MCAT Practice Test Advice

Tips in taking AAMC practice tests and Gold Standard MCAT materials

MCAT Practice Tests

Start and End with AAMC MCAT Practice Materials | Design a Personal Study Schedule | Review Daily, Test Weekly Pattern Recognition | Study Materials

Start and End with AAMC MCAT Practice Materials

I know it seems odd to say, but the first thing you need to do is to review the AAMC's syllabus for the new MCAT and start doing some of their practice problems. They have a small pdf with 12 free sample questions and they have the official MCAT Guide which is a second source to find the syllabus and more practice questions. There are too many companies out there that will try to deceive you about what the MCAT is like. See it yourself, try a few questions yourself before you end up buying 20 different books because you don't know who to believe. Leave the rest of the AAMC materials (i.e. full length sample test +/- Question Packs +/- Khan Academy passages) for after your review.

Design a Personal Study Schedule

Design a personal MCAT study schedule (you can find ours here: GS MCAT Study Schedule): on average, set aside approximately 3-6 hours/day for about 3-6 months. You may need more or less time depending on your "pre-MCAT prep": for example, if you do alot of leisure reading, if you read the New York Times/The Economist/WSJ, if you completed all your basic sciences, if you have a 4.0 GPA, then you might need less time!

Review Daily, Test Weekly

Get a limited amount of review materials in front of you and move forward on a daily basis. Once per week, do an online MCAT practice test and pour over explanations for your mistakes/guesses. Make "Gold Notes."

Gold Notes are your personal, condensed notes that contain the most valuable learning points from each MCAT practice test that you do. You should have no more than 1-2 pages after each test and you should review all your Gold Notes before doing an additional practice test. Also, review the MCAT Biochemistry Review Summary, MCAT Physics Equations Sheet, MCAT Organic Chemistry Mechanisms and MCAT General Chemistry Review which we have put online.

Pattern Recognition

There is a basic and critical concept in medicine called "pattern recognition". It is not true that there is an infinite number of possible concepts tested by the MCAT (though you may have felt this way because of the wide breadth of your learning and practice materials). The concepts are quite limited and so are the patterns. It's OK if you have no clue on a couple of questions, that's not important. However, you should be on the right track for almost all questions, and it is very important that you remain focused to the point that you assure yourself that if you know the answer, you get it right. Before you go on, don't tell yourself: "Great, I got that one"; say the opposite: "I wonder what silly mistake I just made." That way, you will seek, find it and then move on.

Study Materials

The Gold Standard offers you a wide selection of high quality tools to help you get the score that you are aiming for: flashcards, online videos with lecture style teaching, audio MP3s, high-yield ebooks, interactive online programs, MCAT practice tests, and online courses such as our MCAT University and the Platinum Program.

Keep in mind: paper MCATs are like dinosaurs. Use all the AAMC online tests and the Gold Standard MCAT practice tests to simulate the computer based environment of the new MCAT.

Good luck!

Gold Standard MCAT Guide