What Are the Best MCAT Prep Materials?
April 22, 2016
Today, there are a lot of MCAT preparation materials available for pre-meds. In fact, it often seems like new options pop up every day! Then, as much as pre-meds talk in person or online, you may feel a little overwhelmed in choosing and purchasing MCAT preparation materials for your personal studying. And of course, there is always the issue of staying within your budget. Well, as with so many aspects of studying for the MCAT, you should choose the prep materials that are right for you.
Another way to think of this is that the best MCAT preparation materials are those that address your MCAT studying needs. For instance, one student who struggles in biology could benefit from doing a lot of biology practice questions. On the other hand, another student who does not test well could benefit from taking a lot of timed practice tests. As their name implies, MCAT prep materials are designed to do just that--prepare you for the MCAT exam. That preparation involves a number of factors such as content review, reading comprehension, question recognition, and analytical skill development. However, the only way to gain such a well-rounded prep experience is to give yourself a variety of MCAT prep materials. Consider using the following:
- Lecture Notes - These offer a great start to your content review, because they provide a condensed, yet relevant overview of topics within each subject.
- Textbooks or E-books - Refer to these to refresh your memory on any topics from your notes that feel foggy; you can even try out the review questions at the end of each chapter.
- Videos - Access these to gain a better understanding of the topics you are really struggling with as well as to learn their relevance to the MCAT.
- Practice Questions - Practice may not always make perfect, but it certainly makes you familiar with answering questions while identifying your strong and weak areas.
- MCAT Flashcards - These greatly enhance your study experience, as they contain foundational MCAT concepts in a portable form. Make your own flashcards by hand or download an app version.
- MCAT Practice Tests - Take these regularly to gauge your overall performance and progress. Review each test and write down what you will want to remember for future practice tests including your mistakes.
Now, there is always the possibility of having more prep materials than you have time to review! And the last thing you should do is frustrate yourself by rushing through materials just to get through them. Instead, give yourself ample time to work through your materials methodically and actually learn from them. So, make sure that you include your specific MCAT prep materials within your study schedule. Also, allow yourself the flexibility to cycle through these materials multiple times until you feel both comfortable and confident in your MCAT knowledge.