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16 week MCAT study plan, by Nick Morriss

Guide written by Nick Morriss, a 99th percentile scorer and MCAT tutor for trevorkleetutor.com. If you’re interested, check out what people think of Nick’s custom study plans. Or, contact us for a free consultation on how to study for the MCAT.

1st two months devoted to material review. Use Khan Academy Videos for material review

Key to MCAT: don’t forget material! According to the forgetting curve, we need continual reminders to keep material fresh

MCAT study plan requires an understanding of the forgetting curve

Week 1

Homework:

  1. Purchase and take the official Diagnostic Test from AMCAS ($25)
    1. https://store.aamc.org/official-mcat-sample-test-online.html
  2. Review test results while filling out the error log

Weeks 2 – 8- Learning and reviewing raw content

Homework:

Weeknights:

  1. Goal is >=2 hours per weeknight on content review.
    1. There are a total of 132 topics in the Khan Academy list. With 7 5-day workweeks, watching 2.5 videos per night, you will cover ~90 of them in this first 7 week span, assuming you do not cover any topics on weekends.
  2. A typical weeknight of studying should look like this:
    1. Watch videos on 2-3 new topics (depending on length of topics).
      1. Take good notes identifying the following
        1. What is the main point of the video?
        2. New information- what is it?
        3. Write one sentence describing how the content in this topic relates to previous topics covered
        4. Identify questions. Did you get lost during the video? Where was it? What topic did you not understand?
      2. Bring any and all questions to the next meeting.

Weekends or days when you have significantly more time:

  1. Goal is 6 hours over the course of a weekend or day off work.
  2. Review notes taken during that week.
    1. Active review: rewriting or retyping the notes as you go. You do not need to write down everything you wrote down the first time, but you need to capture at least overarching concept and specific applications. We will spend time during the first few weeks figuring out exactly what is important and what is not.
  3. AFTER reviewing notes: Do the questions banks from all topics covered during the week. This is another form of active review.
    1. Do not look at notes during questions
    2. Note any questions you got incorrect.
    3. When finished with a topic, go back through and redo the questions you got wrong. If you do not understand your mistake, write the number of the question down to bring to our next meeting
  4. Optional- watch videos and take notes on more topics. Only to be done after review and questionnaires from this week are completed

 

Weeks 9-14- Learning some new content and practicing MCAT style passages and questions (except for weeks 10, 11, 13, see below)

Homework:

Weeknights:

  1. Goal is >=2 hours per weeknight on content review.
  2. Each weeknight:
    1. Watch videos on 1 new topic.
      1. Take good notes identifying the following
        1. What is the main point of the video?
        2. New information- what is it?
        3. Write one sentence describing how the content in this topic relates to previous topics covered
        4. Identify questions. Did you get lost during the video? Where was it? What topic did you not understand?
      2. Bring any and all questions to the next meeting.
    2. Do 3-4 practice passages from Khan Academy from the same MCAT section (ie Biological and Biochemical Foundations or Chemical and Physical Foundations).
      1. For wrong questions- record the question incorrect, why you think you got it wrong, and we will review at the next meeting
    3. Do 1 CARS practice passage

Weekends:

There will be 3 full length practice tests sprinkled through weekends

For weekends with no practice test: Goal is 8 hours over the course of a weekend or day off work.

  1. Review notes taken during that week.
    1. Active review: rewriting or retyping the notes as you go. You do not need to write down everything you wrote down the first time, but you need to capture at least overarching concept and specific applications. We will spend time during the first few weeks figuring out exactly what is important and what is not.
  2. AFTER reviewing notes: Do the questions banks from all topics covered during the week. This is another form of active review.
    1. Do not look at notes during questions
    2. Note any questions you got incorrect.
    3. When finished with a topic, go back through and redo the questions you got wrong. If you do not understand your mistake, write the number of the question down to bring to our next meeting
  3. Do 8-12 practice passages from Khan Academy from the topic of focus of this week
    1. For wrong questions- record the question incorrect, why you think you got it wrong, and we will review at the next meeting
  4. Do 3 CARS practice passages

Weeks 10, 11, 13

  1. Complete a full length practice exam (AAMCAS practice exams)
    1. Real test taking- no unscheduled breaks, no notes, quiet environment.
    2. Simulate test day as much as possible
  2. Review the exam the following day.
    1. Note any incorrect questions:
      1. Topic?
      2. Why you think you got it wrong?
        1. Content, timing, strategy, bad luck?

Weeks 15-16- final preparation

Homework:

Weeknights: Content review and strategy practice

  1. Active review of weak topics and basic facts. Flash cards for key molecules, enzymes, vocabulary terms etc. Review common graphs. Goal is around 30 minutes- 1 hr per night.
  2. Passage practice- do 1 practice “section” (10 passages for science sections, 9 for cars) each night. Should take around 90 minutes.
    1. Review afterwards. Note incorrect questions, and why they were incorrect- timing, content, misunderstanding, misread question etc.

Weekends: Content review and more extensive strategy practice

  1. Active review of weak topics and facts
  2. Passage practice- practice full length passages.
    1. If the resource does not time you, time yourself. Working on stamina and preparation for real exam conditions.

Day before the exam

  • Go to bed and wake up early– sleep two nights before an exam is as important or more important than sleep immediately before
  • Don’t do anything more than a few minutes of flash card review. The information is in your brain by now- stressing out to fit more in there will not help.
  • Relax, exercise, go to work, do whatever you do to stay calm. You’re almost done!