“What is the best way to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®)?”
Your preparation should be unique to you and based on your schedule, knowledge of the content tested, and the concepts you still need to learn. The steps below show you how to get started.
- Learn about the testing policies, registration procedures, and important information about taking the MCAT exam by reading The MCAT Essentials.
- Find out if you are eligible for the Association of American Medical Colleges Fee Assistance Program. The benefits include fee waivers for test preparation products and discounted registration fees.
- Review the What’s on the MCAT Content Outline to learn about the foundational concepts, content categories, skills, and disciplines you are responsible for knowing on the MCAT exam and revisit it frequently during coursework.
- Discuss topics like when to register for the MCAT and how to prepare with a prehealth advisor. Students without access to a prehealth advisor can use the Find-an-Advisor service from National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP).
- Review the MCAT Testing Calendar to select a goal test date.
- Identify free and low-cost resources: MCAT Official Prep practice products, the Khan Academy MCAT Video Collection, flashcards, class notes. Log into the MCAT Official Prep Hub to access your AAMC MCAT Official Prep products and free resources.
- Take an AAMC full-length practice exam to establish your baseline level of knowledge and identify your strengths and weaknesses. The AAMC MCAT Official Prep Sample Test is available for free in the MCAT Official Prep Hub. It offers a detailed breakdown of your correct and incorrect answers in each foundational concept, content category, skill, and discipline. The AAMC MCAT Official Prep Practice Exams also offer scaled scores and percentile ranks.
- Decide if a class or independent study is needed to fill in gaps or enhance knowledge.
Create a Study Plan
- Each of these steps take various amounts of time depending on your baseline assessment. The AAMC developed a six-step guide to help you design a study plan around the time you have available to prepare and assess the topics you need to focus on the most. An online version can be found in the MCAT Official Prep Hub.
Study and Practice
- Consider using a Test-Enhanced Learning Study Cycle (1)
Prepare for Test Day
- Take a full-length practice test under test-day timing conditions. Consider organizing a mock exam by coordinating with your advisor or peers.
- Get familiar with the exam’s functionality such as the highlight, strikethrough, and keyboard shortcuts by using the free full-length Sample Test or Practice with MCAT Exam Features tool in the Free Resources section of the MCAT Official Prep Hub.
- Plan how to comfortably answer questions within time limits.
- Review the Top 10 Tips for MCAT Examinees: Test Day.
- Practice getting to the test center; plan to arrive early.
- Eat well; find time to rest and relax.
(1) Adapted from Swan Sein A., Cuffney F., Clinchot D. "How to help students strategically prepare for the MCAT exam and learn foundational knowledge needed for medical school." Academic Medicine. 2020;95:484.