If you’ve found yourself three-months from your MCAT exam date and you’re starting to feel the pressure, there is no need to worry. You still have time for focused and strategic test prep that will have you ready for MCAT success.
If you start your test prep six, nine, or twelve months before the test, you give yourself space to study an hour or two each day and take days off occasionally. However, if you begin your MCAT prep three months before the exam, be prepared for daily study sessions that are lengthier than if you had begun earlier.
Many students have begun their MCAT prep several months in advance of the exam, but are wondering what their study plan should look like in those last 12 weeks leading up to the MCAT. Whether you’re just now beginning to study or you’ve been studying but are looking for information on how to finish well, here are some things to keep in mind regarding a three-month MCAT study plan.
Use a Premium Test-Prep Resource
With only three months before your MCAT exam, it is imperative that you prepare with a high-quality resource. The very best resource will have . . .
- An interface that looks identical to the actual exam
- Quality, MCAT-style questions that cover all topics tested on the exam and mimic the AAMC question format
- Detailed rationales that explain both correct and incorrect answer options
- Vivid illustrations to aid in knowledge retention
- Flashcards that utilize spaced repetition (more on this in a moment)
- Performance tracking that identifies your strengths and weaknesses for more pointed study sessions
Daily practice with high-quality questions and detailed rationales is essential to MCAT success. When you practice in a Question Bank (QBank) that has the aforementioned features, you’ll be supremely confident and uniquely prepared for your exam.
Set an Aggressive Study Plan
An excellent MCAT score can be a significant differentiator for you when medical schools are considering your application, so these last three months of preparation are crucial.
With this in mind, be aggressive when you set up your three month MCAT study plan. If you’ve been studying 2 ½ hours a day, Monday–Friday, perhaps this is the time to increase your study sessions to 3 ½ hours a day, every day of the week. Or if you’ve been studying in the mornings, maybe this is the time to plan study sessions in the mornings and evenings.
Whatever plan you settle on, it’s important that you make it attainable. You don’t want to set up a study plan that you can’t possibly maintain. But at the same time, be aggressive in your planning and stretch yourself.
Think of these last three months as the final stretch of a long-distance race. This is the time to dig deep and give it everything you’ve got.
Make Use of Digital Flashcards With Spaced Repetition
Understanding that there are only 12 weeks left in your MCAT prep, efficiency is key in order to maximize your test prep. This is why innovative study methods such as flashcards spaced repetition is vital for your success on exam day.
Many students flip through print or digital flashcards at random. The problem with this random display of information is that it doesn’t put a priority on the most difficult information. You are spending the same amount of time reviewing easier content — the kind you already know — than you are the more difficult subjects and foundations.
Flashcards with spaced repetition show you difficult concepts more frequently until you master them, then these concepts are shown less frequently, but strategically, to promote long-term retention of concepts
Make Your Test Prep Priority #1
As a pre-med student, you have no doubt learned how to multitask. You know how to budget your time, giving all of your responsibilities equal priority. However, in these last three months of your MCAT prep, your study sessions need to be your number one priority.
You’ll need to shift your priorities and adjust your calendar so that your three-month MCAT study plan gets the majority of your focus.
This might mean you’ll have to talk to friends and family, explaining that you won’t have as much social time as you normally would for a little while. If you work a part-time job, perhaps you’ll have to cut back your hours or take a leave of absence.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have a life outside of your MCAT prep. You can’t study 24 hours a day, and you don’t want to burn yourself out by over studying. You’ll want to find a balance. Still, whatever your normal routine or schedule, plan to make adjustments so that your MCAT prep will be the priority in the months, weeks, and days leading up to your exam.
Are you a pre-med student preparing to take your MCAT®? Discover why UWorld is the industry leader in high-stakes medical exam preparation. Our 2,000+ MCAT-style questions, detailed rationales for all answer options, vivid illustrations, and unparalleled performance tracking will have you confident and prepared for success on exam day. Start your FREE trial today!