Undergraduate institution: Xavier University of Louisiana
Major: Chemistry Premed
Exam score: 505
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 128
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 125
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 126
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills: 126
Time spent preparing: Thirteen weeks. I tried to do at least 10 hours a week, but it varied a lot because I was in school. I do research at Xavier too, so I had trouble dividing my time between the MCAT®, research, coursework, and my personal life. If I felt like I had more free time during the week, I would devote more time to preparing for the MCAT.
Overall study approach
I did not take an MCAT prep course; instead, I came up with a self-study schedule. I set time aside in my weekly schedule specifically just for MCAT preparation. I used the AAMC, as well as the free Next Step practice tests. I used the Examkrackers MCAT study package for content review. The first thing I did was take a full-length test to see where I stood. Based on that, I went on to my weakest sections and started content reviews on those. I reviewed as much of the content in the Examkrackers books as I could, and then I would do the section practice test at the end of each book. Next, I took a free practice test from Next Step. And, as the actual test got closer, I stopped reviewing content as much and took the AAMC and did the more. I did a lot of practice questions and that helped me a lot.
Top Tips for Preparation
- Start studying as soon as possible and make a study schedule. I ended up not having enough time to completely review for the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section, and it turns out that I may have missed some details. I thought that this section would be my strongest section because chemistry is my major.
- Take a lot of full-length tests and do practice questions, especially the ones offered by the AAMC. I was surprised at how representative they were.
- When it’s time to take your test, be familiar with where the test will be given and go early. I left an hour early from my house and put the address in my phone. It took me to an address that was on a street with the right name, but the actual address was on the other side of the city. Luckily, I’d left early, so I made it on time.
Trap to Avoid
- Don’t start studying too early, because you won’t remember anything by the time of the test.
What types of exam prep were the most useful?
I took biochemistry before the MCAT, during the spring semester, which was helpful. I also found that the practice questions and practice tests were particularly useful.
Did you encounter any challenges or obstacles, and how did you overcome them?
One of my challenges was managing my time and juggling all my responsibilities. I just learned how to manage my time better by coming up with a weekly schedule. If I knew ahead of time that I had a test for school, I’d study in advance to make time for the MCAT as well.
Would you have done anything differently?
I would have started a month earlier.
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