What should your MCAT study schedule look like?

If you are planning on studying for more than 90 days for the MCAT, then, before reading this article, you should read the article on why you should limit your study to 90 days. With that in mind, what is the optimal time to study each day and each week?

The key is to study smart. That means have a good plan and stick to it.

Let’s start by assuming you are going to take a prep class or, at least, use a study tool. I advise that you choose one comprehensive study tool, Examkrackers KrackU. If you prefer to attend a class, rather than watch the recorded videos, then use both, but your score will suffer if you try to go it alone.

So, let’s assume four classes per week for 11 weeks (77 days) with a full week break somewhere in the middle of those 77 days and 6 days at the end of your study schedule to mentally and emotionally prepare.

You need one day off each week. One day off is part of studying smart. It will improve your score. Taking a day off allows you to take a breath and push that much harder on the days that you don’t take off (see sample schedule).

You should read each chapter 3 times. The first read should be done like you read a novel. Don’t take notes; don’t highlight; just enjoy what you read. The first read will take you something less than an hour.

After your first reading take at least an hour to relax. A day is even better. You need to be fresh when you study. Also, keep in mind that scientific research shows that you learn best when you sleep after learning.

Your second read is a slow methodical study. Take notes, highlight, answer simple content questions, and look up any thing that you don’t understand. This will take 2 to 3 hours per chapter.

Now you need to watch the video lectures. The video lecture will give you a fresh perspective on the content. Seeing the same material from a different point of view, forces you to understand it on a deeper level, helping you to remember it. Watching all the lectures in a chapter should take you about one hour. You have now invested 4 to 5 hours on one chapter.

Now you are ready to take an exam in the MCAT format (30 minutes) and review it for 30 minutes.

At last, you do your third and final read. This is fairly quick (less than one hour) because you are an expert on this content by now.

You have devoted 7-8 hours on this one chapter. There are four chapters each week, so you spend 28 to 32 hours each week studying content.

In addition to this, every other week, you should take a full length MCAT exam and review it thoroughly. This will require about 12 hours every two weeks.

(This schedule) requires about 34 to 38 hours per week. In reality, if you come to the MCAT with your prerequisites under your belt, if you take your breaks when you are supposed to, if you study smart, and if you remain consistent in your habits, you will probably need only about 50-75% of this time.

Plan your work and work your plan for not more than 90 days (with a one week break and a final week for mental and emotional preparation), and you will crush the MCAT.

If you have read this article carefully, you probably realize that my advice is no-nonsense, practical advice that will work. I am not an expert at anything except preparing students to take the MCAT. And I do this very well. You should not mix my advice with the advice of others. Instead, you should do exactly what I have written here.

Good Luck,

Jon Orsay



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