You’ve decided to take the plunge and take the MCAT! After years of studying the basic sciences, you’re ready to chart your course. This post will discuss some tips and tricks on how to create an MCAT study plan.
How to Create an MCAT Study Plan
1. Decide how long you have to study for the MCAT. This will depend on many factors. Is it a week? Is it two months? When do you want to apply to medical school? Have you finished all the basic science courses? Have you already picked a test date that works best for your schedule? You might need more or less time, depending on what a diagnostic might suggest.
2. Work backwards from your test date. Once you’ve picked a date, start to schedule backwards. The days, weeks, month leading up to the exam should be where you devote the most time. This will be the stretch run for you. Once you’ve determined this, you can work backward to the present. I generally favor an approach where you start with less and gradually ramp up your studying. Different people will have different preferences.
3. Budget enough time. The MCAT is no joke and will require you to schedule enough time. Consider this when picking your test date and also other life considerations and requirements that might be going on during your MCAT study time.
4. Focus on your weaknesses. It feels great to get all the right answers, but your MCAT studying time is really the time to improve your weakness. As unpleasant as it might be, budget MORE time into the areas where you are weakest. It will be better to make mistakes and learn during your studying than on the actual exam.
5. Start now. Even if you are a freshman in college and plan on taking the MCAT two or three years from now, you can still do things to help prepare NOW. In the second point about working backwards from your test date, it says to go back to the present. Start getting familiar with the MCAT topics and focusing on those in your classes. Make 10 or even one flashcard a day to help you prepare down the road. Any little bit you can do today will help.