How to Study for the MCAT While in School

How to Study for the MCAT While in School

Preparing for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) can be a challenging task, especially when you are also juggling your regular coursework and extracurricular activities. However, with effective planning and time management, it is possible to study for the MCAT while still attending school. Here are some tips to help you balance your studies and excel in both areas:

1. Develop a study schedule: Create a detailed study schedule that includes dedicated time for MCAT preparation. Consider your school timetable, extracurricular commitments, and personal obligations to determine the most suitable time slots for studying. Allocate specific blocks of time throughout the week to focus solely on MCAT-related content.

2. Prioritize your coursework: While studying for the MCAT, it’s crucial not to neglect your regular coursework. Stay on top of your assignments and readings to avoid falling behind. Make sure to attend classes and actively engage in discussions. By staying organized and managing your time effectively, you can strike a balance between your MCAT preparation and school responsibilities.

3. Utilize your breaks and free time: Make the most of your breaks and free time by incorporating MCAT study materials into your routine. Carry flashcards or practice questions with you to review during short breaks between classes or while commuting. Utilizing these small pockets of time effectively can help you maximize your overall study hours.

4. Seek support from classmates: Connect with classmates who are also preparing for the MCAT. Forming study groups or finding a study partner can be beneficial, as you can discuss difficult concepts, quiz each other, and hold each other accountable. Collaborating with others can make studying more engaging and help you gain different perspectives on complex topics.

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5. Take advantage of online resources: Online resources such as practice tests, video tutorials, and study guides can be incredibly helpful for self-study while in school. Many websites offer free or affordable MCAT study materials that you can access at any time. Utilize these resources to reinforce your understanding of key concepts and identify areas that require more focus.

6. Practice time management: Efficient time management is crucial when studying for the MCAT while in school. Prioritize your tasks and allocate specific time slots for different subjects or sections of the MCAT. Set realistic goals for each study session and monitor your progress. By adhering to a structured study plan, you can make the most of your available time.


1. How much time should I dedicate to MCAT preparation while in school?
The amount of time you should allocate for MCAT preparation will depend on your school workload and personal commitments. Aim to dedicate a minimum of 10-15 hours per week to MCAT study, but adjust the number based on your individual circumstances.

2. How can I balance MCAT preparation and school assignments effectively?
To balance MCAT preparation and school assignments, create a study schedule that includes blocks of time dedicated to both. Prioritize your coursework and allocate specific time slots for MCAT study. Stay organized, utilize your breaks, and seek support from classmates to manage your responsibilities effectively.

3. Should I take a break from extracurricular activities while studying for the MCAT?
It is not necessary to completely give up your extracurricular activities while studying for the MCAT. However, consider reducing your commitments or adjusting your involvement to create more time for studying. Find a balance that allows you to pursue your interests while still dedicating sufficient time to MCAT preparation.

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4. Are there any specific study materials or resources you recommend for MCAT preparation?
There are various study materials available for MCAT preparation, and the best resources may vary depending on your learning style and preferences. Popular choices include official AAMC practice materials, review books like Kaplan or The Princeton Review, online video tutorials such as Khan Academy, and flashcards like Anki. Experiment with different resources to find what works best for you.

5. How can I manage stress while studying for the MCAT and attending school?
Managing stress is crucial when balancing MCAT preparation and school. Make sure to prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep. Take regular breaks, practice relaxation techniques, and seek support from friends, family, or counselors when needed. Remember to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout.