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MCAT preparation is incredibly important so don't delay. Plan ahead! Don't just leave yourself 3 months to study; instead allow 5 or more months. Studying for the MCATS is a balance of reviewing course content and feeling comfortable with the format and length of the test. The better prepared you are in both areas, the better you can perform on the day of the test. You should take advantage of as many full-length practice tests as you can. Start off your study plan by taking a full-length test so you know what you are up against. This will help you structure your studying over the next several months. You will automatically see your weakness and can apply ample resources to address this deficit. It's a long test so build your stamina.
How to Get Started?
You can either join a class online or in person at a local test prep center or create your own study plan. Whatever you select, treat it like another class. Do the homework; take the practice tests; form study groups; systematically review the material. The AAMC recently created a document entitled, How I Prepared for the MCAT Exam. It highlights 17 students and their unique approaches to studying for MCATS. This may give you some ideas as you go forward. It will also show you how many hrs each student dedicated to studying.
Budget your time and budget your money. If you plan to take formal class or pay for a tutor, budget for this expense. It could cost you between $1700 for a class up to $4000 for private lessons. Budget the time it will take you to review the material balancing your current commitments. Scoring a solid, competitive score above the 80 percentile will require a huge time commitment and perhaps a financial investment in a test prep class or review materials. View it as an investment...it will pay off.
Please see your pre-health advisor to see if they offer an in-house MCAT course or discounts at local companies. Check with your premed advisor and student premed clubs to see if they have relationships with a test prep company that offer discounts. Saving every penny counts! Always apply for a scholarship with the test prep program....you never know. Often time people assume they will not get a scholarship so they don't bother to ask. Please....ask!
Take advantage of free full-length practice tests offered through AAMC, Kaplan, Princeton Review as well as others. I am not endorsing any particular commercial agency through this article. I am simply highlighting a few resources for you to explore and formulate your own study plan. There are many great resources out there so don't be afraid to create your own individualized study plan.