Creating an MCAT study schedule is key in setting yourself up for success on test day. This blog includes an overview of important information to know before you start studying, a detailed three-month sample MCAT study schedule created by one of our professional MCAT consultants  broken down to help you organize your time effectively – and tips from our admissions experts who took the MCAT to help you overcome test day stress so you can perform your best!

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A Three-Month MCAT Study Schedule to Get Your Best Score More Sample MCAT Study Schedules MCAT Study Schedule: Questions About the MCAT Answered by Our Experts

A Three-Month MCAT Study Schedule to Get Your Best Score

We know that everyone has different life circumstances and approaches medical school applications differently based on those circumstances, so even though this sample MCAT study schedule is for three months, you can adjust it to however long you have before you have to take the test. For example, our own MCAT expert, Dr. Neel Mistry, who was admitted and graduated from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine created his MCAT study schedule “purely based on intuition and comfort with the different topics.”

But the other point behind this three-month sample MCAT study schedule is to save you time. Rather than pouring your time and energy into crafting a personalized schedule, you can use our template, which was created by our team of professional MCAT experts who are practicing medical doctors. Our admissions expert Dr. Monica Taneja, MD who graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine recommends this, as she used a template provided to her by a prep company, which “can be a good starting point rather than devoting time to create your own schedule”. Dr. Taneja ended up with a raw score of 516.

However much time you have, the key goal behind any MCAT study schedule is to give you as much time as you need to feel confident about taking the test. Just listen to how confident and ready one of our students, Addie, a BeMo student, feels after completing her MCAT study schedule: “I am finally understanding complex concepts related to genetics. I am feeling prepared for my upcoming test day soon.” 

“[My consultant] was very helpful and made me feel more confident. She helped provide useful advice to better guide my MCAT study schedule.” Mantej Padda, BeMo student


MCAT Study Schedule: Breaking Down our Three-Month Schedule

Three-Month MCAT Preparation


  • Take an MCAT diagnostic test on day 1. We recommend using one of the AAMC’s full-length practice tests to determine what content areas you most need to review.
  • Create your study plan. Once you’ve completed your diagnostic test, break up the content of the MCAT into subject matter and slot each one into your study plan week by week.
  • Gather your study materials, including textbooks, videos, notes, projects, and reading materials.


  • Start weekly content review. Starting from week 1, begin your content review with a new subject matter or set of chapters to review each week. For this first month, the focus should be on content review, keeping the 70/30 ratio.
  • Start your CARS strategy by reading books and texts that are unfamiliar to you or challenging to read. This will help develop your critical thinking and reasoning skills as well as improve your reading time. Aim for about 30 minutes of reading time a day, and perhaps two to three books a month.
  • Take a practice test. In week 3 or 4, take another full-length practice test to see where you’ve improved and which areas are still weak spots for you.
  • Start your mistakes log and note the questions you answered wrong. Create a pop quiz of these questions to review and test yourself with.


  • Continue your weekly content review, being sure to spend a bit more time on the subject matter you’re not as strong in.
  • Continue reading challenging texts for CARS and start practicing with CARS passages.
  • Take another practice exam. Try to include two or three full-length practice exams this month. As you near the end of month two, switch your studying to Phase 2 and emphasize practice tests over content review.


  • Take at least 2 more full-length practice exams. Your focus should be switched to 70% practice and 30% review for the final weeks before your exam date.
  • Review your strong content areas for a refresher. Continue with your practice questions for any subject matter areas that are still an issue.
  • Keep practicing with your CARS passages and final reading challenges.
  • During your final week, take some time to confirm the details of your test day and make sure you are well-rested!


  • Check your travel plans and make sure you’ll arrive with plenty of time before your exam. Check that you have your ID and any other materials you’ll need to bring with you.
  • Eat a good breakfast the day of your test.
  • Get plenty of rest!

More Sample MCAT Study Schedules

One-Week Sample MCAT Study Schedule


One-Month Sample MCAT Study Schedule


Six-Month Sample MCAT Study Schedule

MCAT Study Schedule: Questions About the MCAT Answered by Our Experts 

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?" before you even think about designing your study schedule. Utilize our blog "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. Then, review our solid MCAT CARS strategy to learn what to expect in your MCAT CARS section, perhaps the most challenging part of the exam. You can also consider taking a prep course with an established, reputable company, which both our MCAT experts did when they were preparing for the MCAT. Our expert Dr. Mistry says that the prep course he took “helped me to become familiar with the strategies needed to excel on the real exam.”

He was able to “study the content on my own but the strategies for passage-based questions is something I was able to learn from experts.” Our expert Dr. Taneja also engaged professional MCAT help and found that she “really enjoyed the in-person component.” But, similar to what we’re doing with this article, Dr. Taneja’s course “was most helpful, as it (the course) came with a structured study schedule.”

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

Keep in mind that while it is possible to get into medical school with a low MCAT score, it is better to focus on achieving a high score in your first attempt, rather than having to retake the MCAT or settle for an unsatisfactory score. Dr. Mistry scored in the 97th percentile, which “broadened the number of schools I could apply to” and because of that “increased my chances of admission to medical school.” You do not want the additional stress of worrying about how to offset your low MCAT with other application components. Plus, the higher the score, the more medical school options you will have.

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 content areas you need to improve! Again, do not feel any pressure to ace the practice test – your first practice test is just a diagnosis of what you need to include in your study schedule. 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, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine

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, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

  •     Choose your MCAT testing 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
  •     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. What is a good MCAT score?

Asking this question means you are focusing on an ineffective MCAT study strategy. Focusing on a “good” score that will just get you in is not advised. Our advice: aim for the best score that you can achieve – don't settle for a "good" score when you can strive for a great score. Maximize your medical school options by maximizing your score.

After taking the MCAT, set aside some time to research medical schools and determine the median MCAT scores for previous admissions cycles at your programs of interest. Or you can also do what our expert Dr. Taneja did, which was to “utilize the GPA and MCAT ranges to make sure my statistics were within the 25th-75th percentiles.” When designing your school list, include several programs where your MCAT score gives you a reasonable chance of acceptance.

5. 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.

Another metric is to continue to study as long as your scores continue to improve. If your MCAT score stabilizes, it is a good idea to take the exam, as long as that score range is acceptable to you. Do plan ahead and leave time within your university career to re-take the MCAT if needed. However, avoid letting the option of re-taking the MCAT distract you from making your best effort to prepare. The most successful applicants are those who set out to take the MCAT only once, whenever that may be.

As you study, take note of how you are scoring on full-length practice tests. When you consistently score in the 90th percentile or above, at least 3 times in a row, you can feel confident that you are ready for the real thing! Head over to our MCAT test dates and release dates blog to find out when you can register for the test.

6. What do I do if my MCAT score is not improving?

“Before working with Dr. Henry, I used to believe I was terrible at chemistry and physics. It felt like I had been cheated in my undergrad experience by not having a good professor to guide me through these challenging subjects. However, Dr. Henry has been a beacon of light in my academic journey. His teaching style and patient explanations have gradually turned my negative perception into a newfound appreciation for chemistry and physics. Studying for the MCAT, which used to be a daunting task, has become an enjoyable experience. Dr. Henry's guidance has not only improved my scores but has also instilled a sense of confidence.” - Sunny, BeMo student

If you’re following a specific MCAT study schedule and don’t see any major improvement in your scores, you should think about reworking your schedule or getting professional help. A professional MCAT advisor can help you figure out why you’re not improving, and suggest a different study method or schedule to focus your energy where you need to. Or, in Sunny’s case, a professional can also encourage you and help keep you focused on your end goal. 

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

“I studied for ~3 months, full-time... My advice for upcoming test takers is to pace yourself and take time out for your well-being while studying for the exam.” Dr. Neel Mistry, MD, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine.

“It was a long process! I spent most of one summer ~2 months studying non-stop. Just the mental game of staying focused and continuing to push forward was the hardest part.” Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

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. Our expert Dr. Taneja, MD, completed her MCAT study time in two months, full-time; Dr. Mistry was able to prepare in three months, so unless you’re truly a novice or you have six-months to prepare, you can also plan a two-three or even one-month study schedule.

If you are preparing for the MCAT in less than three months, you will need to dedicate more time each day for preparation. Content review may need to be reduced in favor of getting ample practice with sample questions and full-length practice tests. Or, you can do both, as Dr. Mistry found that “doing a combination of content review and passage questions was most helpful.” 

Use your practice to pinpoint weakness in specific content areas, then focus your content review in these areas so you are ensuring maximum improvement. Be honest with yourself in how much time each day you can set aside for MCAT preparation. Select an MCAT test date that will allow you to set yourself up for success.

“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, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine 

8. 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.

Remember, it is important that you only take the MCAT once you feel fully prepared.

