MCAT Study Guide | 109 Tips and Strategies

MCAT Study Guide

Last Update: August 2017

Before You Start – Planning for the MCAT

1. Read this guide; it will save you time and money. Time because you can skip the online courses, and money because the best MCAT materials have great resale value. Examkrackers is king; I will explain later why.

2. Make a plan and then follow it religiously – even if you’re not autistic. See how much time, and for how long, you can devote to studying for the MCAT each day. I used this MCAT study schedule, which I designed for 75 days.

3. You are likely to forget information that you’ve studied too far in advance. Don’t start studying a year in advance unless you absolutely have to. See the (don’ts section).

4. Contact your pre-health committee head and ask them for any free resources your college might have (e.g. practice tests, prep books, etc.). Here are some free MCAT study notes that contain a lot of the most important concepts, formulas, terms, physiological systems, and approaches you need to know:
MCAT Study Notes

5. Plan on spending about 3-6 months to prepare for the MCAT. Prepare mentally, because this will be a challenge that could prove you worthy of becoming a doctor. Most people score best with anything from 2.5 to 6 months of rigorous preparation, it really depends on your personal circumstances and level of knowledge. If you have to work full-time you won’t be able to study an additional 8 hours per day. Even studying a year in advance might be a good choice for you personally, but then you have to make sure to rehearse a ton of information as the test approaches.

6. Register early for the MCAT because you need to apply early for medical school. The scramble for spots gets harder the later you apply!

7. Sync your routine to the time of the day that you are going to take the MCAT. Mine looked like this: 6:30am get up, drink coffee, review yesterday’s topics for an hour, eat breakfast, begin with verbal at 8:00am, study until lunch-break at 12:30pm, study until dinner. After dinner I spent time hanging out with friends and also usually went for a run. This way you will be alert and familiar with the MCAT sequence.

8. Quit your job (temporarily) if you can. You need to work as little as you can afford, and study as much as possible while still being productive (you will discover that this equation is key). Studying for the MCAT is going to take 4 – 9 hours of your time daily. This is a full-time job. Some people will say you don’t need to quit your job, and depending on your job you might not want to. It’s your decision and you must make your best choices, but in order to get your maximum MCAT score, you need your maximum effort.

MCAT Study Materials

People prefer different materials but the most used materials are published by Examkrackers (EK), The Princeton Review (TPR), Kaplan, and The Berkeley Review (TBR). Definitely buy the holy grail, 10th Edition Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package (EXAMKRACKERS MCAT MANUALS) because they cover the essentials while still being concise. Additionally you should also either get the Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set, 2nd Edition, or alternatively TBR complete package (except for verbal). These will be your primary study materials.

In any case supplement your primary study materials with Examkrackers 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning and all of the 101 practice materials: Examkrackers MCAT 101 Passages: Biology 1: Molecules: Biochemistry, Examkrackers 101 Passages: Biology 2: Systems, Examkrackers 101 Passages: Psychology & Sociology, and Examkrackers MCAT 101 Passages: Physics for pure practice. For CAR, I recommend NextStep (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills). Examkrackers will enable you to practice excessively, which is absolutely critical. Practice questions will either make or break you.

9. Purchase Examkrackers 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning no matter which primary study materials you are using. It has amazing reviews for mastering your strategy for the verbal section of the MCAT, and it contains real MCAT passages.

10. For facts that you intend to memorize, create audio recordings of yourself speaking them. You can teach yourself by “brainwashing” yourself into remembering them by listening to them when driving, working out, etc. After a while, create new recordings with the facts that you keep forgetting.

11. Many people recommend The Princeton Review MCAT Prep books. If you choose to use these books as your primary materials, don’t forget to supplement them with Examkrackers.

12. The Berkeley Review (TBR) MCAT prep books have also had innumerable success stories about students dramatically increasing their MCAT scores after previously using Kaplan or other MCAT prep books. Don’t buy TBR Verbal, it is lengthly and does not do as good of a job preparing you as does Examkrackers 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning. I used TBR for everything except Verbal, and EK for everything.

13. Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of 13, a number commonly associated with bad luck.

