The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is an exam that all pre-medical students will have to take in order to attend medical school. In a previous post, we discussed the importance of full-length MCAT practice tests in the top five strategies for MCAT success. Here, we describe in more detail to how to best utilize this study resource.
Why Take Practice Tests?
The MCAT covers a wide variety of science concepts, including biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. When you study for this exam, you will certainly spend some time reviewing all of these subjects. How do you know if you have reviewed the material enough? You take practice tests! From reviewing the questions you answer incorrectly on the practice test, you are able to identify your weaknesses, which will allow you to better prioritize your studying time. Another reason to take practice tests it to build up your endurance. You will want to be able to maintain your focus during the entire 7.5 hour exam in order to answer questions as accurately as possible. As most pre-medical students are not used to taking such long tests, you will need to take many practice tests in order to get used to the length of the MCAT.
When to Take Practice Tests?
There are multiple points in your MCAT studies that you can take a practice test. You can take one at the beginning of your studies to get a feel of the exam and identify any obvious weaknesses. You can also take one anywhere in the middle of your studies to determine how much progress you have made, particularly in the subjects you have been focusing on. The most important time to take practice tests though is near the end of your studies. As your test date approaches, you will need to determine whether or not you are ready and your practice tests scores provide the perfect measure for this.
Where to Obtain Practice Tests?
The creator of the MCAT, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), has released two practice tests that students may purchase. Numerous test preparation companies have also produced full-length MCAT practice tests for sale. These companies have released numerous tests but the AAMC tests will be the most similar to your actual MCAT. However, as the AAMC has only released two exams, you will definitely need to supplement with tests from other sources. If you’re currently looking for practice tests, you should check out our post about where to find free MCAT tests!