MCAT Re-booted: Study Schedule
January 28, 2013
In part one of “MCAT Re-booted” I want to cover what is going to make the ideal MCAT study schedule. The AAMC recommends on average 300 total hours to study for the MCAT. They also have a “Creating a Study Plan” listed on their web-page. With all of this information out there and the rumors that run rampant in the pre-med community on “secrets” of MCAT studying, where does a student go to get the real answer? Well right here of course!
Now how long is 300 hours in reality? You could easily break that into 10 weeks or approximately 2 ½ months of 30 hours of studying a week. I know what you must being thinking… 30 hours a week?! I already have class, research, clubs, activities, and that long lost social life! How can I possibly fit 30 hours into a week? Well simply put, you can’t and you aren’t expected to. The majority of students start studying well beyond the 2 ½ month mark. On average students need to think about breaking that time up into somewhere between 3-6 months, depending on their schedule, how many of the pre-med required courses they have already taken, and their confidence in the material.
After getting a rough idea on when to get started, where do we start? Many students have come to me after getting their Kaplan MCAT materials and feel overwhelmed. Don’t fret! You now have the best material for the MCAT and over 11,000 questions to aid in testing your comprehension of all things MCAT. What you need to do first is establish how much time you have during the week and create “study blocks”.
- First you need to account for the things that take up time in your week. For example:
- Personal obligations
- Professional obligations (school, work, Kaplan class, research etc.)
- Extracurricular (volunteering, clubs, shadowing)
- Social time with friends and family
- 1 day/ evening off/ week
Now after you have successfully jotted this down in a notebook or added to your online calendar you will get a better idea of how much time you truly have to study during the week. With the time left (ideally around 10 -15 hours) we are going to create 2-3 hour “study blocks”. This is going to be the time you are going to use to start tackling all those great Kaplan resources. Many people ask, “Only 2-3 hours?! I can study longer than that!” You are right you probably can, however, your assignment this week is to write down your weekly calendar, and in my next post I will answer why only 2-3 hours and what goes into a successful “study block.” Stay tuned! More #MCATdomination coming at you!
I am a former Kaplan MCAT student that excelled on my exam through the Kaplan methods and began teaching for Kaplan at the University of Illinois – Urbana – Champaign center. Upon graduation I moved back to the Chicagoland area and became a full time teacher in our Chicago centers. I really strive to bring enthusiasm and energy to the classroom believing a positive attitude sets the tone for success! When I am not teaching the MCAT, you can find me training for triathlons or picking which bow tie to wear next!