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Building the Best MCAT Study Schedule

June 6, 2022
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Creating Your MCAT Study ScheduleMCAT Study Schedule Templates (1,2,3,4+ Months)MCAT Study Schedule Examples

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/6/22

Building an MCAT study schedule can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t have much time to prepare. Here we cover how to build the perfect MCAT study schedule, regardless of how many months you have before your test. 

When it comes to studying for the MCAT, it is essential to build a strong study schedule that takes your daily life into account. Whether you’re in school, working full-time, or have extracurriculars to keep up with - it’s crucial to plan your MCAT study schedule at least a month before your test to ensure you find enough time to study. 

In this article, we cover how to plan the best MCAT study schedule for you. We’ve included one, two, three and four plus month timelines, an MCAT study schedule template, and examples of MCAT study schedules. Read on for everything you need to know about building the best MCAT study schedule!

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Creating Your MCAT Study Schedule 

No matter how much time you have to study before the exam, there are several items you will need to fit into your schedule. Here we’ll go over what you need to include in your MCAT study schedule.

Determine Your Timeline

The first step to planning your MCAT study schedule is determining how much time you have to study. Before scheduling your MCAT test date, consider how much time you have to study and how much time you’d have to potentially retake the exam if necessary. 

We recommend giving yourself three months to prepare for the exam, although longer and shorter timelines are possible with a well-crafted schedule. That said, if you are working or studying full time, you should give yourself more time to account for the days you won’t be available and avoid burnout. 

Focus on Test Content First

The most important part of studying for the MCAT is knowing the material. As you may know, the MCAT is divided into four sections:

Each of the four sections requires knowledge in areas you should have already covered in the prerequisite courses you took in preparation for medical school. However, to study for each section properly, you should get well acquainted with the format of the questions. 

Start Practicing

Ideally, you’ll want to begin practicing for the MCAT three months before your test date. Focus your attention on each of the four sections equally, giving yourself a little extra time to hone in on your weaker subjects. You can plan out this time using your MCAT study schedule template. 

We recommend a three-month long MCAT prep schedule to allow yourself enough time to take multiple full-length practice tests. maintaining focus for the full length of the test is said to be one of the hardest challenges. Taking full-length practice tests will allow you to get comfortable with the idea of concentrating for 7.5 hours straight. 

If you have under three months to prepare, or are having trouble keeping track of a study schedule, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced MCAT tutor. MCAT tutors help you develop a plan, learn the material, and provide materials for practicing the test. 

Review

The most important part of MCAT prep is reviewing your answers. On the questions you answered incorrectly, spend time analyzing why your answer was incorrect. In order to learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them, you’ll need to devote solid blocks of time to reviewing concepts you haven’t fully grasped. 

Remember, having an in-depth understanding of the core concepts in each section will be much more useful to you than focusing on the individual questions.

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MCAT Study Schedule Templates (1,2,3,4+ Months)

Before building your schedule, you’ll have to determine your timeline. For the most optimal results, we recommend giving yourself three months to study for the MCAT. 

However, it is possible to achieve your desired MCAT results in less time with hard work, dedication, and a comprehensive schedule. 

Here are our MCAT study schedule timeline recommendations:

1 Month:

One month of study time is not ideal, but is not impossible with a lot of dedication. Here is our MCAT study schedule for a one-month study period. This is the shortest timeline we recommend, and is not ideal for full-time workers or students. 

2 Months:

You can achieve a lot in two months! Here is our MCAT study schedule for a two-month study period. Note that we recommend giving yourself three full months to study leading up to your exam.

3 Months 

Three months is the ideal amount of time to give yourself before taking the exam. Here is our recommended three-month MCAT study schedule.

4+ Months

If you have more than four months to study before your exam, well done for being prepared! However, you should condense the majority of your studying to a three month period to ensure all of the material you’re covering remains fresh in your mind for the test.

An extra month (four) can be ideal for taking full length practice tests and covering all of the material at once after focusing on each section individually. Here is our 4+ month study schedule. 

MCAT Study Schedule Examples

There are several reliable sources that offer examples and templates for creating your MCAT schedule, including the AAMC. Here are their examples of how to schedule your weeks during your prep time for the MCAT.

AAMC Example 1: Study Plan Schedule Week 1


Table that shows a study plan schedule for the MCAT

Examinee Example 2: MCAT Study Plan Schedule 

Table demonstrating a study plan schedule for the MCAT

Examinee Example 3: MCAT Study Plan Schedule 

Table showing a study plan schedule for the MCAT

Final Thoughts

No matter how many months you have to prepare, creating a consistent and comprehensive study schedule is essential to properly preparing for the MCAT. 

If you are struggling to come up with a study schedule, or having trouble maintaining your current schedule; consider enlisting the help of an experienced MCAT tutor. MCAT tutors will help you study for each section, review your materials, adjust your schedule, and provide useful materials to help you get the best MCAT score possible.

Good luck on your test!

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