The Best MCAT Study Schedule [1 Month, 2 Months, 3 Months, 4 Months, 6 Months]

June 20, 2024
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 6/19/24

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

When studying for the MCAT, it’s essential to build a strong study schedule that works around your daily life. 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. 

We’ll cover how to plan the best MCAT study schedule for you. We’ve included timelines, MCAT study schedule templates, and examples of study schedules. Read on for everything you need to know about building the best MCAT study schedule!

image of dots background

Comprehensive MCAT Study Schedule Templates

Before building your schedule, you’ll have to determine your timeline. We recommend giving yourself three months to study for the MCAT for the most optimal results. However, achieving your desired MCAT results in less time with hard work, dedication, and a comprehensive schedule is possible. 

Here are our MCAT study schedule recommendations:

MCAT 1-Month Study Schedule

One month of study time isn’t ideal, but it’s not impossible with a lot of dedication. This is the shortest timeline we recommend and is not ideal for full-time workers or students. This schedule requires reviewing everything in the first week, and using the remaining three weeks to practice test and review missed questions. 

If you’re on a time crunch, you can follow this example of a 1-month study schedule! 

MCAT 2-Month Study Schedule

Studying for two months is ideal because you’ll have more time to absorb the content and practice applying it! This type of schedule is best for summer when you have few other commitments and can focus on your studies! 

In a two-month study schedule, you use the first month to study and then the remaining month to practice and review missed questions. An example of how you can space out your subjects includes: 
Week 1

Biology: Reproduction, Cell Biology, Embryogenesis and Development

Biochemistry: Protein Structure, Amino Acids, Peptides, Proteins, Biological Membranes

General Chemistry: Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table, Compounds and Stoichiometry, Bonding and Chemical Interactions

Organic Chemistry: Nomenclature, Isomers, Bonding

Physics: Dimensional Analysis, Basic Math and Statistics, Work and Energy, Kinematics and Translational Motion

Psychology and Sociology: Biological Basis of Behavior, Learning and Memory, Sensation and Perception, Social Structure and Demographics, Social Stratification

CARS: Reading to Find the Most Important Information

Week 2 

Biology: The Immune System, The Endocrine System, Homeostasis and the Excretory System

Biochemistry: RNA Transcription and Translation, Lipid and Amino Acid Metabolism

General Chemistry: The Gas Phase, Acids and Bases, Electrochemistry

Organic Chemistry: Carboxylic Acids, Carboxylic Acid Derivatives, Spectroscopy

Physics: Magnetism, Circuits, Waves and Sound

Psychology and Sociology: Psychological Disorders, Social Thought Processes

CARS: Reasoning Beyond the Text Questions

Week 3 

Biology: The Respiratory System, The Cardiovascular System, The Musculoskeletal System, Genetics and Evolution

Biochemistry: Lipid Structure and Function, DNA and Replication

General Chemistry: Equilibrium, Thermochemistry, Oxidation and Reduction

Organic Chemistry: Aldehydes and Ketones, Nitrogen and Phosphorus-Containing Compounds, Separation and Purification

Physics: Electrostatics, Light and Optics, Atomic and Nuclear Phenomena

Psychology and Sociology: Identity and Personality, Social Processes and Behavior

CARS: Reasoning Within the Text Questions

Week 4 

Biology: The Nervous System, The Digestive System, 

Biochemistry: Carbohydrate Structure and Function, Enzymes, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Bioenergetics and Regulation of Metabolism

General Chemistry: Chemical Kinetics, Solutions

Organic Chemistry: Alcohols and Ethers, Organic Oxidation and Reduction

Physics: Thermodynamics, Fluids

Psychology and Sociology: Cognition and Language, Emotion and Stress

CARS: Reading and Answering Within the Time Allowed

MCAT 3-Month Study Schedule

Three months is the ideal amount of time to give yourself before taking the exam. You will feel less rushed, can spread your studies over a longer period of time, and spend more time working on your weaknesses.

As you begin to stretch out your study time, you can spread your study topics out over further weeks. For example, a Week 1 study schedule for a three-month schedule may look like this:

Biology: Reproduction, Embryogenesis and Development

Biochemistry: Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins

General Chemistry: Compounds and Stoichiometry

Organic Chemistry: Isomers

Physics: Thermodynamics

Psychology and Sociology: Identity and Personality

CARS: Reading to Find the Most Important Information

MCAT 4-Month Study Schedule

Some students take longer to study for the MCAT due to other demanding commitments, such as extracurriculars, work, or research. Students who require four months to study can dedicate fewer hours to their studies per day or week.

MCAT 5-Month Study Schedule

While summer is the ideal time to study for the MCAT, some students study into the school year because of their limited availability. In this case, it’s essential you consider the demands of your class in your schedule. Since you’ll likely only be studying 3-4 hours a day, only include obligations that cut into this time into your study schedule!

Ensure you tailor this schedule to fit your lifestyle. Don’t overcrowd days when you have several classes, and remain realistic to avoid burnout! 

MCAT 6-Month Study Schedule

If you require six months to study for the MCAT, it’s likely because you have to juggle several responsibilities at once. While adding MCAT prep on top of your already packed schedule may seem daunting, giving yourself six months allows you to study only a few hours a day to meet your target score!

If you are having trouble keeping track of a study schedule or creating one, you may benefit from some comprehensive MCAT test prep tutoring. MCAT tutors help you develop a plan, and learn the material using the best prep tips. Here at Inspira Advantage, we provide a great tutoring program for the MCAT—here’s what one of our students had to say:

“Inspira supported my MCAT preparations with two tutors, one for the sciences and analytical section and another one for the behavior foundations. They both were experts in their domains and helped improve my score. I was able to score 13 points higher than my diagnostic exams." Eric, accepted at Harvard Medical School

How to Build a Great MCAT Study Plan

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.

