MCAT Preparation: MCAT Prep Guide
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How Should I Prepare for the MCAT?
WITH CARE! We strongly encourage
students to review thoroughly for the exam. The MCAT is a six-hour test
covering the basic concepts of biology, chemistry and physics. The MCAT
measures content, problem solving skills, and ability to interpret data.
Since this is a timed test, it also tests one's ability to read quickly
and comprehend rather complicated passages. Excellent writing skills are
also required for the Writing Sample. We encourage applicants to
continue to develop reading and writing skills. Several study guides are
available. We suggest previewing sample test materials from several
sources. The Premedical Club offers a MOCK MCAT each semester. We
strongly recommend taking several practice tests given under test
conditions before taking the "real thing" in April. Students have told
us that preparation for the MCAT is equivalent to a 5-6 credit hour
course. Most of all, DO NOT take the MCAT until you have taken the
prerequisite courses. Give yourself every chance to be successful.
The Biological and Physical
Sciences sections of the MCAT are knowledge-based, not aptitude or
- In order to do well on
these sections of the exam, it is necessary to increase and
consolidate your knowledge of the material.
- You must complete all of
the courses, General Biology 1,2, Physics 1,2, Chemistry 1,2,
and Organic Chemistry 1,2, before you will be able to prepare
properly for the MCAT.
- Start preparing six months
before the test date.
- Set aside two or three
hours, six days a week, for your preparations.
- Do not start earlier than
six months, to avoid burnout. Do not start later than six
months, since you want to master a large body of material.
- Take one practice MCAT to
determine what your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Rank the three areas
(Chemistry, Biological, Physics) from your weakest to your
- Start with your weakest
area. As the MCAT draws nearer, you will need less time to study
your stronger areas.
- Spend fifteen minutes of
each study session getting an overview of the material you will
- Spend one or two hours
studying by whatever method works best for you.
- If you usually use
flash cards to study for courses, then use flash cards to
prepare for the MCAT.
- If you normally outline
sections/chapters for your courses, then do outlines to
study for the MCAT.
- Spend five minutes at the
end of the session reviewing what you have learned.
- Test yourself on the
material three days after you've studied it, and again seven
days after that (you want long-term retention).
- You should aim at getting a
70% or better score on each section. This, when averaged over
all of the sections, should translate to a score of 10 on the
MCAT for Biological Sciences and for the Physical Sciences.
The verbal section is similar
to verbal sections on SAT, LSAT, GRE, etc. You study for it
- Get lots of sample tests,
and do sample tests, do sample tests, do sample tests.