“Practice tests really help in two ways: 1) it really helps to sit down for that length of time as you want to make sure you're able to maintain the stamina through the length of the exam, 2) the best way to practice is to see as many questions as possible so that when you get to exam day you're more likely to have seen the question before.” - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

9. Can I do the same MCAT practice sections more than once?

“It helps develop the mental stamina required to sit through a 7.5-hour test without letting it drastically affect your performance.” - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine on the added benefits of taking multiple MCAT practice tests.

Absolutely! You can definitely repeat practice passages or sample MCAT questions more than once as you study. Simply wait several weeks after doing them the first time, as this will give you enough time to come back to each practice section with fresh eyes.

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

“Watching YouTube videos and doing flashcards was a great way to learn the content and review the study material on days that I was not doing passage-based questions. This made studying fun and productive while ensuring my well-being.” - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine on his favorite active learning techniques.

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. Here are a few examples of active learning techniques: drawing multi-subject diagrams that incorporate many different colors, explaining concepts out loud as your draw or write, creating audio summaries at the end of a study session then listening to them later as you work out or commute to school.

When you review the practice sections you completed using active learning, it should take you at least twice as long to complete the review of the questions as it took to actually do them. Be sure to consider which active learning techniques will be suited to your particular learning style. Does this mean you should abandon more traditional study methods? Absolutely not; use active learning to break up your study schedule and engage with the content you are studying. If used correctly, active learning strategies can help you determine your level of understanding for recently reviewed concepts and highlight gaps in knowledge.

11. What is the best way to study a content area that has given you trouble in the past?

We all have our favorite subjects, as well as certain topics that we find particularly challenging. Maybe you struggled with physics early in your academic career and now you are feeling nervous about facing this section of the MCAT, which is exactly what happened in Dr. Taneja’s case. “My weakest section was physics,” says Dr. Taneja. So, what did Dr. Taneja do?

"The MCAT strategy that worked for me was knowing what I was up against (question-subject-breakdown) and focusing on what I could realistically review in the time that I had." – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Look at your MCAT preparation as an opportunity to demonstrate how far you have come since first encountering this subject. It is likely that several years have passed since you took your introductory courses. You are a different and more advanced student now. You have a better understanding of your learning style and what study techniques are effective for you – use this to your advantage!

Rather than shying away from a subject area that you may have had trouble with in the past, use your MCAT preparation to look at those subjects with a fresh eye and conquer the challenges these subjects presented. You cannot obviously, “relearn physics” to use Dr. Taneja’s words, but you can, according to her, “focus on refining your strongest points, review topics you had grasped previously, and focus on high yield for the items you don’t know.”

12. I am only having trouble with one MCAT section and I am doing well on the rest of the sections. Does that matter?

Medical schools can interpret your score however they like. Some may put an emphasis on one section over the others, for example, CARS. If this is the case with the schools you’re applying to make sure to include appropriate prep:

“CARS is a difficult section to predict. You can do your best to learn strategies but at the end of the day how you do on exam day will really depend on the difficulty of the passages for that day. I had CARS days where I did very well and where I did very poorly. Learning the best strategies and moving quickly as it can often be a section where you are pressed for time will help you do well.” Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

However, even if your school values CARS or other sections more, generally, a balanced score is better than an imbalanced score. Therefore, aim to do equally well in every section rather than performing well in two or three sections and poorly on the other sections. Why? Consistency across every section shows your ability to critically think and reason in many different areas and with different types of information, which is a valuable consideration for medical schools.

13. 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. 

“Designing a schedule that works, while balancing non-academic commitments with MCAT studying was most challenging.” - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine

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

“I knew from the get go that I wanted to take the MCAT in the summer. For me, this was the right time as I did not want to juggle MCAT studying with school work. I set aside two months which was the duration of the course I was taking, and scheduled my exam a few days after the course was scheduled to end.” - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine 

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.

With about a month to go until your scheduled MCAT, it is important to evaluate your progress. Are you improving in content knowledge and in your scores on full-length practice tests? If you continue to improve at your current rate, will you hit your target score in time? Remember, it is normal to feel nervous as test day approaches. You may never feel “ready,” but hopefully you can rest easier thinking about the extensive time you have put into MCAT preparation.

That being said, it is important that you feel confident going into the MCAT and that you only take it if you feel ready. If you have major concerns, take one additional week to study, then complete another full-length practice test. Now that you have one more score to consider, you should have enough information to make a sound decision. If at that point you truly feel unprepared, postponing your exam can give you additional time to study and improve, increasing your confidence and chances of achieving a competitive MCAT score.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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