For many doctors, the MCAT is known as one of the most stressful moments of your academic life pre-medical school. Luckily, there’s an array of ways to get prepared for your big day. In this article, I will outline the best possible ways to prepare for the MCAT and pass the first time around.

Take an MCAT prep class

MCAT prep classes are a necessity for many pre-med students. These classes are designed to provide study sessions that go over everything the MCAT has to offer. They provide a review of the content as well as test-taking tips. You can usually find MCAT prep classes in your city by doing a quick web search. If you live in a small city that doesn’t usually have that kind of support readily available, you can easily search for online classes as well.

Use AAMC resources

If you are looking for a more affordable way to get into medical school, use free websites like the AAMC’s official site. The Association of American Medical College has free resources for students to access at any time, including pre-graduation. There are thousands of videos courtesy of Khan Academy that cover topics that may come up on the MCAT. They also offer free review questions from the MCAT test developers. Studying using this site will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Take practice exams

I cannot stress how important this is in the medical field. Medical careers are very logic based and they rely on people who know how to think critically in tough situations. And needless to say, the MCAT reflect that. The questions are designed to weed out non-critical thinkers. When you do these practice tests, they are exercising your brain thus increasing your ability to think critically using the knowledge you gain from studying. A good strategy would be to take a practice exam at least three times a week during your MCAT studying. This will help you apply what you’ve learned while solving the questions on the test.

Teach your family

The most effective way to make sure you understand something is to teach it to someone else. Let’s use mitosis as an example. If you were trying to remember the stages, you could take a friend and teach them the stages using common phrasing. Because they don’t study biology, they may not understand, which would mean you would have to simplify the material and relate it to their life. If you have trouble explaining the concept at any point in the cycle, you should write it down and review it later. This study tactic is effective because it forces you to find out what part of the curriculum you are having trouble with. If you don’t have any family members or friends to practice on, use the wall in your bedroom or try to incorporate this teaching into your day to day conversations.

If you are like most pre-med students, you spent four or more years studying and taking courses, you will be fine. Just remember that you KNOW the information. The test is just to see how your brain applies the information you know. Practice as much as you can, get rest when you need it, and ace it! Happy Testing!

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