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The MCAT is a gruesome, yet key part of the medical school application process that can either make or break your acceptances. This 7 ½ hour exam consists of 4 parts: Chem/Phys, CARS, Bio/Biochem, and Psych/Soc. It requires not only a significant amount of time and confidence in the material and your ability, but hours on end of planning and practicing. There is no right or wrong way to approach this exam, but every student should curate their personal schedule that works for them. There are a plethora of resources available to choose from and I’m here to help you navigate your way through!


Making a MCAT study plan is one of the most critical parts of the studying process but can often be difficult to just begin. For starters, you want to set aside a couple months to dedicate yourself to studying. Typically, a lot of students will take a whole summer (around 3-4 months) to just study for the exam the entire time. This method is usually the best way as you have no other priorities getting in your way, like classes and extracurricular activities. An effective study plan consists of two parts: Content Review and Practice.

CONtent review

A lot of the exam consists of concepts traditional pre-meds have encountered, but the amount of information can also be a lot. You should take 2 months to review these concepts thoroughly and refresh your memory. The Kaplan books have been staple pieces for content review for a long time, especially for Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem. Jack Westin is a great and free resource that offers CARS practice exams that mimic the real one and the Psych/Soc reddit docis a detailed and free document that offers all the Psych/Soc concepts that you will need for the exam. To reinforce information, Anki is a great app that lots of pre-meds and medical students use to study! There are a ton of pre-existing decks made and you can make your own as well. 


After you have reviewed all the content you need, drilling questions and doing practice exams/questions is what is going to really get you ready for this exam. There are a ton of resources and programs that can help you out with these such as: Anki, Uworld, Jack Westin, and the AAMC question packs and section banks. These programs will help with your daily practice, but the real secret lies in the practice exams and the review. Some practice exams I would recommend would be AAMC and Blueprint, as they emulate the real deal. I would recommend a practice test at the beginning of every week and taking 1 or 2 days to review your exam and log what type of questions you are getting wrong.

This 3 step process is the typical how-to guide for MCAT students, but each study plan can be tailored to your own liking. This lays down the foundation of what is needed but it is up to you to do additional research on programs and see what works for you. I highly recommend the reddit mcat page to see all the different opinions! I wish you all the best of luck in your MCAT journey. Happy studying!

Jasmine Padda

UC Riverside '24

just your average pre-med student that occasionally writes :,)