The Jack Westin MCAT Study Guide: The Roadmap To Medical School
Preparing for the MCAT can feel long and arduous. Where should you begin? How long should you study? What resources are even available? While the road to medical school may seem daunting, this MCAT Study Guide is the perfect place to start.
This MCAT Study Guide provides a roadmap to medical school. It includes what subjects to focus on, how to budget your time, and where to find practice questions and resources (hint, Jack Westin has TONS of free resources available).
How Much Time Do You Need For MCAT Preparation?
The MCAT is a test that medical schools use to help them assess your readiness for the rigors of medical school. It is a multiple-choice exam that covers a wide range of topics, including biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and critical reading.
How much time you’ll need to devote to preparation will depend on several factors, including your background and available time.
However, as a general rule of thumb, experts recommend that you plan to spend at least 3-4 months studying for the MCAT. That might seem like a lot of time, but remember that your future career depends on your exam performance. Investing the time now will pay off in the long run.
Is Taking an MCAT Prep Course Worth It?
Most pre-med students worry about the MCAT, specifically how to learn the content the test covers. Should you focus on a self-paced learning program or enroll in an MCAT course?
While there is no one-size fits all approach to the MCAT, there are a few factors that students need to consider when choosing if a prep course is worth it.
In 2021 there were over 62,000 applicants to medical school. Of that 62,000, only 22,000 were accepted and enrolled into medical school.
Based on the numbers above, only the top thirty percent of test takers get accepted into medical school. While the MCAT is not the only factor in getting into medical school, it does play a vital role.
MCAT scores continue to be competitive, so doing your absolute best on the MCAT will most often require some help.
Whether through a tutor, MCAT course, or admissions consultant, getting help is one of the best things you can do to get the most out of your MCAT prep.
We suggest you dive deeper into this matter and see what you should look for in an MCAT course.
Should You Start with a MCAT Diagnostic Exam
An MCAT diagnostic test is an essential tool for medical school applicants. This tool can provide valuable feedback on your strengths and weaknesses and help you identify areas where you need to improve.
As you begin your MCAT prep, an MCAT Diagnostic is the perfect place to start. This long-form diagnostic will analyze your biology, physics, psychology, and sociology skills. By starting your MCAT journey with a diagnostic, you will better understand where you need to focus your studies.
To get the most out of your MCAT diagnostic test, it is essential to analyze your results carefully. Here are some tips for handling and analyzing your MCAT diagnostic test:
1. Take the test under simulated conditions: This means taking the mock test in a quiet room with no distractions. Make sure you have a timer to keep track of each section’s time limit.
2. Answer every question: Even if you are unsure if the answer is correct, you’d better make an educated guess than leave the question blank. That’s because you won’t be penalized for wrong answers, so it is better to take a chance than to miss out on points.
3. Review your answers carefully: Once you have finished the test, look at each question again. Consider why you got the question right or wrong, and look for patterns in your mistakes.
4. Use your results as a starting point for further study: Your MCAT diagnostic test can provide valuable information about where you need to focus your studies. Use the feedback from your diagnostic test to create a study plan that will help you improve your score on the actual MCAT exam.
Knowing how to take a diagnostic test and analyze it to detect your weaknesses and strengths is an integral part of your preparation process.
How to Avoid the Most Common MCAT Mistakes
Not Studying Enough
Anyone taking the MCAT can attest that studying for this exam is no small undertaking. It requires hundreds of hours of dedicated prep time, and even then, success is far from guaranteed. So it should be no surprise that MCAT candidates’ most common mistake is not studying enough.
Many MCAT candidates underestimate the time they must devote to MCAT prep, so they scramble at the last minute. Others try to study while maintaining a full course load and quickly discover that they don’t have enough hours in the day. The strategy to avoid this mistake is simple: start early and develop a study schedule. Time management is critical on the MCAT, so it’s essential to plan and use your time wisely.
To ace the MCAT, you must be prepared to put in the hours. There’s no way around it. So make a plan, start studying early, and don’t let anything get in your way. You’ll be ready on test day with enough hard work and dedication.
Not Practicing Enough Passages
MCAT candidates often ask how many passages they should be practicing. The answer, of course, is as many as possible. However, many students make the mistake of not practicing enough. This is especially common in the CARS section, where students often feel they can get by with just a few practice passages. However, the MCAT is a challenging test; even a tiny improvement in your score can make a big difference.
Furthermore, the MCAT tests your ability to read and understand complex scientific material. Consequently, you need to be able to read and comprehend long passages quickly and accurately. The best way to improve your speed and accuracy is to practice as many passages as possible. So if you’re not practicing enough passages, you’re not giving yourself the best chance of success on the MCAT.
Not Focusing On Your Weaknesses
One of the most common mistakes MCAT candidates make is focusing too much on their weaknesses. It’s understandable to want to improve your weaker areas, but if you spend all your time and energy trying to fix them, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. A better approach is to focus on your strengths and use them to compensate for your weaknesses.
For example, if you’re weak in biology but strong in chemistry, you can use your knowledge of chemistry to help you understand the biology passages on the MCAT. Similarly, if you’re weak in verbal reasoning but strong in critical thinking, you can use your necessary thinking skills to approach the verbal reasoning questions. By using your strengths to cover up your weaknesses, you’ll be able to minimize the impact of your weaker areas and increase your chances of success on the MCAT.
Not Getting Enough Rest
The MCAT is a long exam, and it can be tempting to try to power through it without taking any breaks. However, this mistake can lead to fatigue and lower scores. Instead of trying to push through, it’s essential to take some time to rest and recharge. Get up from your chair, stretch your legs once a few hours, and take a break for a meal or snack every few hours.
And most importantly, make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the exam. It may seem like there’s not enough time to fit everything in, but skimping on sleep will only make it harder to focus and perform your best on test day. So THE MORAL OF THE STORY: pace yourself, take breaks, and get plenty of sleep to avoid making a common mistake on the MCAT.
Some mistakes are time-consuming and time is your most precious asset while studying for the MCAT. Use other students’ experience on how to dodge the most common MCAT mistakes to save your time and spend it where it is needed.
Best Time Management Strategies for MCAT
MCAT season is upon us, meaning it’s time to get serious about time management. For many students, the MCAT is the most crucial test of their lives. It’s a challenging exam, and it requires a lot of preparation. So how can you make sure you’re using your time wisely?
Here are a few tips:
1. Get a planner and use it religiously. This is the best way to keep track of your MCAT prep and ensure you use your time wisely. Whether your planner is a physical or digital journal is entirely up to you.
2. Set aside some time every day for MCAT prep. Even if it’s just an hour, this will make a big difference in your overall prep.
3. Take breaks, and don’t try to cram everything into one night. Cramming is never effective, and it will just lead to burnout. Make sure you take breaks and relax to return to studying refreshed.
4. Create a study schedule and stick to it. That keeps you on track and ensures that you’re making progress with your MCAT prep.
5. Enlist the help of a tutor or study group. MCAT prep can be lonely, so find some friends to help you out. An MCAT tutor or study group can also be a great way to get feedback on your progress and stay motivated.”
Using the best time management skills for MCAT students will help you craft an efficient, less bumpy MCAT study schedule. You will thank yourself later for learning these skills that will be useful in your future career as a med student and a doctor.
How to Prepare for MCAT While You’re Still Studying at School
The MCAT is a big test, and it’s one that you’ll want to do well on if you’re planning on applying to medical school. But how can you prepare for the MCAT while you’re still in the midst of your undergrad studies? Here are a few tips:
1. Get familiar with the content. The MCAT covers a lot of material, so it’s vital to understand what will be on the test. Plenty of prep books and practice tests are available; use them!
2. Start early. Don’t wait until the month before the test to start studying; you’ll likely feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Once familiarizing yourself with the content, make a study schedule and stick to it.
3. Take practice tests. In addition to becoming familiar with the content, it’s also essential to get used to the format of the MCAT. Practice tests can help with both of these goals; they’ll show you what topics you need to review but also help you get used to timing yourself and answering questions under pressure.
4. Relax. The MCAT is important, but it’s not worth sacrificing your mental health. Make sure to take study breaks, eat healthy meals, and get plenty of sleep. If you are stressed out, take a step back and reconsider your study habits. Remember: You can do this!
5. Make friends with people who are studying medicine. They will be your lifeline when understanding all the medical mumbo jumbo.
6. Get comfortable with online resources. Tons of terrific websites and forums can help you prepare for the MCAT. Don’t forget to check out Jack Westin’s ultimate online courses and online MCAT tutors that help you find the best study plan tailored to your time boundaries.
Are you still in school? Are you trying to figure out what your MCAT study schedule should look like? Here is an excellent source to figure out how to study for the MCAT while in school.
So, what’s the best way to study for the MCAT? The answer is not simple. It depends on your unique learning style, budget, and how much time you have. But there are some things you can do to make an informed decision.
Because the road to medical school is filled with ups, downs, and uncertainty, the Jack Westin team created our extensive team of Academic Advisors.
Our Academic Advisors offer our students the tools and resources they need to get into medical school. The best part is, Academic Advising is absolutely free. Click here to schedule a simple, one-on-one conversation with one of our experts!