14. The MCAT evolves around two key concepts. One is knowledge, the other one is thinking. You want to build foundational knowledge and also work on critical thinking and problem solving. While some memorizing is important, you also need to work on your ability to reason and make the best choice under time pressure.

15. If you have enough time and willpower, buy all of the materials (EK + TBR + TBR). A friend of mine got a 25 and 26 on his first and second MCAT, and then in a last do-or-die attempt studied all three publisher’s materials. He ended up with a 37. Another friend of mine studied only with EK for the most essential topics and took a bunch of practice exams. He never told me his score, but he got accepted at both Yale and Johns Hopkins. If you are under time pressure, use only the EK materials. Nonetheless, I strongly recommend getting TBR or TPR in addition to EK. See all cited materials at the bottom of the page.

The Golden Standard: Examkrackers

Berkeley Review MCAT Study Guide

This is the Berkeley Review Set that I used. There are newer versions available.











Recommended materials:
Examkrackers 10th Edition MCAT Complete Study Package (EXAMKRACKERS MCAT MANUALS)
Examkrackers 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning
Examkrackers MCAT 101 Passages: Physics
Examkrackers MCAT 101 Passages: Biology 1 Molecules: Biochemistry
Examkrackers 101 Passages: Biology 2: Systems
Examkrackers 101 Passages: Psychology & Sociology
AAMC Full-Length (FL) Practice MCAT Exams (Exams 3-10)
Examkrackers MCAT Audio Osmosis
Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set, 2nd Edition
Berkeley Review MCAT Home Study Material
NextStep CAR (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills)

MCAT Studying Strategies

16. Practice, as much as you can. Practice is the key variable in your MCAT equation! You’ll want to get and take all of the AAMC full-length practice tests (FLs). Some practice FLs are flukes and are weird, but you might also get a fluke or an unusual MCAT.

17. Practice tests aren’t always a huge indicator of how you will do. It really depends on the practice tests and how hard they are. You could also get a really weird MCAT. Don’t get thrown off, discouraged, or overly confident by your scores. On average, however, the FLs are a very good indicator for you to know if you are ready or not.

18. Make one page outlines of what you learn for each chapter. Decorate these outlines with sketches and different colored highlighting in order to make it stick in your memory for easy recollection. This technique is also applicable during medical school. If you didn’t think you had a photographic memory, you may think again after practice with this.

19. Download free full-length practice tests here and here. Taking practice tests prepares you both through practice and routine. Studying without taking practice tests is like fishing without bait. Chances are slim.

20. It doesn’t matter if you take 3 practice tests per week or 1 per week, but it is best to take the tests after you’ve finished a good amount of your studying. Reviewing the answers to the full-length tests after you’ve completed them is studying, too.

21. Extensively review your tests. Again, reviewing is critical. Find out why you got a question wrong, be able to correctly do the problem, and find your weak spots. Consider failing a question as an opportunity to learn and grow. Consult friends or professors to solve a question that you just can’t solve. I completed a FL about every three days after studying the material (day A: FL, day B: review first half of FL, day C: review last half of FL, repeat).

22. Practice taking FLs in somewhat distracting areas. During the actual exam, you will be with many other students taking various MCATs. They sniffle, cough, shift, and tap their pencils. You should get used to that beforehand.

23. If a training course seems right for you, do it. Honestly, I think 90% of you should be fine without it because your desk and your brain should be all you need, but people have had positive results with training courses. In particular, I am thinking about the Berkeley Review one in CA (difficult to take though if you live in NE America, like me).

24. If group work helps you, study with a friend. Two minds are better than one because they can offer different perspectives and approaches to understanding and solving problems. I find studying in groups makes me remember the information better. I end up explaining it to someone and then never forget it, or vice versa.

25. The actual MCAT does not have an alarm clock that rings or beeps every hour. Practice timing yourself silently.

26. Study during the day. Your brain is more active and absorbs information best during the daylight.

27. There is no trivia on the MCAT. Practice deciphering complex biological systems and figuring out exactly what’s going on and what’s being asked. Understanding concepts in physiology is more important than memorizing physiological systems.

