Developing a study plan for the MCAT can be almost as intimidating as taking the exam itself. As you prepare, you are likely also juggling coursework, volunteer hours, shadowing, leadership roles, and a plethora or other minutia that are considered unwritten prerequisites for medical school admissions. It can be easy to become entrenched in these other commitments, progressively postponing your MCAT study time. Whether you need MCAT tutoring in Atlanta, MCAT tutoring in Houston, or MCAT tutoring in San Francisco, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.
Creating a study plan requires an intimate knowledge of the exam’s materials and format. Few universities offer assistance in sorting through these details, and finding resources independently can be nerve-wracking. With the 2015 changes to exam content and design, many practice materials have become abruptly outdated and many students have found themselves scrounging for any available knowledge of the updated test. Anxiety about potentially outdated and malinformed study approaches can cause students to even further postpone their study plan.
Despite these reservations, getting an early start on reviewing for the MCAT is a must. The comprehensiveness and breadth of material covered in its four sections is enough to merit months of preparation. Even if you have just completed coursework in one of the key content areas of the exam, mastering the passage-based format of its questions is equally deserving of your study time. Varsity Tutors also offers resources like free MCAT Diagnostic Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an MCAT tutor.
When spelled out, honing your knowledge of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, reading comprehension, psychology, and sociology sounds more like the endeavor of a full undergraduate curriculum than preparation for a single 6-7 hour exam. Naturally, this is in part because the exam is designed to correlate with a pre-medical science curriculum, but the fact remains that the test is essentially condensing years of study into a single day. Cumulative finals in single courses are hard enough; imagine a cumulative exam for your entire science education—with a smattering of social science and English language for good measure—and you’ve just described the MCAT.
Preparation for the exam requires that you take the time to review your fundamental knowledge in detail. Keep in mind that highly specific diseases and mechanisms are not considered part of your core knowledge; time is better spent focusing on a wide array of basic concepts than a select few complex ones. Passages frequently present a complex scenario, requiring you to apply the fundamental principles you’ve learned to a more abstract or complicated topic. This testing approach and format is relatively unused in the college classroom, making practice tests and exposure to the MCAT’s design essential for students. Computer-based practice can also be beneficial in helping to mimic the exam environment. In addition to the MCAT flashcards and MCAT tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our free MCAT Practice Tests.
To help you target your review and build the immense academic repertoire required on the MCAT exam, Varsity Tutors has compiled a database of practice tests and questions. Our system allows you to take full diagnostic exams to establish your strongest and weakest areas before transitioning to custom, targeted practice tests for specific topics. Our flashcards can then allow you to breeze through a series of questions to test your core knowledge. Pick from any in a comprehensive list of topics and categories to study just those subjects that give you the most trouble. After answering each question, you will have the option to view a thorough explanation of the tested material, assisting you toward better understanding of any concepts presented in the problem. Though the MCAT can be a daunting experience, proper preparation can boost your confidence on exam day and help you achieve your best score.