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Creating a MCAT Study Schedule

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

When I started my MCAT prep journey, I was so confused!! What resources should I use?

How long should I study? Where should I even begin??

I poured hours into creating multiple, super in-depth study schedules that I haven’t even looked at to this day because they were overambitious and just unrealistic. After I took a step back, recognized that taking the MCAT is a hurdle I must overcome to get into medical school, and was realistic about my other responsibilities, MCAT Prep was much more manageable!!

I created my own MCAT schedule which has worked great for me so far, and here are some tips to get you started:

Use Templates From Others

Google can be your best friend. Join MCAT and pre-med Facebook groups and groupmes. Follow other pre-meds on insta. There are so many resources out there, but you have to actively search for them sometimes. Although the pre-med community can often feel cutthroat, there are many people out there willing to help - just ask! Before creating my study schedule, I looked at a bunch of schedules from other students to get ideas of how to set mine up. This taught me general things such as start with content, incorporate review problems, and save AAMC materials until the end. I saw things I liked about certain schedules that I incorporated into my own (I.e. color coding by subject) and left other things out (I.e. scheduling by hour of the day and utilizing a complicated excel sheet). From there, I was set to create my own.

Only create a rough outline before you start studying

DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID. Do not think that you are going to jump into MCAT prep reading 4 chapters a day. Do not waste your time creating a super in-depth, unrealistic schedule. I would recommend using my downloadable template as an outline. Figure out what materials you plan to use, plan a week of MCAT prep, and test it out. If it works, expand upon that. If it doesn’t work, re-evaluate. Personally, I started with only doing about 3 chapters each week due to other obligations and because getting used to reading, comprehending, and retaining so much info was difficult for me. Once my semester moved online due to COVID-19, I had a lot more time on my hands so I alternated between 1 chapter and 2 chapters every other day. I learned that was the best way to not overload my brain. Find what works for you!

Make it in phases

This goes along with the aforementioned point. Especially with COVID-19, things are unpredictable. There is no telling what dates will be cancelled. Even when things were “normal,” life still happens. I created my schedule in phases: Content Review 1, Content Review 2, UWorld Practice, and AAMC Practice. I created the schedule for each phase when I was almost done with the previous phase. This made prep more manageable for me because I was looking at a schedule for 1 month at a time rather than 6. This also helps because when life happens, and it will, you only have to re-work a shorter schedule rather than re-doing a 6 month schedule.

Be realistic

Generally, as pre-meds, we are overachievers. That is something that may never change, but it is something that we can plan for. Just because you aced every pre-req does not mean you retained all of the information. If never took a psychology class, you may need to spend more time on that. If you are in 18 credit hours of coursework, work full time, and involved in extracurriculars, your schedule won’t look the same as someone with less obligations. If you are a visual learner, reading books may not work for you. Trial and error is an unfortunate part of the MCAT prep process. However, the quicker you learn to adapt, the more rewarding the process will become.

Follow these tips, and you will be well on your way to tackling the MCAT exam. If you still want more guidance on creating a schedule, I have linked a MCAT Schedule Template that I created for students studying in 5-6 months on the homepage. The schedule is aimed for 2 months of content review followed by 2 months of practice questions using UWorld. The last 1-2 months should always be dedicated to AAMC Materials, and I will release a template schedule for that when I get to that stage in my prep.

Resources I've Used:

  • Kaplan 7-Subject Set (excluding CARS and Behavioral Sciences) $$

  • Khan Academy - CARS Passages and P/S Videos

  • 300 Page P/S Doc

  • 86 Page P/S Doc

  • Lab Techniques Doc

  • MileDown Anki Deck

  • MileDown Review Sheets

  • Practice Exams

  • UWorld MCAT QBank $$

Resources I’m Planning to Use:

  • AAMC MCAT Official Prep Bundle $$

With the exception of the Kaplan Books, UWorld, and the AAMC Bundle, all other resources are FREE and can be found online!!! Make sure to check to see if you qualify for the AAMC Fee Assistance Program to save on MCAT Registration and the Official Bundle. Aside from the AAMC Bundle, the other materials that cost money are negotiable. Khan Academy has a full set of videos and practice questions that cover MCAT material which could substitute content books and UWorld Qs.

I would like to add that I am still in my MCAT Prep journey. I am sharing what has worked for me, but it is important to find what works for you. If you find the template useful, be sure to like this post, comment below, and direct others to this post so they can benefit as well. To stay updated on my MCAT journey, follow my pre-med instagram and subscribe to this blog to be updated of new posts!

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1 Comment

Brittney Clough
Brittney Clough
Jul 11, 2021

Where is the link?

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