28. Take your practice tests on a computer with a plug-in keyboard. That’s what the actual MCAT will be like.

29. Practice taking FLs with earplugs or head muffs. Most testing centers offer one or both. Take advantage of them.

30. Bring on the flash cards. Learn all the concepts – that means understand them, and also memorize the necessary facts, names, formulas, and reactions. Put away the ones that you have learned. The EK books will tell you what is absolutely necessary to memorize and what isn’t. This was extremely helpful to me.

31. Keep all your flashcards in the same pile and shuffle frequently. Topics are almost always intertwined on the MCAT. This will help you learn how to bridge information.

32. Actively try to bridge ideas – connect unrelated information in a realistic way while you review. If you’re learning about purines in organic chemistry and about determining the velocity of objects in physics, you might think about solving and understanding how fast caffeine (a purine) gets absorbed into the blood stream. Then you could bridge biology and determine where the compound will travel to anatomically or what enzymes it might encounter in different areas of the body.

33. Memorize the necessary formulas and definitions; ditch the rest. It can be hard to differentiate, but this is critical. The MCAT is a reading comprehension and critical thinking exam, not a memorization test. Keep in mind that the MCAT often gives you formulas or reactions you’ve never seen. It is your responsibility to apply them in helping you answer questions correctly.

34. Make your own mnemonics to remember definitions and names, especially in biology. Examkrackers offers many tricks and catchy ways to remember difficult things. They helped me a lot on the actual exam, because I could sort out more complicated questions by running through the letters of a mnemonic and reciting what each letter stands for and what I need to know about it.

35. If you can’t focus, take a break and return to your studying in 10 or 15 minutes. You’ll build stamina as you continue to study. It’s useless studying material while your mind is elsewhere. Within a few weeks before your test date, you shouldn’t be taking breaks anymore.

36. Learn how to eliminate wrong answers in order to choose your final answer. This is something The Berkeley Review stresses in their prep books, and rightly so! You won’t have time to actively think through the most accurate explanation or answer. In your limited amount of time you need to eliminate wrong answers and make educated guesses. I guessed on many questions, but all these guesses were informed guesses. There’s no time to prove why answer B is correct, just choose it, move on, and come back to reaffirm your answer if you have time.

37. Know everything about major organs, but especially the kidneys. Know how Bernoulli’s Equation applies, know the direction of flow, what goes in and comes out in each part of the kidney, and know the biochemistry behind the reactions and exchanges therein. Everyone told me to prepare for kidney questions, and yes, I did get them!

38. Understand the O2-hemoglobin dissociation curve. Your prep books should give you many questions relating to it, so make sure you do those passages. These type of questions are often on the MCAT.

39. Know your endocrine hormones – where they come from, how they are administered, what their function is, and where they go. These questions, whether directly or indirectly asked, are also frequently found on actual MCATs.

40. Compare equations answers with variables by throwing in a simple, easy-to-work-with number in place of a variable and seeing how the equation would change number. See what equation makes most sense to answer that question. Sometimes it’s difficult to know which variable changes, but that should be given somewhere in the question, passage, formula you’ve memorized, or a new formula you can create by fusing the formula given and a formula you’ve memorized. Work on figuring out how to extract this information and work it into the formulas.

41. There is no need to spend too much time preparing for the writing section. As long as you can complete the given tasks in a grammatically correct manner, you will do fine. Little emphasis is placed on the writing section. Just make sure you give yourself about 25 minutes to write each question and 5 minutes to polish it up, because you won’t have a break in between the essays. You’ll have 60 minutes altogether.

42. When writing the essay, simply develop a central idea, synthesis ideas and concepts, present them concisely and logically, and write clearly (including grammar, syntax, and punctuation).

43. Each writing sample gives three tasks (thesis, antithesis, and conflict resolution). Complete all three as asked, and do not worry about being politically correct or having a certain opinion. How you write is what is graded, not what your opinions are. You only need to prepare for the writing section by completing the essays on your practice FLs. See how AAMC score essays with these writing samples.

44. Although you don’t have to spend much time preparing for the writing section, do complete the essays accordingly when you take your full-length practice exams. If you neglect the written part during FLs, you will be worn out much quicker on the day of the MCAT because you didn’t build your stamina. In addition, if you get a significantly low letter score for your writing samples, that will hurt your chances for a medical school interview.

45. On one or two FLs, try taking a different approach for the PS section – skim through the passages; answer the questions by referring back to the passages, graphs/charts, and given formulas. Sometimes the questions provide enough information to answer them, and this saves a ton of time. However, this is not something you would want to begin trying on your MCAT day. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I found myself skimming through the passages and spending more time on reading and solving the questions. I had time to spare and scored highest in PS on the big day.

46. Being a great doctor means processing information and coming to a conclusion quickly, especially when a patient rolls in on a stretcher and is covered in blood. You will have to think fast on the MCAT as well. The biggest complaint of MCAT-takers is that they didn’t have enough time. Practice being accurate, efficient, and fast while you do passages.

47. Review what you’ve been studying at least once a week. That means rereading the chapters and doing some of the passages you skipped before. Do not redo passages!

48. You are the only you out there. You have a unique way of learning information and solving problems in the best way you can. Don’t do what your classmates are doing just because they might be better students or insist on a great strategy. Do what works best for you, and once you find out what that is, stick to it.

49. The MCAT has the following 4 sections in chronological order: Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and 2 thirty-minute Essays. Do not worry about saving your undergraduate textbooks to prepare for these. MCAT prep books are designed to teach you what you need to know and sift out the less important information.

50. The Verbal Reasoning Section has passages that you willl read and answer detail-oriented, comprehensive, and critical thinking questions on. You have 60 minutes to complete about 12 passages.

51. The Physical Sciences section includes General Chemistry and Physics. You have 60 minutes to answer about 6 or 7 passages.

52. The Biological Sciences section contains passages on Biology and Organic Chemistry, including topics you may have covered in Genetics, Biochemistry, Ecology, and Physiology. You have 60 minutes to answer about 6 or 7 passages.

53. Each 30-minute essay will give you a statement or question. You will have to describe what it means, give examples, and respond to the two essay questions in 60 minutes, one at a time.

54. You will get 10 minute breaks in between each section of the MCAT. Use them to get some fresh air, munch on a protein-rich snack, and rehydrate. There is, however, no break between essay questions.

55. You can score anywhere from 1 to 15 in each section (VR, PS, and BS) and can receive a letter from J (lowest) to T (highest) on the writing sample. Ideally, you want to get about an average of 10 in each section and anything decent on the writing sample (N or above should do it).

When to Take the MCAT

56. Considering that the MCAT covers Biology, Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, and Physics, you should probably take the MCAT after completing these college courses. This way it will be easier to study subjects you have already learned.

57. Take the MCAT after your Junior year or Senior year of undergraduate college, once you have completed your pre-medical pre-requisites. It will make studying easier because you will have already been familiar with the topics.

58. The best time to take the MCAT is in late May to early July, but this is also the most popular time to take it. The more applications AMCAS/AACOMAS have, the longer they’ll take to review and submit them to medical schools. I took my MCAT in mid-August and AACOMAS took 1 week to process my application while AMCAS took 2.5 weeks. The longer you wait to submit your MCAT scores, the more medical school seats that have already been filled.

59. Everything considered, the best time to take the MCAT is when you are most prepared. Keep in mind tip 3, though!

60. Do not retake the MCAT more than 3 times (unless you have an extremely compelling reason). If you get a low score, it’s not looked down upon to retake the MCAT, as long as your score improves. Be prepared to explain your difference in scores at your medical school interview.

MCAT Verbal Reasoning Tips

61. You can up your overall MCAT score by doing well in verbal reasoning, and it doesn’t require memorizing or understanding a wealth of concepts. Follow these tips.

62. While reading a passage in verbal reasoning, address these three questions: 1. What is the author talking about?, 2. What is the author’s overall mood and opinion towards it?, 3. What specific information is in each paragraph? (You will have to refer back to the passage to answer detail-specific question, so remember where to find the information. You won’t have much time to search around.)

63. Do verbal every morning, first thing in the morning, at the exact time of when your registered MCAT will begin. This acclimates your brain to the urgency and immediacy of the actual exam. Rituals are good.

