Full Practice MCATs! How many? How often?
- Jun 18, 2013
- MCAT Blog, MCAT Info, MCAT Long Form, MCAT Prep, MCAT Retake
How should you use practice MCATs?
MCAT students know that the best way to get ready for Test Day is to take practice tests. You want to hone your skills until the real exam “feels just like another practice test”.
However, you can definitely get too much of a good thing!
You don’t actually raise your score by taking a practice test. You raise your score by analyzing a practice test after you’ve taken it, by studying additional content based on your test results, and by fine-tuning your strategy after each exam.
That means that you should be spacing your tests out to once a week. There’s a lot of nonsense out there with people making outlandish claims about taking three, four (or even five!) tests a week in some sort of super-cramming two week period, and then rocking the real MCAT. Don’t buy it! It’s the standard braggadocio nonsense you read on chat boards.
Instead, your plan should be to take a full day to review and analyze each practice MCAT you take. Go over every single question, whether you got it right or wrong. Figure out why you got it right, and how you’ll do that again. Figure out why you got it wrong, and how you’ll avoid that mistake next time.
Then spend the next four days studying content from your books, doing practice problems online, or doing timed sections.
Once you feel like you’ve gotten enough practice in to really hone your skills and actually improve your performance, then take another test.
All in all, you should work your way through all 8 of the full practice MCATs offered by the AAMC and do them once a week. That means, at a minimum, you should expect to spend 2 months prepping for your MCATs. Of course, many students spend quite a bit more than that, but those 2 months should be a minimum.
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