT Essential Materials Overview

You can follow this schedule without purchasing materials beyond the Magoosh course and a notebook, but in that scenario you would need to recycle many of the 700+ practice questions and take fewer practice exams…which is definitely a viable option if you’re on a tight budget! However, to follow this schedule precisely, you should plan on investing an additional $150-$250.

Here’s a quick overview, to give you an idea of what materials you’ll need:

Magoosh’s MCAT Product:

Magoosh is our online MCAT prep course that offers:
• 250+ unique lessons on all MCAT subjects
• 700+ practice questions, with video explanations after every question
• Material created by MCAT experts
• 24-hour access to online materials from any internet-connected device
• Email support from experienced MCAT tutors
• Customizable practice sessions
• Full-length timed practice tests
• Personalized statistics based on your performance

Try our free 7-day trial!

Khan Academy:

If you are on a tight budget, make use of Khan Academy for practice questions and advice on how to study for the MCAT.

The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (5th Edition):

The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam, published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, is available in electronic and print formats. It is very important that you purchase the 5th edition, because the MCAT exam was reconstructed in 2015.

Magoosh’s WebApp Flashcards:

Magoosh’s WebApp flashcards are specifically designed for the new MCAT! Our free bundle contains 237 flashcards. This is a great starting place to assess your knowledge and improve your scientific vocabulary. The flashcards can be accessed online and as an app on your iPhone or Android.

AAMC Sample Diagnostic Test:

You will be taking the AAMC sample diagnostic test during the first week of the study schedule. It provides an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of content and question type.

One AAMC Practice Tests:

We recommend buying both tests, but at the very least you should purchase one. The practice test is a crucial tool, and our study plan suggests you take it early on in your studies and again towards the end. It provides a scaled score. If you’re considering purchasing both full-length exams and all the official practice questions, you will save money if you get the entire AAMC bundle.

AAMC MCAT Section Bank for the Physical, Biological, and Social Sciences:

Students who have taken the MCAT since it was revised in 2015 have complained that many of the MCAT practice tests and prep books don’t reflect the increased focus on biochemistry and the social sciences.

The writers of the actual MCAT developed an online bank of 300 practice questions specifically designed for the new MCAT, which are underrepresented in the universe of MCAT test prep materials. If you already have books or an online program with sample MCAT questions, you can certainly use those instead.

AAMC Online CARS Practice Passage Bundles:

You should purchase both AAMC online CARS practice passage bundles (Volume 1 and Volume 2), since you will need at least 50 practice passages, and these online bundles are reasonably priced – they contain 18 passages each.

The Magoosh course contains practice CARS passages, and you will have 5 from the official AAMC book. If you already have books or an online program with sample CARS questions, you can certainly use those instead.

Additional Reading:

Bookmark at least 5 established online newspapers, news magazines, or sources that contain sophisticated coverage on current events. You can also read paper versions to give your eyes a break from looking at a screen.

Recommendations include:
The New Yorker
The Atlantic
The New York Times Magazine
The American Interest
The Toronto Star
Foreign Affairs


To stay organized during your studies, you should be using one or more large notebooks or electronic documents divided by content area (biology, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry, sociology, psychology, and CARS).

You need a consistent place to store notes that allows you to quickly draw diagrams and write equations. Unless you have a computer or tablet with a high-quality stylus, a paper notebook is essential.

Study Log:

You should also have notebook or electronic document or spreadsheet for logging your study hours. You can combine this with the notebook mentioned in #7 or purchase a separate notebook, which I recommend. Keep track of the date, the time of day, the topic or subjects you studied, and the total number of hours you logged that day.

Also, make a note about anything you noticed regarding your productivity on that day. Were you comfortable? How was the lighting? Were you tired or distracted? By tracking the number of hours you study, you will be more motivated to add to the total count. Also, you will be able to quickly assess trends in your studying, such as a reduction in number of hours studied, which will alert you to revamp your program.

…Lots of blank index cards!

And that’s it. 🙂

For a more detailed list of study materials, you should check out the “MCAT Essential Materials” and “MCAT Highly Recommended Materials” subsections in the study schedule.

Time to get started!

Ready to jump in? With close to one hundred days of instruction, this MCAT 3-month study schedule definitely has you covered. If you’re feeling stressed about your upcoming exam, we’re here for you—check out our video on how to manage pre-med anxiety with mindfulness. And don’t forget to leave us your feedback in the comments!

Happy studying! 🙂

Get a free MCAT practice test!


  • Molly Kiefer

    Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

    Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

    Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


2 Responses to MCAT Preparation in Only 3 Months: Your Complete Plan

  1. Carmen Carrillo December 29, 2020 at 10:46 pm #

    Hello I have a question, I was going over the 3-month study plan and notice that in the schedule it said to read Chps from the AAMC books, Do we have to purchase AAMCE books for all subjects. I currently have Princeton and Exam crakers, Also the plan doesn’t specify subjects to read or am I confused about the schedule?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 16, 2021 at 7:09 am #

      Hi Carmen, the study schedule is referring to the Official Guide to the MCAT. This resource is highly recommended, but some students do complete the study schedule without them. I generally recommend that they look up the table of contents (you can do this by previewing the book on a site like Amazon) and then matching the chapter contents to the information in the books you have available. If you use that as well as the tools and information available on the AAMC website, you should cover everything you need to know for the MCAT.

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply