Getting Started on the MCAT?
The MCAT is a huge and daunting topic. Companies put out multi-thousand-page sets of books just dealing with it.
Faced with that kind of obstacle, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed right away.
Fear not! Getting started is a simple matter of following three basic steps:
1. Buy the official guide to the MCAT. Read it all the way through (it’s really boring, but just push through it), solve the questions in it, and then skim through a second time to make sure you’ve got the fundamentals down.
2. Take a practice test. The AAMC is kind enough to offer a full free practice test so that you can see where you’re starting. The key here is to take the test online, under timed conditions. Simulate the real exam as much as possible. Don’t worry if you totally bomb it – the point here is not to do amazing, it’s just to see where your strengths and weaknesses are.
3. Check out the lists of topics that are on the test: physical sciences, biological sciences, verbal reasoning. These documents can be pretty intimidating, but your goal here is not to skim through them and master them, but rather to get a sense of what’s actually on the MCAT.
Once you’ve done those three things, you’ll know more about the MCAT than 90% of pre-med students out there.
Your next step is to decide how to prepare. Some students choose to go it alone and others choose a classroom course, but the gold standard for education – in literally any subject – has always been one-on-one tutoring. Most of the big companies will offer some sort of tutoring packages, but your best bet is to go with a company that specializes solely in one-on-one tutoring.