Popularly known as the MCAT, the Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based standardized test for medical students in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean Islands, and Australia. If you’re planning on attending medical school shortly, it’s vital to complete this test.
The test assesses your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. It also measures your knowledge of social, behavioral, and natural science concepts. These skills have been identified as key prerequisites for success in medical schools.
The MCAT will require a lot of test prep, and the first step is gathering the resources you need to be successful.
You’ll need to register for the test sometime before you plan to take it. To register, create an online account with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which develops and administers the test.
Once you’ve created an account, you can access it online and click “Start Exam Registration.” Be sure to provide all your personal information and contact details. Your information should be as it appears on your government-issued ID, which you will need to have when taking the test.
You can then schedule the exam once you have completed filling the online forms. Be sure to look up the MCAT registration and test dates well in advance. Knowing when you’re taking the test will help you determine your study plan. Remember, you can change your test and center up to 15 days before your scheduled date.
Test Prep Books
There are different high-quality test prep books that you can use during your test prep. Some of these books include MCAT Self-Study Toolkit, MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject, MCAT 528 Advanced Prep, and MCAT Flashcards. These books are available online for you to buy.
When comparing the different books, be sure to opt for a book that includes:
- Information about the MCAT and each section
- Study tips
- Online resources, such as flashcards and tests
- Practice tests based on old exams
- Thorough answer keys with explanations
Adequate preparation for the MCAT includes taking a few complete practice tests. A practice test offers the best way to see where you stand and what you know. The tests usually provide the same look, feel, length, and functionality as the actual exam.
You can take the practice tests online and get instant scores. If you’re not ready for the full practice test, some tests are as short as 20 minutes that you can take online.
Taking the practice tests lets you identify your weaknesses and strengths, allowing you to address your mistakes before the actual exam. Plus, it helps you design your study plan to focus on areas you haven’t grasped well.
There’s plenty of free sources available online that you can use during preparation. If you’re working with a test prep center, they also may have resources, such as:
- Webinars- Some centers host online webinars for students to engage teachers and other experts.
- Videos- You’ll also find online videos that offer ample guidance and tips on taking and acing your MCAT. A simple YouTube search yields plenty of helpful MCAT videos.
- Flashcards- For effective memorization, you can also create flashcards or use those provided by test prep centers to learn as much as possible about the MCAT.
- Tips From Past Test-Takers- You can also learn plenty from those who have already taken the tests. Such people provide actionable advice based on their experiences. If you know anyone who has completed the MCAT, they make a great resource during your preparation.
Tutors and Study Groups
Tutors and study groups can give you a competitive edge. They can help you focus specifically on your individual needs to help increase your score before test day. Whether you join a physical or online study group, you’re sure to learn a lot and cover more topics during your sessions.
You can also get a tutor for one-on-one sessions. This option delivers a personalized experience, allowing you to receive immediate responses to your questions and clarify areas you don’t understand well.
Get Ready for Your MCAT!
Taking the MCAT is an integral part of your medical school application. Your MCAT scores are among the many considerations that schools take into account when reviewing potential students. So, be sure to take ample time to prepare for the test to get excellent scores!