With so much information out there, how do you even know where to start?
Here is a list of resources (and why) I recommend using in preparation for your upcoming exam.
Start with the the ‘How to use your MCAT resources‘ chapter in my new guide.
Wondering how I'm any different than the other information sources? Read about me here
Must-Have AAMC Resources:
Why? Because they write your exam! This means the AAMC resources will be closest to the real thing and ultimately your BEST source of practice.
- The Complete Official AAMC MCAT Bundle – Get all of the AAMC practice resources listed below at a bulk discount.
- AAMC Official Sample MCAT – Unscored full length – If you use this as your baseline, I recommend taking this twice. Once as a pretest before you begin studying. DON'T review it. Then take it again one week (at 8am) before your MCAT to see where you stand (hoping you forgot it in all the hectic studying) – Read: The Best Time to Take Your 1st MCAT Practice Test
- AAMC Official Practice Tests – 5 SCORED Unlike the sample test, these exams give you a score out of 528 just like the real MCAT. I recommend taking these in the final 4/3/2 weeks before your real exam at 8am each. I recommend RETAKING these exams in the final month even if you've taken them once before.
- AAMC Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (Amazon) <– Amazon ships faster than AAMC.org They also have a kindle version which you can browse on your computer/laptop/tablet
- AAMC Section Bank Feedback from students who've tested in 2017 suggest that THESE PASSAGES are closest to the real thing. Yes, even closer than the official practice tests.
This new section bank consists of 300 all-new questions with an emphasis on the NEW topics not covered in the bundles below. Biochemistry, psychology, and sociology.
At $45 this is a MUST according to students who tested in 2017.
- Official MCAT Question Pack Bundle Students who've taken the old and new exam claim this is simply old material repackaged for ‘the new exam' Not amazing but still helpful and therefore A MUST! Individual packs are $15 each, bundle is $76.50 and includes:
- Biology Volume 1
- Biology Volume 2
- CARS Volume 1
- CARS Volume 2
Full-Length Practice Exams
Full-length practice tests are crucial to building up your endurance and familiarity with the exam style/format/duration. Here's how to use them the right way.
AAMC exams are best but with only 5 scored full length exams to-date (see above) you'll need a third party exam for additional practice.
In chatting with students who've taken the new MCAT, they say Blueprint is the closest to the real thing and thus the best source of preparation.
I receive a small referral bonus at no extra cost to you if you use this link for Blueprint.
Altius is in second place followed by ExamKrackers full-lengths (no affiliations).
Books are KEY for review/skimming and practice questions.
Note on old books: If you have books written for the old (pre-2015) MCAT that’s okay for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Orgo ONLY. You’ll still require new books for CARS (verbal), Biochemistry, Psychology and Sociology. You'll also want to acquire books to practice ‘new exam' style passages.
Below are links to get the most popular company books on Amazon. Be sure to register for a free student prime account (Amazon). (If you purchase through these links I get a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.)
These books are ranked based on my personal comparison AND student feedback
- Examkrackers Study Pack (Amazon) – Second best source of content but BEST source of in-chapter and end-of-chapter questions + excellent 30 minute subject exams. Any version past 2015 is ok
- Kaplan Prep Pack (Amazon) – The best CONTENT books based on my personal review and student feedback. Not the best practice questions. Any version past 2015 is ok
- Next Step 108 CARS Passages (Amazon) <- great for weekly practice
Additional Psych/Soc Resources
With no company fully able to cover all of MCAT psychology and sociology, my students have taken to studying from AP and GRE books. As more and more students try these my feedback will get stronger on which books to use.
- This Kaplan GRE book (Amazon) is currently well recommended by my students
“like the short explanations of each theory (there are no pictures). And they have an experimental design chapter that helps you think about the problems different experiments could have.” ~Student
In addition to my course, it never hurts to have additional resources handy. Of course I’ll start with my own FREE Resources
Additional CARS Practice
- Daily MCAT CARS Practice! By Jack Westin (Free)
- Combine your Newspaper Strategy with difficult readings to improve your CARS & science skill. My students recommend AEON.com especially for example philosophy to get used to ‘boring' articles.
- Testing Solutions 30 day CARS guide (Amazon) FREE with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription which you can get a FREE 30-day trial (Amazon)
MCAT Prep Course
Taking an MCAT prep course is recommended if you need the formal structure and guidance. However, the big-name courses tend to be ‘generic' and leave it up to YOU to make the best of it. Their CEO doesn't know about you nor care about your outcome. My program is the EXACT OPPOSITE as I personally work with you every step of the way.
- MCAT Study Hall – my personal MCAT program where I guide you through every step of your exam prep.
Strategy, Skills, and Useful Study Techniques
- Overall: The Ultimate MCAT Prep Guide
- Mental Prep:
- Study Strategies:
- Newspaper strategy for improving in CARS
- Audio Study Strategy for maximizing driving/chores…
- Flashcard Strategy for utilizing them the RIGHT way
- Studying the bathroom because hey, you're there every day anyway
- Active Writing for concept and equation memorization
- Note-Taking Strategy for fast-paced effective studying
- 3 Steps to Raising Your MCAT Scores With Full Length Practice Tests
- 5 Steps to Mastering MCAT Sciences
The VERY BEST Premed and Medical School Advice:
Have you listened to the MedicalSchoolHQ podcast hosted by Doctors Ryan (Twitter) and Allison Gray (InTraining.org)? They offer the very best advice on everything from your applications, interviews, preparation, and so much more. Listen Here: Medical School Headquarters Podcast