Menu Icon Search
Close Search
Medical, +1 MORE

6 Steps to Create an MCAT Study Plan

Created January 11, 2018 by AAMC Staff

To say you are busy may be an understatement! You’re balancing a full course load, work obligations, extracurricular activities, friends and family—it’s a lot to juggle. It’s no wonder that when it comes time to take the MCAT exam, students want to know what the best way to prepare is.

It won’t be a surprise to hear that preparing for the MCAT exam takes time and dedication. In fact, based on those students who responded to the 2016 MCAT Post-Questionnaire (PMQ), on average, examinees prepared for 20 hours per week for about three months. However, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach to preparing for the exam. What works for you might not work well for someone else.

So where to start? The first step is to create a study plan.

A study plan is a great tool to help you organize, identify areas of focus, and stay on track. To get you started, the AAMC has developed a free guide that gives you the framework to develop your own plan by walking you through six steps, using free and low-cost resources. These steps include:

  1. Find out everything you can about the exam
  2. Figure out where you stand: How much do you know?
  3. Use free and low-cost resources to help you prepare
  4. Create your study plan
  5. Study and practice
  6. Commit to a final rehearsal or practice

Each step includes checklists, suggested resources, and advice to help you craft a plan that will help you succeed on test day. This guide also includes sample worksheets that you can adopt or modify as you develop your own schedule.

As you work through this guide, you might start thinking, “this is a lot of planning!” But just like training for a big game or working on a school project, you rarely dive in head first without any preparation. Similarly, a solid study plan requires some work up front. Taking the time will give you a clear roadmap that will help you discover strengths, weaknesses, concerns, as well as identify strategies and resources to use at every stage of your preparation.

There is no doubt that at some point you’ll feel anxious or overwhelmed as you are preparing for the exam. So, remember, the MCAT exam is just one milestone on your path to medical school and one piece of information that admissions officers use to evaluate you and your application.

To begin putting your study plan together, download How to Create a Study Plan for the MCAT Exam.

// Share //

// Recent Articles //

  • Another Student Fights Mental Illness Stigma

  • Posted March 3, 2018 by The Short Coat Podcast
  • More and more students are speaking up about their mental illness struggles One of the things we Short Coats agree on is that the stigma medical students and physicians face when dealing with mental illness must end. We are people, too, and thus are subject to the full range of human maladies. So when listener...VIEW >
  • Quiz: How would you treat this tumor?

  • Posted March 3, 2018 by Figure 1
  • A 21-year-old female presents with a six-month history of irregular menses, decreased libido, impaired vision, and galactorrhea. An MRI is completed.Based on this imaging and the patient’s clinical findings, which of the following should be recommended as a first-line treatment? Related...VIEW >
James doty
  • Medical, +1 MORE
  • Q&A with Dr. James Doty, Neurosurgeon, CCARE Director

  • Posted March 2, 2018 by Gloria Onwuneme
  • James R. Doty M.D., is a Professor of Neurosurgery and the founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University. He is also a philanthropist serving on the board of a number of non-profits; an investor and consultant to a number of medical device and biomedical companies;...VIEW >
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Financing Your Medical Education

  • Posted February 27, 2018 by Matt Sutton, SDN Contributing Writer
  • You got into medical school! Now how do you pay for it? You already sold a kidney and your grandma disinherited you after your last arrest. What options are left? In this guide, I’ll provide a rundown of some basic options for funding medical school. This subject is very complex and my guide won’t be...VIEW >
  • Looking at Other Specialties

  • Posted February 26, 2018 by Brent Schnipke, SDN Staff Writer
  • This column has been focused on providing clinical snapshots while exploring the factors that affect specialty choice for medical students. Some of these factors are universal, but so much is largely person-dependent—i.e., whatever is most important to the individual will be what ultimately makes the decision for him or her. Related...VIEW >

// Forums //