64. Don’t choose answers only because of a gut-feeling. The testmakers purposefully choose answers with words you’ve read before in the passage, so your brain automatically wants to choose what is already familiar. This is a bad idea. Don’t fall for their traps. Gut-feelings are good to fall back on when you’re completely stumped, but don’t choose an answer just because you’ve read those words before.

65. Do not apply concepts you’ve learned in your science classes to natural sciences verbal passages. The passages may often contradict facts you’ve learned. Again, it’s about what the author is writing and thinks, not about what is universally correct.

66. Approach verbal passages the right way. Read every word, understand the general idea and feel for the passage, and answer questions as best and quickly as you can. I found that I felt rushed the most on the verbal section, but getting it done quickly yet efficiently helped give me my great score.

67. Accuracy is more important than speed. Think hard and guess on the rest if you’re running out of time.

68. Eliminate answers that directly conflict with the author’s opinion of the topic or that are unrelated to his/her opinion, unless of course the question is specifically asking for the answer that least fits with the author’s opinion.

69. Follow the advice on verbal strategies given in EK 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning. It’s dead-on accurate.

70. Write down your start times for each passage (e.g. 60-52-44-36-28-20-12-4 for 7 passages) on your scratch paper so that you divvy up the time appropriately for each passage. Mark and return to questions you were unsure about.

71. Answer every question in verbal, but try to answer the easy ones first so that you can spend more time on the more difficult questions. You may even want to read the least intimidating passages first as well, but don’t waste time searching for easy passages. It’s not easy to tell what is or is not easy. If you’re not good at deciphering, just progress chronologically.

72. Remember that it takes time for your score in VR to increase. As long as you do it every morning at the same time, you will eventually watch it rise. I began with fives and sixes and ended with twelves and thirteens. Be patient.


73. Don’t Cram – you’ll forget 90% of it.

74. Don’t rely on Kaplan. In fact, don’t use it at all, unless you’re using the practice exams. Just compare their ratings on Amazon if you don’t believe me.

75. Do not study one subject at a time. Mix it up – cover each subject each week. The MCAT will be all muddled up as well; anatomy shows up in the Physical Sciences section and chemistry formulas show up in the Biological Sciences section. You use different areas of your brain to study different subjects. Switching between subjects is much more effective than block-studying.

76. Don’t wait until after work or after hanging out with friends to review your passages. Correct your passages right away. Read the chapter, do passage 1 and review it immediately; do passage 2 and 3 in a row while timing yourself, then review 2 and 3 directly afterwards. You’ll remember and understand the material better this way.

77. Don’t relieve your bladder mid-way through a section in your practice FL. On the test day you might only be able to go to the bathroom on your breaks, and you don’t want to waste valuable time taking mid-test bathroom breaks.

78. Don’t skip breaks during your exam. Use the breaks to close your eyes, breathe, and calm your nerves. You don’t want to burn out.

79. Don’t drink energy drinks on the big day. They give you an alert but passive attention. You’ll make stupid mistakes. I weaned myself off of coffee a week in advance. It’s nice to feel the buzz, but it’s nicer to prevent the crash.

80. Whatever you do, do not leave questions unanswered. If you have 3 minutes left on the proctor clock, fill in the rest of the answers in that section and the return to what you were working on. Unanswered questions are incorrect answers. Guessed answers have up to a 25% random chance of being correct, and that’s much better to bet on.

81. Don’t read a question over and over again, expecting to all of the sudden understand it differently. Paraphrase it and ask the new question to yourself silently.

82. Never retake a practice test. If you do, don’t even consider your score to be accurate. Whether you remember the information or not, some part of your brain will recognize answers. This will completely discombobulate your score.

83. Don’t stress. It’s a waste of valuable energy.

84. Do not intensify your studying as your exam day approaches. In fact, you can actually hurt yourself and your MCAT score outcome if you don’t wind down and take at least one day off before the MCAT. Make sure you are well rested. Ideally you will be done with all of your studies one week before the exam so you can just review some materials for a a couple hours per day during that last week.

