Pre-medical students are often told that the key to succeeding on the MCAT is studying hard. It’s good advice. To do well on the MCAT, you do need to put in considerable effort in doing content review and practice questions. To do this effectively, you want the best MCAT resources. There are no better study materials than those from the creators of the exam, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The questions they release are from previous MCAT exams and will be more similar to your actual exam than any other questions. Previously, we’ve written several posts on how to study for the MCAT, including Top Tips for MCAT Studying, Top Five Strategies for MCAT Success, and the Biggest Study Mistakes on the MCAT. Here, we focus on the materials that you will want to use for your studies, but also remember too that Magoosh offers our own affordable MCAT prep.
Best MCAT Resources: AAMC Practice Tests
Practice tests are the most important MCAT study resource. They can predict how a student will perform on the actual exam and help determine if the student is ready to take the test. The unfortunate news is that the AAMC has only released two full-length practice tests for the new MCAT. Even worse is that only one of the two will give you a scaled score. This means that only one exam will give you a scaled score for each section between 118 and 132; this is the MCAT score that you will use to apply for medical school. The other exam will only tell you the percentage of the questions you got correct. The strategy then is to save the exam that provides a scaled score for the end of your studies.
Best MCAT Resources: AAMC Additional Practice Material
On top of the two full-length practice tests, the AAMC has released additional materials. These include:
- Official MCAT Flashcards: This comes with 150 flashcards broken down into six sets of 25 cards (biochemistry, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology). These aren’t your typical flashcards with a term and definition. Instead, they contain a discrete multiple-choice question one side with the solution on the opposite side.
- The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam: This book goes over everything you ever wanted to know about the format of the exam and the tested content. It also includes 120 practice questions with 30 for each of the four sections of the exam.
- Online Practice Questions from The Official Guide: These are the same questions as from the Official Guide except in an online format. By answering the questions online, you can get experience with the online tools available to test takers. These tools include the ability to highlight the text, strike through wrong answer choices, and mark questions for later review.
- Official MCAT Question Packs: These are six packs of 120 questions each for a total of 720 questions. They cover biology, chemistry, physics, and critical analysis and reasoning skills. The majority of these questions are recycled from the old MCAT. As a result, there are not as many questions on the newly introduced topics (biochemistry, psychology, and sociology).
- AAMC MCAT Section Bank: These are three sets of 100 questions for each of the science section of the new exam. These questions are particularly tough compared to the other AAMC materials but are still good to practice.
All of the AAMC materials can be purchased at a discount as an entire package directly from the AAMC. Alternatively, you can purchase the items individually if there are only certain items you need. While these are the best MCAT resources, they won’t be enough.