How many practice tests should you take before your MCAT? This is a question that students commonly ask. The answer, however, is not so simple. It depends on how well you do on practice tests and how much prep time you have. Generally speaking, though, you should aim to take at least 3-4 practice tests before your MCAT. This will give you a good idea of where you stand baseline-wise and how well you’re doing throughout your prep.
Why 3-4 full length exams are important
This is a good amount because it will give you a strong baseline score and then how much you improve from there. Perhaps more importantly, though, it allows you to be able to better gauge how well your prep is going overall. For example, if on your first practice test (which I recommend taking as soon as possible) you get a 500 and then on the next one two weeks later you get a 520 and then you take one a few weeks after that and score a 510, how do know how to interpret that? Ideally, we want to see students improve on each test they take. If they don’t improve consistently over time or at all, it could mean that they need to adjust their study strategy.
Make sure you know your test date ahead of time and then you can really plan out your MCAT prep in such a way to maximize the full length tests you purchase.
Different MCAT practice Tests
Here is a quick list of the top options out there for companies that produce practice exams that are very similar to the real mcat, and they also have prep courses.
- Princeton REview
- Exam Crackers
AAMC Practice Tests
AAMC has a total of five full length exams. There are 4 scored exams and then one unscored exam. The nice thing about these is they really similar the real mcat and what you can expect on test day.
They also have a Question of the Day which is really great for targeted practice in specific content areas.
These tests are solid and can be purchased through the AAMC website.
Blueprint Practice Tests
There are three different Blueprint exams, and all of them are full length. They also have some shorter diagnostic exams if you want to focus on a specific topic. The scored exams will give you an idea how you did overall, how you did in each section, and how well you did in individual subsection of the MCAT.
The Blueprint practice tests are available if you purchase their MCAT prep courses or they can be purchased separately as well.
Princeton Review Practice Tests
There are a total of six full length exams with Princeton. These will give you an idea how you did overall and how well you did in each section. This is one of the highest rated MCAT prep courses out there, and their practice tests are fantastic for both practice as well as content review after the exam. Each practice test they offer gives you a chance to do a in depth review and develop your test taking strategies as well.
The Princeton Review practice tests are available if you purchase their MCAT prep courses or they can be purchased separately as well.
Kaplan Practice Tests
There are a total of eight full length exams with Kaplan, so that’s no joke. These will give you an idea how you did overall and how well you did in each section. Kaplan is also one of the most popular MCAT prep companies out there, so their practice exams are extremely reliable.
The Kaplan practice tests are available if you purchase their MCAT prep courses or they can be purchased separately as well.
Kaplan is so well known and has been doing this for a long time, so you can count on them to really get you ready for test day and their content really mirrors the test sections and topics you will encounter on the real deal.
Exam Crackers Practice Tests
There are five full length exams with Exam Crackers. Similar to the AAMC and Kaplan, the topics and passages on these practice tests are very similar to what you will see on test day. What I really like about their practice tests is that they also have a breakdown of how you did in each section as well so you can focus your studying specifically on the areas you need to improve on.
The Exam Crackers practice tests are available if you purchase their MCAT prep courses or they can be purchased separately as well.
Magoosh Practice Tests
Magoosh has a total of three full length exams and all of them are very different in terms of the content covered. They also have over 1000 practice questions that are broken down into specific sections and topics.
The Magoosh practice tests are available if you purchase their MCAT prep courses or they can be purchased separately as well. They have a comprehensive MCAT coaching package that is offered currently at $999, but there is also the option to just buy their practice exams for $49.
Overall, all of these companies have great practice exams that will help you get ready for the MCAT. However, I would highly recommend taking a variety of different practice tests to get an idea how you do on different types of questions and passages. This will give you the best chance of doing well on test day!
When should I start taking MCAT practice Tests
After you know your test day, then you can plan when to start taking them.
A good rule of thumb is to have a baseline then space practice exams out by 2 weeks each. This way you can get a good amount of full lengths in, but it gives you enough time between two practice tests to really five in and do a good review.
If you’re self studying, then this is how I would recommend how to take practice tests.
If you are participating in a course then you will have their outline laid out, and it may give you more practice exams, or potentially less. Either way, you will be solid if you take a course or focus on spacing exams out by a few weeks.
How Many AAMC Practice Tests are there
There are five AAMC practice tests, which is a good amount.
Four of these are scored, and then one of them is unscored. The nice thing about these is that they are all full lengths, and they really do mimic the real deal.
You should also know that these cost about $35.00 a pirce, but they are a great sample test and really give you a good idea of what to expect when you sit down in the test center for your exam.
Should I take a practice test the week before MCAT?
Yes, you should take a practice test the week before the MCAT. This is because it will help you maintain your confidence and keep you on track with the testing mentality.
You don’t need to go crazy and spend a ton of time reviewing it, but the act of taking the test and taking it seriously, will help you out a bunch!
This will also help reduce test anxiety and make sure you are in a good headspace when you sit down for the real deal.
Which MCAT practice exams are best?
If you really want to focus on high yield topics, get real life answer choices that simulate test day and ultimately fine tune your skills, then the AAMC tests are the best.
This is because they come from the people that actually write the exam, so you know that the content and type of questions on these practice exams are very similar to what you will see on test day.
More questions is always better, so doing more tests from companies like Kaplan, Exam Crackers, Magoosh, etc. will help out greatly.
When it comes to which tests are the best, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) are hands down the best.
Which MCAT practice exam should I take first?
This really doesn’t matter as much as you would think, but my opinion is the AAMC practice exams are all very comprehensive and they cover a variety of different topics.
If you want to take one that is more focused on the content, I would recommend starting with the Exam Crackers’ MCAT Practice Test #0. This exam is designed to help you assess how well you know the material covered in the course.
After that, I would recommend taking an AAMC practice test to get a better understanding how the exam is structured and how you can pace yourself on test day.
From there, continue with other exams from different companies to get a well-rounded idea of what types of questions are being asked.
Is a 520 A good MCAT score?
520 is a great score on the MCAT, particularly because it’s at the 90th percentile. In other words, you scored better than about 90% of all test-takers on that section alone!
If you manage to score this well, then you will be set when it comes to that part of your medical school application!
Last Week Before MCAT
The last week before the MCAT you should be doing the following:
- Reviewing your notes and any material that you are struggling with
- Doing practice problems! This is a great way to identify any weaknesses before test day.
- Trying to relax as much as possible. The week leading up to the MCAT can be very nerve wracking, so make sure you’re doing everything in your power to stay calm.
- Take a full length exam the day before or morning of the MCAT so you know how well prepared are for it.
Overall though, trust your prep, trust your gut and know that you have worked hard and are ready!
When it comes to how many tests before the MCAT you can really get bogged down with the details. Focus on taking 3-4 practice tests before the real deal, and ensure that they are spread out by about 2 weeks.
Take a test the week of your MCAT.
Doing these things will make a huge difference for your MCAT test day and then just make sure you know what test center you need to go to, and you will be set up for success!