How to Study for the MCAT in Less Time | 2024 Timetable, Schedules

How to Study for the MCAT in Less Time
How to Study for the MCAT in Less Time

Studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), of course, is a challenging task when you know that time is insufficient. This is where having tips on how to study for the MCAT in less time becomes valuable for you.

The MCAT is a standard exam that evaluates students who desire to pursue a medical degree on their knowledge of scientific concepts, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking abilities. With much content to cover in a short time, studying for the exam can feel exhausting.

Additionally, it becomes pretty challenging to prioritize and allocate enough time for studying for this crucial exam scheduled for a specific time.

Nevertheless, Through applying these guidelines, the time spent studying will become more productive and your chances for success will grow in less time than you ever thought possible.

This article will describe some strategies and techniques that can help you use your study time productively in the best way and show you how to achieve your goals on the MCAT.

What is MCAT?

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized exam that aspiring medical students must take to gain admission into medical schools. The MCAT assesses an individual’s knowledge and skills in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and critical thinking. It is a comprehensive test that covers a wide range of topics relevant to medical education.

The MCAT exam consists of four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.

Each section evaluates different aspects necessary for success in medical school. The exam is typically taken by students who have completed or are close to completing their undergraduate studies.

Preparing for the MCAT exam requires significant time and effort.

What is the MCAT made of?

The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT for short, is a standardized test that applicants to medical schools in the United States and some other nations must pass to be considered for admission. It evaluates a student’s expertise in various subjects related to medical education. There are four primary sections of the MCAT’s content:

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: This section tests knowledge and comprehension of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physics. 

Atomic and molecular structure, chemical processes, thermodynamics, fluids, forces, and electricity are some subjects it covers.

This section evaluates your ability to think critically, analyze information, and evaluate arguments. It includes quotes from various academic fields, including the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. 

Understanding the key concepts, claims, and logical reasoning made in the passages is the emphasis of the questions in this part.

Types of questions are on the MCAT

CategoryNumber of QuestionsPercentage of the MCAT*
General Chemistry2112%
Organic Chemistry127%

Why Study for the MCAT Exam?

Effective MCAT prep is essential for several reasons. First, the MCAT evaluates a candidate’s familiarity with and comprehension of fundamental scientific ideas and their capacity for critical thought and problem-solving. 

Therefore, demonstrating skill in these areas requires careful and comprehensive preparation. Students who effectively prepare for the MCAT can cover all required material and create winning test-taking techniques, which increases their chances of success.

Second, the MCAT is a time-constrained exam that necessitates effective time management and the capacity to provide precise and rapid answers. Better performance on test day results from adequate preparation, which enables students to become comfortable with the MCAT format and increases their speed and accuracy when answering questions.

Additionally, a competitive MCAT score strongly impacts a student’s likelihood of admission to medical school

Admissions committees frequently consider MCAT results and other application details like GPA and extracurricular activity. 

A high MCAT score can improve a candidate’s overall application and raise their chances of getting into the medical school of their choice.

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Difficulties of MCAT Preparation in a Short Period: 

Preparing for the MCAT in a short period has many problems. Time restrictions may limit the quantity of material that students can cover, thereby leaving knowledge gaps. 

The MCAT includes many topics, including biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. Thus, it demands much preparation. Due to time constraints, students could find it challenging to comprehend complicated ideas completely or to practice using them in MCAT-style problems.

Furthermore, the MCAT necessitates devotion and dedication, frequently necessitating months of concentrated preparation. Due to the pressure to cover so much content in a short time, students may feel more stressed and under pressure. This additional pressure may harm their ability to remember knowledge and perform well on exams.

When time is limited, juggling MCAT study with other commitments like academics, part-time jobs, or family obligations becomes more difficult. Insufficient time for thorough study might make it more difficult for students to get the desired grade and raise their exam anxiety.

How Do I Study for MCAT Practice Test?

To study for the MCAT test, follow the steps below:

Taking a Diagnostic MCAT Practice Test: 

A diagnostic practice test is one of the first steps in preparing for the MCAT. A diagnostic exam offers a baseline evaluation of your present skills and knowledge in the areas the MCAT covers. Many test preparation businesses provide diagnostic tests that may be taken for free or money and closely mimic the MCAT.

A diagnostic practice exam can give you a feel for the MCAT’s format, organization, and scheduling. It helps you become accustomed to the kinds of questions and expected difficulty levels.

The diagnostic exam results will give you insightful information about your strengths and shortcomings, allowing you to adjust your study strategy accordingly.

Determining Your Strengths and Shortcomings: 

After finishing the diagnostic practice test, it’s essential to thoroughly evaluate your performance to determine your strengths and shortcomings. Look over your test findings, paying special attention to your strengths and weaknesses.