Step 1: Determine Your Timeline

The first step to planning your schedule is determining how much time you have to study. Before scheduling your MCAT test date, consider how much time you have to learn concepts and how much time you’d have to potentially retake the exam. Decide how many hours you can dedicate to your studies each week. 

We recommend following a three-month MCAT study plan to adequately 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 avoid burnout. 

Regardless of how long you plan on studying, we recommend you plug in any outside commitments that will cut into your daily study time straight into your MCAT schedule. This way, you’re aware of your availability each week and can make up for lost hours on your rest days! 

Step 2: Begin With Test Content 

The most important part of studying for the MCAT is knowing the material. The MCAT is divided into four sections:

Each section requires knowledge in areas you should’ve covered in the prerequisite courses you took for medical school, such as biology, biochemistry, and physics. However, to study for each section properly, you should get well acquainted with the format of the questions. 

Step 3: Consider Your Learning Style

When preparing for the MCAT, it is essential to recognize and accommodate your learning style to optimize your study time. Here are a few examples: 

  • Visual Learners: Utilize diagrams, charts, and graphs to visualize complex concepts. Convert textual information into colorful mind maps or flowcharts. Utilize flashcards with images or diagrams to reinforce learning.
  • Auditory Learners: Record lectures or key points and listen to them repeatedly. Engage in group discussions or study sessions where you can verbalize concepts and quiz each other.
  • Kinesthetic Learners: Incorporate hands-on activities into your study routine. Conduct experiments, if applicable, to understand scientific principles. Utilize interactive study materials like online simulations or virtual labs. Take regular breaks to move around and engage in physical activities to maintain focus.
  • Reading/Writing Learners: Create detailed outlines or summaries of key concepts and topics. Rewrite notes or concepts in your own words to reinforce understanding. Engage in extensive reading of textbooks, articles, and study guides. Utilize mnemonic devices or acronyms to aid memorization.
  • Multimodal Learners: Combine various study techniques to cater to different learning preferences. For example, watch educational videos to grasp visual concepts, discuss concepts with peers to reinforce auditory learning, and write summaries to solidify understanding through reading/writing.

Step 4: Gather Resources

There are plenty of additional resources that you can use to help aid your MCAT study time. They include things like MCAT practice questions, online courses, videos, and textbooks. Flashcards are also a resource to help you review key concepts quickly; you can either make your own or even try our Free MCAT Flashcards!

{{include tool here}}

Step 5: Start Practicing

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

On practice test days, your schedule could look something like this to make the most of your time: 

6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m.: Morning routine (Wake up, breakfast, exercise, etc)

7:00 a.m - 9:00 a.m.: Test prep (Last minute review and practice exercises)

9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.: Full MCAT Practice Exam (time includes breaks)

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Supper/Break

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.: Review your practice test

8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.: Evening routine (relax, hobbies, sleep, etc)

We recommend a three-month-long MCAT prep schedule to allow yourself enough time to take multiple full-length practice tests and targeted practice sections/questions. For a quick idea of what to expect on the exam, you can try out our MCAT Practice Pop Quiz.

Maintaining focus for the full test is said to be challenging for some. Taking full-length practice tests allows you to get comfortable with the idea of concentrating for 7.5 hours straight.

Step 5.5: Consistent Review

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

Remember, having an in-depth understanding of the core concepts in each section is much more helpful than focusing on the individual questions. 

Step 6: Adjust Your Schedule

Your schedule is not set in stone! As you begin your prep, you may find you need more or fewer hours a week. You may also need to change your rest days around! Don’t be afraid to adjust as you go to ensure your schedule is as effective as possible.

Synthia, First Year Psychiatry Resident at KSOM, shares her top three MCAT study tips:

  1. Webinar Link:
"It's important to understand the kind of school you're trying to go to, what good target range is for you."
"Pomodoro is something that a lot of medical students like to use. It breaks up the studying and is very structured."
"Make sure you're incorporating like a healthy diet and like exercise because that will also prevent you from like burning out."

MCAT Study Schedules: FAQs 

Have more questions about the ideal MCAT study timeline? These FAQs can provide more clarity. 

1. How Many Hours a Day Should I Study for the MCAT? 

You should study three to eight hours a day for the MCAT. However, the exact amount of hours per day depends on the length of your study plan and your other commitments. 

2. Is Three Months Enough Time to Study for the MCAT? 

For most MCAT test-takers, three months is enough time to study, although some students may require more time. If you study 20 hours weekly on average, you’ll have completed 240 hours of prep time before you sit for the exam. 

3. Is Six Months Enough Time to Study for the MCAT? 

Six months is often more than enough time to study for the MCAT. A six-month schedule may be best for students who need a better grasp of foundational concepts or those with hectic work/school schedules. 

4. How Long Should You Study Before Taking the MCAT? 

In terms of months, three should be enough time. In terms of hours, anywhere from at least 200-300 is standard. However, every student is different and has unique needs; what works for some may not work for others.

While some may focus on if four or another timeframe is enough to study for the MCAT, your focus should be on scheduling the required hours needed to study.

5. How Many Hours a Week Should You Study for the MCAT?

You should study 15–40 hours a week for the MCAT. The shorter your study schedule, the more hours you’ll need to dedicate to your studies each week. 

Build an Excellent MCAT Schedule, Enjoy Higher Scores

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

If you’re struggling to create a study schedule or having trouble maintaining your current schedule, consider enlisting the help of an experienced MCAT tutor. MCAT tutors 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 with your test!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Schedule A Free Consultation

Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.
Get Free Consultation
image of dots background

You May Also Like