Kat Thomson

A Real Student’s Shortened MCAT Experience Video

Red stethoscope on top of black keyboard representing shortened MCAT experience - Image by magoosh

October 7, 2020 Update: AAMC announced that 2021 MCAT administrations will be full-length MCAT exams, and that they do not plan on giving any more shortened MCAT exams due to COVID-19.

It’s one thing to read about the shortened MCAT, but no matter how much you prepare, taking the test is another thing entirely. That’s why I interviewed two Magoosh students who took the shortened MCAT in order to help shed some light on these real students’ shortened MCAT experience.

Keep reading to learn Hannah’s story, and her top tips for taking the shortened MCAT.

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Preparing for the Shortened MCAT Experience

Hannah’s preparation for the MCAT started last September. However, her plans were thrown off when her April, then May test dates were all canceled. With a gap between the end of her prep schedule and her new June test date, Hannah decided to strengthen her prep with the Magoosh MCAT program.

If your MCAT plans have been disrupted by COVID-19, check out our last post to learn what you can do about it.

Hannah’s Study Tips

  • Take breaks to reset and relax, even if it’s just a day off.
  • Take practice tests with the mask and gloves if you’re not used to wearing them.
  • Use flashcards for the areas you struggle with.
  • If you can: study for about 6 hours a day. (This is a tip from Kat, our MCAT expert!)


Test Day

When it comes to the shortened MCAT experience on test day, you can expect socially distanced waiting and testing areas, along with only three ten-minute breaks. The check-in process is not much different from the regular MCAT, although Hannah did have trouble using the palm scanner to go in and out of the test room, which took away from her break time.

Click here for Magoosh's free high-yield MCAT videos

Hannah’s Test Day Tips

  • Bring nutritious snacks. (Hannah chose high-protein snacks.)
  • Use the breaks to walk around or use the restroom—anything to get you up and moving.
  • Keep an eye on the clock and know how long you should be spending on each section.
  • Try to stay relaxed. “A lot of times if you don’t know the right answer, if you’re calm, you can reason your way through it,” saya Hannah.

We hope that learning about a real student’s shortened MCAT experience helps guide your preparation for the shortened MCAT. Stay tuned for part 2: Shortened MCAT vs. Full-Length MCAT Experience.


  • Kat Thomson

    Kat is the Senior Curriculum Manager at Magoosh with a specialty in the MCAT. She has a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. in medical sociology from the University of California, San Francisco, where she earned the Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Kat has been teaching premed and nursing students since 2005 as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco, Bowdoin, and the University of California, Berkeley, while collaborating on multiple research projects and publications. In addition to the MCAT, Kat has taught courses in Research Methods, Gender, Global and Environmental Health, and others. She is passionate about increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine and helping students get into the medical schools of their dreams. You can join Kat on Instagram and YouTube.

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