In an ideal world, everyone could devote 20 hours per week to studying for the MCAT. 20 hours over a period of 15 weeks or more will achieve 300 hours of study time—a target time highly recommended by experts!
However, the majority of medical school applicants are juggling classes, work, families, or some combination thereof. Luckily, strategy and consistency are at least as important as the total number of hours studied. By following this 2-month MCAT study schedule, you will review every major area of the MCAT in only 8 weeks at a rate of 25-30 hours per week.
Table of Contents
How to Follow This MCAT Study Schedule
- Set Yourself Up for Success
Before moving forward with this MCAT study plan, make sure you have the essential materials listed under the section MCAT Essential Materials. You can also review our tips on how to study for the MCAT.
- Use the Videos Wisely
Each week, you will see a list of Magoosh videos to watch. There is time set aside each day for watching them, and the rest of the day you will be reviewing subject areas. For instance, on Week 1, Day 2, you will study biology, psychology, and practice “Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills” passages. There is also time at the end of most days to answer sample questions and/or quiz yourself with flashcards.
- Get the Resources You’ll Need
To study concepts in more detail, you will probably want to consult scientific textbooks or online sources. Suggestions are listed under the section MCAT Highly Recommended Materials.
- Plan Out Your Schedule
The schedule is designed to be followed at a rate of five hours per day, six days per week, but you can stretch it out or condense it to fit your needs.
2 Month MCAT Study Schedule Materials
We’ve divided our recommended MCAT study materials into the following categories: essential (materials you simply can’t go without) and highly recommended (materials that would be highly beneficial to your practice or good to check out if you exhaust your essential materials).
Click to view the essential MCAT study materials
Essential Study Materials
- The Magoosh Premium MCAT Test Prep curriculum includes over 300 video lessons, 740 questions that can be taken as three tests, and unlimited email assistance from MCAT tutors. The lessons are taught by a diverse team of experts, including two physicians, a medical sociology professor, a higher education physics teacher, a current medical student, and a CARS expert.
- 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 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. (FREE)
- The AAMC practice test. The practice test is a crucial tool, and our study plan suggests you take it within the first week. Not only will it give you with a scaled score, it also provides an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of content and question type.
- Bookmark at least five 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 and Foreign Affairs.
- 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.
Click to view highly recommended MCAT study materials
Highly Recommended Study Materials
- AAMC second practice test. Since there are only two practice tests written by the creators of the MCAT, I recommend purchasing this in addition to the practice test listed in the Essential Materials section. Just like the first practice test, you can take this five times to make sure you are able to correct mistakes from earlier run-throughs.
- Barron’s MCAT Flash Cards. Make sure to order versions dated 2015 or later. This is a great MCAT study schedule resource for more in-depth explanations of major concepts. It is one of the few sources that lists and describes each of the major and minor topics on the AAMC’s need-to-know list. The cards provide detailed descriptions of concepts along with formulas and diagrams, but if you come across concepts you haven’t encountered in the past, you will also want to supplement your review with outside studying.
- AAMC Online practice questions for biology, chemistry, and physics. These are reasonably priced and written by the test makers. If you already have books or online programs with sample MCAT questions, you can certainly use those instead.
- AAMC MCAT section bank for biochemistry, psychology, and sociology. 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 for these three subjects, which are underrepresented in the universe of MCAT test prep materials. If you already have books or online programs with sample MCAT questions, you can certainly use those instead.
- The AAMC online CARS practice passages. You will need at least 50 practice passages, and this online bundle is reasonably priced and contains 120 passages. Make sure to read the social science and humanities passages and ignore the natural science passages, because they no longer appear on the actual exam. If you already have books or online programs with sample MCAT questions, you can certainly use those instead.
- Browse the Magoosh MCAT blog for tips and resources on MCAT Biology & Biochem, MCAT CARS, MCAT Chemistry, and MCAT Psych & Sociology.
- If you haven’t already visited The Student Doctor Network, it’s definitely a site to bookmark. This nonprofit organization started in the mid-1990s, and their forum has threads written by pre-health students, medical students, physicians, osteopaths, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. There are thousands of threads on the MCAT. (FREE)
- Supplementary texts: The site OpenStax has free online textbooks and resources for college and AP courses. One of the great things about this website is that content is peer-reviewed by educators and continuously updated, so information tends to be up to date. The following online textbooks are useful for MCAT studying: Biology 2e, Chemistry: Atoms First, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Psychology, Sociology, and Introductory Statistics. For instance, you might want to read more about the Bohr’s Model or the Periodic Table.
- Magoosh’s free Study Timer app for iPhone/iPad for timing yourself on exam sections and keeping yourself on pace. Currently only available in iTunes.
2-Month MCAT Study Schedule
This schedule is set up on a Sunday to Friday schedule, with Saturdays off. Some people prefer to take Fridays or Sundays off, so adjust it to suit your needs and preferences. If you’re ready to start crafting your MCAT study plan, don’t allow the time constraints to get the best of you. Focus on developing a sustainable rhythm and overcoming the temptations to procrastinate or cram. Best of luck to you!
Sample MCAT Study Plan
Wondering what all this looks like? Take a glance at the example of the 2 month MCAT study schedule you’ll find in the PDF!
|WEEK 1||GATHER MATERIALS AND EASE IN|
|1||Gather materials, start your notebook, watch Intro videos||Take AAMC Sample Diagnostic Test||Review answers, create flashcards, read AAMC book, do Cars of the Day||Watch General Chemistry videos, read magazine articles, do Cars of the Day||Watch Biology videos,|
read blog posts on Amino Acids, create flashcards, do Cars of the Day
|Watch videos, review flashcards, register for the exam, do Cars of the Day|
Now you’re ready to get started! Download our free 2 month MCAT study schedule, then kick off your prep by watching the Intro to MCAT lesson below!