The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is no joke. Completion of the standardized test is a necessity for anyone looking to enter medical school, and there are limitations on how many times you can take the test. That means that making sure you have the preparation you need before you ever step into the testing room is of critical importance. Almost half of students who sit for the MCAT have to return to take the test again. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to aspiring medical school students. Here are three of the best.
Online Prep Courses
While disciplined self-learning from traditional books is a practical necessity when preparing for the MCAT, the structure offered by MCAT prep courses can be a huge boon for aspiring med students. The advantage of online prep courses is that they’re overseen by experts who understand the exams inside and out, and they can provide you with the guidance and insight you need to ace the test. Many students come to the test without much of an understanding of what to expect, and that means that they may cast their nets wide in terms of study materials. Online prep courses can provide a more focused and curated curriculum that can result in efficient studying patterns and serve as a guiding light for students even as they pursue their self-guided learning programs. But that doesn’t mean you need to jump right in to an online prep course. Students can also find free practice tests that can help them put their studies in perspective.
The aforementioned practice prep test offered by AAMC is free for everyone, but it’s just a sample of what students can expect when they enter the testing room. Moreover, it’s not scored, so students only receive an unscaled percentage of their results. But the AAMC also offers two study tests that can be purchased directly through their site. That said, these are paid tests, so students should consider waiting until they’re well into their studies before springing for them. That doesn’t mean that you have to go without guidance until you make the plunge into the practice tests. The AAMC also offers 300 practice questions that students can use to cut their teeth. They use real questions from older versions of the MCAT and cover Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning.
Studying for the MCAT can be a long and rigorous process. It’s recommended that students spend about three months studying for the exam, and it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees. That’s why it’s important to space out learning to make sure that you’re covering the whole curriculum and revisit subjects regularly over the course of your extended studies. An online calendar allows you to chart the course of your studies ahead of time and prepare for the well-rounded range of subjects covered within the test. The advantage of using an online calendar over a traditional one is that you can connect to it via any device with internet access.
Studying for the MCAT can sometimes feel like running a marathon, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t light at the end of the tunnel. Students employ different methods for learning new materials, but there’s a wealth of resources available to suit anyone’s style.