How to Study for the MCAT

Leslie Turnbull
Edited by Jessica Ayad
Published on
December 5, 2023


The MCAT, otherwise known as the Medical College Admission Test, is a 7.5-hour test that helps you get accepted into medical school. The MCAT is divided into four separate sections, with each section having a maximum score of 128 (meaning that the maximum you can make on the MCAT is 528). 

The MCAT is important because it tests an individual's knowledge in several science departments, including the following:

General Chemistry


Behavioural Science

Organic Chemistry


Biology (+ anatomy)

If medicine is something that interests you, then the MCAT is certainly going to be in your near future! Knowing how long the test is and the stress that comes with it, many students become overwhelmed with the pressure and hold off studying for it until the last minute. Luckily for you, I have a solution!


One of the most popular ways to study for the MCAT is to invest in workbooks that cover each subject that will be mentioned on the test. A highly recommended study set is the Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review, which includes separate, in-depth books with questions that mimic those on the exam.

Many people have resorted to using books similar to these, but some may decide against them if they are pressed for time or if they lack the finances to pay for them. If you are fortunate enough to have these books, though, the best way to study for the MCAT using these books is to follow the checklist below!

  • Have an adequate amount of time before taking the MCAT (at LEAST a couple of months)
  • Have time to sit down and study every day (anywhere from 1 to 4 hours)
  • Be willing to make this a self-teaching experience (unless studying with a group)


Unless you are 100% confident that you are going to make a perfect score on the MCAT,  you must be willing to admit that there is always room for improvement. According to “Varsity Tutors,” “If you are someone who values getting personalized feedback throughout your study sessions, then you may be interested in signing up for MCAT tutoring” (Varsity Tutors).

Tutoring is an amazing option if you are not the best at self-teaching and self-learning, especially in hard sciences. With a tutor, you are able to ask any questions you may have and receive a response that can and will help you gain knowledge. 

Similar to the books, tutoring can be costly, and it usually takes weeks (if not months) to find the perfect tutor for you. With this in mind, I still believe that tutoring is worth it; having someone there to guide and assist you can be exactly what someone needs to be pushed to success!


King of the Curve is a downloadable app, featured on iOS and Android, that helps prepare you for the MCAT. You are able to study anywhere, anytime just by looking at your phone! According to “Just Use App”, King of the Curve is the “perfect on-the-go study tool” that gives you the “necessary feedback/explanations” to make learning fun (Just Use App).

The only downside, similar to most of these, is the cost. Though the basics of King of the Curve are freely accessible, most of the more helpful tools, such as video content, reviews, quizzes, and the road map are locked behind a paywall. The only usable tools for free members are the endless mode, timed mode, and the question of the day. There are numerous subscriptions that you are able to pay for, such as “One Month,” “Three Months,” “Six Months,” “One Year,” or “Lifetime,” with each subscription costing more respectively. 

Nonetheless, If you are looking for something quick, easy, and repetitive, King of the Curve may be a great option!


The only way to get better at something is to rinse and repeat! Practicing something over and over again has been scientifically proven to increase precision and accuracy toward your personal goal. Taking practice tests for the MCAT is an amazing way to prepare yourself for the rigorous amount of critical thinking and focus that you are going to have to subject yourself to. 

The best part about this is that it’s (usually) free of charge! Most companies that prepare you for the MCAT, such as The Princeton Review, have online tests that are accessible to anyone. One of the best company sites to visit is, as mentioned earlier, The Princeton Review. Visiting their MCAT 515 Training Module has “shown to triple acceptance rates into US Medical Schools” with all of it being free!

There are really no downsides to taking practice tests. While most students decide not to pursue this method because they feel it is a waste of time and energy, that is simply not true! Utilizing full-length practice tests will not only help you with memory retention, it will also train and increase your mental stamina and stress endurance!

Find more free resources here!


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