How Many MCAT Practice Tests Should I Take?

July 28, 2023
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

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

Reviewed: 7/27/23

As you begin your MCAT prep, you may wonder, “how many MCAT practice tests should I take?”, “what’s the minimum?” and “can I take too many practice tests?” Read on to find out!

Ready to dive into your MCAT preparation? One important aspect of getting ready for the exam is taking practice tests. These tests serve as invaluable tools for assessing your knowledge, identifying areas of improvement, and getting familiar with the format and timing of the MCAT.

While there’s no question you should incorporate MCAT practice tests in your studies, you may be asking, “how many MCAT practice exams should I take?” This guide has all your answers!

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How Many Practice Tests Should I Take Before the MCAT?

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Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number for how many MCAT practice tests you should take. The amount of practice tests you take ultimately depends on your timeline, study strategy, and personal preferences. 

With that being said, there are general guidelines you’re encouraged to follow to ensure you complete enough practice tests to become familiar with the MCAT’s content and to begin honing your time management skills. 

The Minimum

Let’s begin with the minimum. Generally speaking, it’s suggested you complete a minimum of three MCAT practice tests. By taking three tests, you’ll encounter a decent variety of MCAT questions to begin identifying patterns and developing efficient test-taking strategies. 

A Good Number

Three may be the minimum, but it’s certainly not the ideal amount of MCAT practice tests to take to prepare for this extensive exam. Since practice makes perfect, you’ll want to take several more tests to give yourself the best chance of meeting your target score.

The sweet spot tends to be six to ten tests. Remember, these tests will take the full day to complete, so it’s advised you only complete one or two a week to prevent burnout. For students studying for two to three months, taking one full-length test a week will allow them to meet this target.

How Many Practice Tests Is Too Many?

Student fatigues and sleeping at their desk

Every prep book, course, and tutor will drill the importance of practice in your MCAT preparation. However, students mistakenly believe this means they should pack their schedules with practice tests and get in as many as they can. 

Not only is this more likely to lead to burnout, but it can actually hinder your progress because you’ll likely skip out on reviewing your tests, which is arguably the most important part of taking them!

It is essential to conduct a comprehensive review of each practice test you complete. Instead of merely checking your answers for a score, take the time to analyze the questions you answered incorrectly. By identifying your mistakes, you can understand where you went wrong and learn from them to avoid making similar errors in the future.

Students that attempt to complete more than 10 tests are often the most at risk for compromising this valuable review time!

How to Know If You Are Ready for the MCAT

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Now that we’ve provided you with an answer to the question, “how many MCAT practice tests should I take?” let’s discuss how you’ll know you’re ready to finally write the MCAT. Here are some factors to consider: 

  • Content mastery: Evaluate your understanding of the core concepts and content areas covered in the MCAT. Can you explain and apply these concepts confidently? Do you feel confident you’ve mastered every section of the MCAT to the best of your ability? 
  • Practice test performance: After you’ve taken several full-length practice tests under timed conditions, analyze your performance. Are you consistently scoring in your target range or close to your goal score? Your performance on practice exams is a strong indicator of how well you may fare on the actual MCAT!
  • Your timing: Are you still racing against the clock to finish each section? Are you guessing on multiple questions? Can you prioritize questions and avoid getting stuck on difficult ones? Ensure your time management skills are on point to complete as many questions as possible on test day.
  • Your techniques: Do you have good, reliable techniques up your sleeve to help you when you’re stuck? Do you know what to do when you freeze up or face a difficult question? You need to know how to overcome these challenges before you write your exam.
  • Your overall confidence: You can’t go into your exam thinking you’ll fail it. You need to feel mentally and emotionally ready to tackle the MCAT, as your psyche and nerves can drastically impact your performance! 

It's important to note that readiness for the MCAT is subjective and can vary from person to person. Trust your judgment, consider your comfort level and performance thus far, and only write your exam when you feel confident enough to!

FAQs: How Many MCAT Practice Exams Should I Take?

For any remaining questions about how many MCAT practice tests you should take, read on!

1. Is Taking Seven MCAT Practice Tests Enough?

Yes, considering the recommended amount of MCAT practice tests to take is six to ten, seven can be enough to prepare you for your test.

2. Is Taking Five Full-Length Practice Tests Enough?

Ideally, you should take at least six MCAT practice tests before your exam. However, if you’re in a time crunch or your target score is not significantly different from your diagnostic, five tests may be enough for you.

3. Are the Practice Tests Harder Than the MCAT?

Your practice tests can seem harder because you’ll be getting used to the content, learning the format, and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses. You will also be completing several throughout your studies, which can be time-consuming and tiring! 

However, you won’t feel the same pressure during your practice tests that you will on test day! With your nerves, fear of failure, and doubt, it’s very likely you will score lower on test day than you did on your practice tests! This is common and should be considered when you set your target score

4. Can Practice Tests Predict My Actual MCAT Score?

Practice tests can provide a rough estimate of your potential MCAT score and should be used to assess your readiness. But, there is no guarantee you will score the same on test day as several factors will impact your performance. 

Most notably, nerves, fatigue, and time pressure can make you perform differently compared to practice tests that you took in the comfort of your own home without any pressure. Additionally, practice tests reflect older exam questions, so you’re likely to see different questions of varying difficulty. 

Ultimately, your actual MCAT score will be determined by a combination of your preparation, test performance, and a bit of luck!

Final Thoughts

Overall, MCAT practice tests are like a secret weapon in your preparation arsenal. They give you a taste of what the exam is really like, help you gauge your readiness, and provide valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses! 

While it’s recommended you complete six to ten practice tests, it’s not about the number of tests you take but the quality of your test review! Ensure you analyze your performance, learn from your mistakes, and make targeted improvements. You’ve got this!

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