You can use your strengths during the study process by recognizing them. These subjects may need less concentration, allowing you to focus more on strengthening your weakest areas. Recognizing your deficiencies, on the other hand, will enable you to organize your efforts and devote more study time to those particular areas.

Think about your question-solving abilities as well as your content-based strengths and weaknesses. 

Do you perform better in biology but poorly in physics? Do you find it challenging to evaluate and analyze data? By identifying these areas, you can develop a focused study plan to address your weaknesses and build on your strengths.

Setting Realistic Score Goals

A crucial component of MCAT preparation is setting realistic score goals. These goals must align with the minimum and maximum score ranges demanded by the medical schools you are interested in.

Find out the typical MCAT scores of students accepted to your top medical schools. This will serve as a guide for what is deemed to be competitive. While aiming for a high grade is commendable, it’s equally crucial to create feasible goals given your study schedule and environmental conditions.

Consider your diagnostic test findings, the amount of preparation time you have, and your current level of expertise. Be honest about how much time and work it will take to get the desired result. Setting realistic goals will support your motivation and focus as you study for the MCAT.

Remember that the MCAT is a difficult test and that improvement takes time. Be kind to yourself and understand that ongoing work and focused study will eventually result in improvement. Based on your ongoing evaluations and performance on practice examinations, modify your goals as necessary.

You can create a well-informed study plan that increases your chances of passing the MCAT by evaluating your present knowledge and skills using a diagnostic practice test, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and setting achievable score targets.

Making a Successful Study Plan

This includes:

Establishing a Study Schedule:

Calculating Your Available Study Time: Determine how much time you have to prepare for the MCAT. Consider your other obligations, such as those related to your job, education, or personal matters. Be honest about how many weeks or months you can commit to intense study.

When you know the total amount of study time available, divide it wisely among the MCAT’s subject areas. Some key subjects are biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. Spend additional time studying the subjects where you found shortcomings during the diagnostic test, but give each subject enough time.

Planning Your Study Time:

Establishing a Daily Study Regimen: Develop a reliable daily study regimen. Find out when in the day you are most productive and focused. Divide your study time into small periods, such as those lasting 1-2 hours, and take brief breaks in between to keep your focus.

High-Yield Topic Prioritization: List the high-yield topics commonly occurring on the MCAT in your study calendar.

Since these subjects are typically more likely to be tested, giving them more time guarantees that you adequately cover the most important material. The weighting of the various subjects on the MCAT should also be considered, and study time should be allocated accordingly.

Including Review Sessions and Practice Exams:

Regular Practice Test Session Introduction:

Regular practice exams can help you track your progress while simulating the exam experience. Plan comprehensive practice exams at key points during your preparation. Try taking practice exams in a timed environment to increase your endurance and sharpen your time management abilities.

Examining Test Results: After finishing practice exams, carefully evaluate your performance and review your responses. Determine your error patterns and your development opportunities. Concentrate on comprehending the logic behind the correct answers, and take note of your mistakes. Adjust your study strategy to reinforce topics that need more review and target weak regions.

Use resources like MCAT question banks, review books, and online study materials to improve your subject knowledge and offer more practice chances.

Remember to review your study strategy and make any necessary adjustments occasionally. Be adaptable and flexible as you advance and as your demands change. Review and update your study plan frequently to ensure you stay on track and utilize your study time as effectively as possible.

You can make an efficient study plan that covers all content areas, targets weak areas, and enables continual development in your MCAT preparation by creating a study timetable, a schedule, including mock exams, and holding review sessions.

Acquainting Yourself with the MCAT’s Format and Structure: 

You must become familiar with the test’s format and organization to ace the MCAT. Recognize the various subsections, question categories, and time allotments for every subsection. Review sample questions and practice sections to get accustomed to the subject matter and question formats on the MCAT.

Practicing time management during practice exams: 

The MCAT requires excellent time management skills. Make an effort to thoughtfully allot time for each question or paragraph during practice exams. Check the time frequently and change your pace as necessary. Consider making an educated estimate and moving on if you are devoting too much time to a difficult question to save time that could be better used on other questions.

Templates for MCAT Study Schedules

Making your MCAT study regimen according to a template can be beneficial. A template can help you organize your study topics into groups and show whether the schedule is doable and feasible. 

MCAT Study Plan for One Month

The MCAT is substantially more challenging than other mandatory medical school entry examinations

Given that you would need to work full-time to complete your required hours, a one-month study schedule for the MCAT is quite ambitious. For most kids, there are better options than this.

Do you have 30 days to prepare for the MCAT? If you have aced all of your previous MCAT practice exams, have the time to study 8–10 hours per day, and have read all of the prep materials, you might be able to finish the MCAT preparation process in 30 days.

Use this as a general guide to how much you should learn in a month:

Weeks 1-3: Give each main subject area a full day (8+ hours) of attention, then take a day off to recharge. Take a practice exam after each week to determine how you are doing.