85. Don’t invest in an expensive course just because you wouldn’t know where else to start. It depends on how you learn, but investing in the right materials and managing your time effectively is simply the best way to prepare for the MCAT. Some prep-courses are very interactive, which is good for someone who can’t learn on their own, but most people learn quicker and in larger quantities on their own if done the right way. If you want to excel, you need to buy the right prep books, make a schedule, and spend about 75 days preparing the right way.

MCAT Lifestyle Tips

86. Get used to waking up early (if you signed up for an 8am exam). I strictly went to bed early and woke up at 5:30am for the entire week prior to my actual test day, and more or less stuck to that same “rise-and-rest” MCAT study schedule for my entire 75 days of preparation. Set up your studying times, particularly the practice FLs, at exactly the same time you’ll be taking your exam.

87. Get physical exercise throughout your studying months. People perform at their peak when they are most fit. Take a jog after you’re done studying for the day. I jogged just about every day after I studied, but you don’t have to go every day. Two or three times weekly work just fine.

88. Eliminate distractions while you study. Close your apps on your computer, turn off your ipod, and put your phone away and on silent.

89. Avoid drinking alcohol on study days. If you need a drink on your break days, drink modestly. Alcohol is generally pretty bad for you, especially for your brain and academic performance. An occasional glass of red wine won’t hurt, though.

90. Sacrifice partying with friends for studying. Good friends will support you and your dedication.

91. Eat well. Filling, heart-healthy and energy-rich foods like a lasagna dinner take you a long way the following day.

92. Read news in the morning or at night. Don’t just read medical news, but make your internet homepage CNN (or some other neutral newspage) and browse around the different articles offered. Reading what you normally wouldn’t (for me it was politics) helps your brain adjust to comprehending all the different types of passages in the verbal section on the MCAT. These include social sciences (psychology, sociology, political science, and anthropology), natural sciences, and humanities (english, history, philosophy). Most science majors are very comfortable with the natural sciences passages but struggle with the social sciences and humanities. Brush up in your spare time.

MCAT Exam Day

93. The night before the exam, be kind to your body and brain and get a minimum of 9 hours of sleep. That means going to bed at 8 or 9pm and hopefully being asleep within an hour or two. You will feel refreshed and alert the following morning.

94. Bring protein-rich, sugar-free snacks (e.g. Larabars and some walnuts) to your testing center for your breaks. Don’t forget water or juice. You don’t want to crash from a lack of food or a sugar high once you begin the BS section.

95. Most test centers provide either (or both) earmuffs and earplugs. Whatever you have been practicing with all along is best to use on the real test day; if you have been using earplugs while you study, ask for a pair at the test center.

96. The MCATs being administered vary, and question difficulty also varies. If you can’t figure something out, make an educated guess, move on, and return to the marked question once you finish that section if you have time.

97. Don’t worry excessively about the writing section. Practice typing your essays when you take the practice FLs, but don’t stress if your score isn’t phenomenal. What makes an impact is if you score exceptionally well, or exceptionally poorly. An excellent score in writing can offset a low verbal score.

98. Relax. A stressed mind can inhibit your access to vital information. This single exam isn’t the end of your life.

99. Be confident. You’ve got this! Confidence boosts performance.

100. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out in between passages. Move on and forget about the last passage. I found that my eyes burned because I was so attentive to the passages that I must have forgotten to blink. Doing this in between passages felt very, very good, and it made me feel more grounded, refreshed, and pumped to persevere.

101. Unless you’ve been enlightened by a better line of reasoning, resist the urge to change an answer you’ve already clicked.

102. Beware of tricks! The MCAT test-makers often throw in trick answers! Gut feelings aren’t always the right feelings. Know why you’re choosing an answer, don’t just go with a feeling.

103. Smile. It improves your mood and outlook.

104. Concentrate on what you’re reading, what you know about the subject, and what answer makes the most sense (or which answers make the least sense). Push out extraneous thoughts and focus. This is truly the key to both memorization and critical thinking.

105. If you have the money, you could also get Examkrackers MCAT Audio Osmosis . The CDs condense many major concepts into a series of compact, conversational lectures, and you can listen to them while driving or working out in the gym. Here is a detailed review of Examkrackers MCAT Audio Osmosis, which I wrote a while ago.

106. As you did for your undergraduate studies, always keep your eyes on the goal. Each day as a pre-medical student is one step closer to your dream. When times get rough, remember your prize waiting for you at the end of the journey! Remember why you chose this field, then just take it one day, night, concept, passage, or question at a time.

107. Listen to my podcasts, I usually try to include some of my insights and experience on or about the MCAT in each episode!

house108. House says we should finish by restating the two most important and essential tips! All of the points I made are important, but the two most important ones are 1) choosing the best materials and 2) knowing when you are ready and fully prepared. There’s a reliable way to know when you are ready: take a bunch of full-length practice tests by AAMC and then see if, on average, you’re ready!

109. Please like and link to this page if it was helpful :), others need to benefit from this, too.

List of cited materials:

Examkrackers 10th Edition MCAT Complete Study Package (EXAMKRACKERS MCAT MANUALS)
Examkrackers 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning
Examkrackers MCAT 101 Passages: Physics
Examkrackers MCAT 101 Passages: Biology 1 Molecules: Biochemistry
Examkrackers 101 Passages: Biology 2: Systems
Examkrackers 101 Passages: Psychology & Sociology
AAMC Full-Length (FL) Practice MCAT Exams (Exams 3-10)
Examkrackers MCAT Audio Osmosis
Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set, 2nd Edition
Berkeley Review MCAT Home Study Material
NextStep CAR (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills)


25 thoughts on “MCAT Study Guide | 109 Tips and Strategies

  1. Michael

    Thanks for the tips! I have everything from Examkrackers (including their audio CD). Im a 10-year nurse applying to medical school next may.

    Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Top 10 MCAT Myths

    1. Naomi Post author

      I do, it’s in the sidebar unless it didn’t load properly. Thanks for your support we appreciate it!

  3. Ryan

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks! Thx in the name of all pre-meds!

  4. Christopher

    Hi! Thanks for the tips. Regarding study guides, I was about to purchase TBR books, but I fear maybe there is a lot of hype about them and am not sure how good they really are. Would be about $400 for all books with shipping and convenience fees added. Plus, I saw that they don’t ship until 4 days after credit card purchase. What do you think about their material. Is it accurate (some say many typos)? Is really any better than EK? I could buy either complete package, and someone gave me EK VR. Some say also TBR has too much material for MCAT (like a textbook). What say you?

    Thank you!

    1. Naomi Post author

      Hey Christopher,
      It really depends on how much time you want to, or have to, invest in studying. If you are fairly comfortable with a lot of the material you could skip TBR but I personally do recommend them and have used them myself. It is true that their material is excessive, and partly weird (also some typos). However, they really push you to learn a lot and I think it’s important to have a combination of the materials that I mentioned in the study guide above. It sounds like you would be taking the MCAT next year so you have plenty of time to go through all of the materials. If you’re a slow reader EK is easier and faster to read, which has pros and cons. I think EK and TBR is really the best combination.
      $400 should be worth the investment if you can make it into med school. Keeping the books in good shape could also give you back up to 70-80% on amazon or ebay – both TBR and EK are highly popular materials. If you study hard you should do well!

  5. Heejoo Kim

    Thank you so much for being kind enough to share your tips. I found it very helpful. You mentioned that take 3 months to study (full time), but what if I cannot quit my job? I cannot really study for 3 months full time. I would like some of your advice. Thank you!

    1. Naomi Post author

      Well, that’s just a suggestion. You could study a year in advance but then you need to rehearse a lot of the material that you studied at the early stages. Rehearsing should be a pretty integral part of mcat studying anyway.
      Develop a plan that will fit you and your circumstances best. If you can’t quit your job you will have to study over a longer period of time so that you won’t burn out. You could do a 6 month study schedule and study 4 hours every day.
      Cheers! 🙂

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  7. Karyn

    Hi Naomi,

    Thank you for all of this information! I am taking the MCAT for a second time, and the first time around I did all of the AAMC tests. Since you recommend not taking a test again, do you have any suggestions of a good source of 5-10 practice tests, different from the AAMC tests?
    Thank you!


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