AAMC MCAT Resources 2020 Update: Everything You Need to Know

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • When it comes to study materials for the MCAT, practice questions are some of the most invaluable resources that can help you test your knowledge while honing your critical thinking skills. Though there are several good third-party MCAT resources out there that can supply you with loads of passage-based questions and full-length exams, none rival those created by the MCAT-developer itself, the AAMC.

    Ask anyone who’s taken the MCAT, and they’ll tell you that using the AAMC materials is practically non-negotiable. These precious practice questions are the closest you can get to the real thing in terms of content, difficulty, and style. That’s why when the AAMC announces brand new MCAT resources becoming available in October 2020, it’s a pretty big deal.

    Here is everything you need to know about the AAMC’s October 2020 rollout:


    1. A first-of-its-kind CARS Diagnostic Tool will be released

    It is no secret that the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, or CARS, section of the MCAT is commonly the most-dreaded for students. As the sole MCAT section that requires no background knowledge of scientific principles or concepts, CARS often leaves students stumped when it comes to finding ways to prepare: how do you study for a section that presents new questions every time?

    Contrary to popular belief, as all MST tutors will tell you, you can study for CARS by doing lots of practice, refining your reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, and identifying your strengths and weaknesses.

    Luckily for future MCAT students, the new AAMC CARS Diagnostic Tool will help you do just that. With video tutorials walking you through two CARS passage sets and an enhanced score report that highlights the specific skills involved in each question, the CARS Diagnostic Tool will be an essential resource for students aiming to excel in this important MCAT section.

    2. Nearly 170 new passage-based CARS questions with comprehensive solutions

    Packaged along with the CARS diagnostic tool are 28 new passages with 169 associated questions, which amounts to a 70% increase in the number of standalone AAMC-developed CARS practice available to students.

    For CARS especially, content created by the AAMC itself is the best practice material you can get your hands on. These questions are formulated and written in a particular style that is difficult to emulate by third-party resources.

    These new CARS questions and the Diagnostic Tool will be available for free to the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program recipients.

    3. The AAMC MCAT Sample Test will become free

    Full-length practice exams are invaluable in gearing up for test day.  Though the AAMC Official Practice Exam does not provide test-takers with a scaled score upon completion, it is virtually identical to any other full-length, 230-question MCAT exam in its makeup. Although the Sample Test has historically only been available to students for a cost of $25, it will be made free beginning in October 2020!

    Given the near-essential nature of AAMC practice materials, this is a good step towards removing financial barriers from students striving for success on their MCAT.

    4. An Enhanced Free MCAT Study Plan Guide

    Figuring out where, when, and how to start studying for the MCAT can be daunting. One of the most underrated aspects of MCAT preparation is the unflattering work of building a realistic but comprehensive study schedule that covers all the content covered on the exam. Studying for the MCAT is a marathon, not a sprint, and a good study plan can help keep you organized and accountable.

    Part of the AAMC’s new MCAT resource rollout is an enhanced, online version of their free MCAT Study Plan Guide. Use this guide to help you get started on your MCAT journey and get acquainted with what a typical study schedule looks like.

    For more inspiration, you can check out MST’s MCAT study schedule, made with input from our very own MCAT experts.