Take an AAMC full-length practice test in week four and review the material from your previous practice test. 

Week 4-8: Review the areas where performance was the lowest, then practice CARS passages. This week’s focus should be refining your knowledge rather than learning anything new.

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MCAT study schedule for three months

Are three months sufficient to prepare for the MCAT? A three-month study schedule allocates 3–5 hours daily to studying, excluding rest days. You can supplement your self-study strategy with various MCAT resources, like flashcards, practice questions, and review books.

Week 1: After receiving a baseline from a diagnostic test, schedule 3 hours per day to learn the fundamentals of each topic. 

Weeks 2-8: Switch up your study topics daily and incorporate CARS practice passages and questions into your everyday study.

Weeks 9-11: Schedule a practice exam to begin each study week and set aside an additional day for test preparation. Utilizing the results of your practice exams, create a study program and continue your daily CARS section preparation.

Week 12: Take a practice exam and allot time to study for the exam. Review the subject areas you struggled with the most so you may concentrate on areas where you can improve. The moment is not now to pick up new information. 

MCAT Study Plan for Six Months

A 6-month MCAT study plan lets you pace yourself and thoroughly absorb the content. To find your weak points, you don’t have to rush into practice tests every week (although we do advise a baseline diagnosis). 

A longer-term study schedule allows you to delve deeper into each subject and better assimilate the information.

Month 1: Spend 1.5 to 2 hours daily on a different subject.

Month 2: Start adding extra reading passages and practice activities.

Month Three: Review all of your content sections in month three. Determine your areas of weakness and concentrate harder on them. After the third month, take a comprehensive practice test.

Month 4-5: Continue taking bi-monthly practice examinations and reading and answering practice questions from the CARS passages. Review your content regions, paying close attention to the ones that don’t seem to be sticking.

Month 6: Schedule a weekly time to complete full-length practice examinations, then review the results. Concentrate on subjects that will produce more income. Take a full-length test one week before your MCAT.

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Sample MCAT Study Schedule: Full Practice Test

  • 6:30 a.m.–7:30 a.m.: Wake up, breakfast, quick morning walk/run or workout, shower.
  • 7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.: Warm up for the test (do a few practice questions and passages to get your mind going)
  • 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.: Full practice MCAT (including break times)
  • 4:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.: Dinner/snack, relax
  • 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.: Practice test review (always review your performance as soon as possible)
  • 8:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m.: Relax, do whatever else needs to be done
  • 10:30 p.m.–11:00 p.m.: Go to bed


Can you adequately prepare for the MCAT in a limited timeframe? 

While preparing for the MCAT in a limited timeframe can be challenging, achieving adequate preparation with focused and efficient studying is possible. Prioritize high-yield topics, develop a strategic study plan, and maximize available resources to optimize your preparation in the available time. 

How can I effectively manage my study time?

Establish a schedule with specific daily and weekly goals to manage your study time effectively. Prioritize your study tasks, allocate dedicated time slots, and maintain consistency in your study routine. Break your study sessions into manageable blocks, take short breaks, and utilize techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique to enhance productivity.

Are there any recommended study materials for time-constrained preparation? 

Reputable MCAT review books, online resources, and question banks are valuable study materials for time-constrained preparation. Choose resources that align with the MCAT content and format, and focus on high-quality materials that comprehensively cover the tested subjects. 

How many practice tests should I aim to complete? 

Completing multiple full-length practice tests is essential for MCAT preparation. Aim to complete a minimum of 4-6 practice tests to build familiarity with the exam format, enhance time management skills, and identify areas for improvement. However, balancing the number of practice tests with sufficient time for review and content reinforcement is recommended. 

Can I study for the MCAT while working or attending school?

Studying for the MCAT while working or attending school is possible but requires effective time management and a well-structured study plan. Prioritize your study time, maximize available study hours, and ensure a healthy work-study-life balance. Utilize weekends, evenings, and breaks to maximize your preparation. 

What should I do if I need help to improve my scores?

If you need help to improve your scores, evaluate your study methods and identify areas of weakness. Adjust your study plan, seek additional resources or tutoring if necessary, and focus on targeted review of challenging topics. Analyze your practice test results to pinpoint specific areas for improvement and adapt your study strategies accordingly. 


Taking the MCAT within a limited time can be achieved by you if you use the best strategies and mindset. Students can organize and effectively use their study time by structuring their study plans and using available resources, focusing on critical topics, taking realistic practice exams, and asking for help when needed.

It is necessary to place quality above quantity to ensure that every drafting session is productive and consistent. Completing an outstanding MCAT in the minimum duration is feasible through commitment and diligence. Therefore, apply these tactics today and notice the changes in your MCAT preparation.



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