Creating an MCAT study schedule is key in setting yourself up for success on test day. In this blog I'll include an overview of important information to know before you start studying, a detailed sample of my MCAT study schedule, broken down to help you organize your time effectively – and my tips to help you overcome test day stress so you can perform your best!

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Article Contents
3 min read

Why Do You Need an MCAT Study Schedule? How Long Did I Study for the MCAT? My MCAT Study Schedule FAQs

Why Do You Need an MCAT Study Schedule?

It is important to have a solid MCAT study plan for two reasons. A study plan keeps you focused and targeted and lastly, a study plan helps to track efficiency and progress. Being focused is important for goal setting and goal achieving. In order to assess if your plan is working, it is important to remain on schedule to track your progress.

I found the study plan to be most helpful in accomplishing the two aforementioned benefits. The most beneficial being assessing the validity and efficiency of my study schedule and plan. It was vitally important for me to assess my practice test results and make the necessary adjustment based on my subsequent performance. 


Use my MCAT Study Schedule Template to create your own study plan and track your progress!


How Long Did I Study for the MCAT?

I studied for 3 months of full-time study during the summer to prepare for the MCAT.

When deciding how long to study for the MCAT and when to start studying for the MCAT, it was highly recommended by professionals to choose a 3-month or 6-month study plan. A 3-month plan was preferential for full-time study, meaning 5-6 days per week and at least 2 hours per day. The 6-month study plan was recommended for one who could only commit 3-4 days per week and 2 hours per day.

I found that the full-time 3-month study plan worked well for me and I found that it was enough time for the material to stay fresh. The risk for longer study plans is the forgetting of material. In addition, I found that studying during the summer months worked well as this was the optimal time-block for me that I could commit mainly everyday studying that did not compete with my work and family schedules.

What material did I use for the MCAT?

  1. I used All of the AAMC Exam Prep Material including Section Bank, Question Bank, and 4 Practice Exams
  2. In addition, I used three practice exams including a diagnostic exam from a third-party MCAT prep company (Kaplan)
  3. In addition, I utilized Kaplan books for content review and the 300-page Psych/Soc document from Khan Academy for the MCAT psychology section.

I chose these resources because at the time they were simply highly recommended by my peers. I found that this allowed me to ask directly how to better make use of these resources. It was also important that I used resources from an experienced and reputable source. I found these resources particularly helpful in the fact that they provided replicable MCAT content. If I had to take the test now, I would use these same resources in addition to BeMo MCAT prep for content review. I think the content review with a specialist at BeMo would have helped me understand test taking strategies for efficiency during test day.

When choosing study groups versus MCAT self-prep, I much preferred to study alone simply because this method was the best way that I could maintain a flexible study schedule. There were times that I needed to study late at night or early in the morning and using study partners and groups would have limited my study times. I would recommend using a hybrid approach, however. I think there are benefits to studying alone and also amongst a group. Incorporating both will likely be optimal. Group study will allow one to understand different perspectives and strategies for test taking and self-study will allow for maximum flexibility.

My MCAT Study Schedule

Sample MCAT Study Schedule


1. What are the best resources to help me create my MCAT study schedule?

Start by completing the AAMC’s required reading The MCAT Essentials, to learn about testing logistics and other important information. Then, review BeMo’s "How hard is the MCAT?" and "How long is the MCAT?" to understand the MCAT format, how much time you have for each section, foundational concepts covered, and key skills tested on the MCAT.

Here are some other resources you can use as you plan your MCAT study schedule:

  1. AAMC Planning and Study Resources
  2. AAMC practice materials
  3. BeMo's Ultimate Guide to MCAT CARS
2. How do I start creating my MCAT study schedule?

Your first step must be to take an MCAT diagnostic test. You cannot skip this step, as it will allow you to learn which MCAT subjects you need to improve! Once you know your results, you can create an appropriate study plan to cover each of the four MCAT sections.

“My main advice is ensuring you study all the sections regularly, with an emphasis on the section you are weakest in. It is also important to take time off in the week to ensure you are not burned out as studying for the MCAT can be mentally exhausting.” - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

3. What should my MCAT study schedule include?

“Ensuring you treat this as a full-time job, putting in adequate work and practice, while taking time off when needed, are my best strategies and study habits to excel on the MCAT.” - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

  •     Choose your MCAT test date
  •     Decide how many hours per week you can dedicate to study and create your timeline
  •     Draw up a calendar and write down all your commitments outside of MCAT study
  •     Not sure how to study for the MCAT? Split your study schedule into Phase 1 (70% content review) and Phase 2 (70% practice passages and full-length tests)
  •     Create your Phase 1 schedule and write down what content you will study each day
  •     Create your Phase 2 schedule and note when you will take practice tests.
4. When should I take the MCAT?

The simple answer is that you should take the MCAT when you feel 100% ready to do so. How can you gauge if you are ready? Aim to consistently score in the 90th percentile or above on each section type during your last several MCAT practice tests, for a total MCAT score of at least 514.

5. What if I do not have 3 months to devote to MCAT preparation?

The best plan is to take several months to devote specifically to MCAT preparation; however, a six-month, or even three-month study schedule may not be possible, or needed in your situation. If you are preparing for the MCAT in less than three months, you will need to dedicate more time each day for preparation.

6. How many full-length practice exams should I complete before taking the MCAT?

It is essential to take a diagnostic full-length practice test in the first week of your MCAT preparation to determine an accurate baseline prior to studying. From there, after completing several weeks of content-heavy studying, take several full-length practice tests and review the questions and content you missed or found challenging. If you apply this strategy, completing 8-10 full-length practice test should provide sufficient MCAT practice.

7. How can active learning make my MCAT prep more effective?

Active learning reinforces information while engaging several of your senses at once, rather than simply reading words in a textbook or staring at the same deck of flashcards over and over again; these are examples of passive study strategies – you may be able to convince yourself that you get it, but do you truly understand it and can you apply your knowledge? Active learning ensures that your brain stays engaged in learning, which allows you to study effectively. Plus, active learning helps you prepare for the most challenging aspect of the MCAT – applying your knowledge to the unique passage-based test format.

8. Can I change my MCAT study schedule?

Yes, of course. You can change your schedule if you feel more comfortable with a specific section and want to dedicate more time to another. Your schedule can also change for any unexpected reason (family emergency) so don’t be afraid to prioritize other responsibilities over your MCAT schedule. 

9. I don't feel ready. Should I postpone my MCAT?

This depends on your individual circumstances and timing of the current application cycle. Keep in mind the rolling admissions process and that postponing your MCAT may mean that you will be applying later in this year’s application cycle.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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