how many practice tests before mcat

How Many Practice Tests Before the MCAT: Why, How, and Best Resources

Many pre-meds ask how many practice tests before MCAT? The answer to this question is that the more you take, the better. This is because taking a lot of practice tests means you are becoming more familiar with how the test questions are formulated and how it feels like to be in an actual testing environment. Additionally, when you take a lot of these exams under timed conditions, your brain will start to develop strategies and techniques for how to solve difficult problems in order for you to finish them faster. If you’re looking to score high on your mcat make sure that every time you sit down to practice you utilize these tips and resources mentioned here.

How Many Practice Tests before MCAT

Typically my mantra is the more the better.

If you are close to your test date then you won’t have as much time, but if you are pretty early in your prep a good rule of thumb is to base how many you take based off of how far away your test date is.

  • If you are 4-6 months away, then you can plan on taking a test every 2-3 weeks until the exam.
  • If you are 2-4 months away take a test every 2 weeks.
  • If you are 0-2 months away you should be taking a practice test every 10-14 days.

Basically, the less time you have until your test day, the more frequently you should be taking tests.

This is true even if you started 6 months out, you should be increasing the frequency of testing as your day gets closer.

how many practice tests before mcat

Best MCAT Practice Tests

There are a TON of great companies and tests out there.

I want to keep it simple and only bring up three big MCAT practice tests.

The first is the AAMC practice tests, second is Magoosh MCAT prep course (which includes practice tests), and then Princeton Review.

AAMC practice tests are the most popular.

You can find these on the AAMC website and they are cheap and easy to access. These also have question explanations which is really helpful for figuring out how you did afterwards.

Most students take these tests as their first practice test and they are a great starting point.

The AAMC tests are written by the people who create the MCAT, so you know they are accurate and that’s how it feels to take an actual MCAT.

Magoosh MCAT prep course is an online study program which includes four full length mcat practice tests, videos, and lectures to help you get through the difficult material. It covers all topics on the exam so it’s really comprehensive- this will be how most

Magoosh MCAT prep course includes practice tests, so if that’s something that interests you then I would recommend looking into it! They cover how to do practice questions, how to use the right techniques for reading passages, and how to master math.

Lastly is Princeton Review which are really popular with a lot of people. They also have a full course that includes tons of content including how many practice tests before mcat!

In summary, do the AAMC tests then get yourself some MaGoosh review course, and if you still have time buy the Princeton review tests.

How to use the Practice Test

The key to using a practice test is: treat it like a real test, review it in depth, and recognize your weaknesses from it.

Treating a practice test like the real thing means that you should take it timed and with the same start/end time as your actual exam.

You should also try to mimic how you would feel on a real test: by eating before, reviewing all of the material prior to hand (don’t have any distractions), and don’t rush through sections that are difficult for you.

This is so important because it will help you learn how to pace yourself.

The review is also very important, take the time to go over your mistakes and read through how questions are answered so that you understand how they work on a deeper level.

Next up is the review of your practice test. At the end of each practice test you will get to see what you got right and then what you got wrong.

There is also an explanation to each question and that explanation is so important.

Take time to review that explanation and make sure you understand the concept in great detail.

Recognizing what areas need improvement is key for future success- this means following up with self-study or going back to class notes and reviewing what you need to know.

The more tests you take and the more practice questions that you do the easier it will become to recognize where your weaknesses are at, and what you need to work on.

In summary, treat the practice test like the real deal, review it in depth, and start to recognize your weaknesses and work on them!

The AAMC Practice Test

These tests are the most popular because they are cheap and easy to access.

You can find these on the AAMC website and they have question explanations which is really helpful for figuring out how you did afterwards.

What makes the AAMC test great is that the questions are written by the people who create the MCAT, so you know they are accurate and how it feels to take an actual MCAT.

This is a great starting point for students because these practice tests have 230 questions- which means that this gives them a real test day experience because the MCAT is 230 questions as well.

Additionally, what makes AAMC a really great practice test is how they are scored. You will be told what questions you get right and which ones you got wrong, so it’s easy to figure out how well you did overall on a percentage basis.

The good thing is though, they can get as close as possible as how it feels like taking a real MCAT and provide detailed feedback afterwards- so this type of test should definitely be the first one you go through!

I highly recommend you take one of these exams early on and then take the others consistently throughout your prep.

They aren’t scored, but they do give you an idea of what you can expect on test day!

They should be full length exams

Taking full length practice exams is how you can get the best idea of how it feels to take an MCAT.

You should time them and make sure they are at least as long as how long your actual exam is going to be, so don’t rush through just because you have a few hours left on the clock!

Take into account that there will also be breaks in between sections, so make sure you take that into account as well.

Taking full length tests before exam day is super important. It teaches you what to expect on test day, how to sit through that long of an exam, and how to plan your breaks and food.

How to break down your score on the practice exams

With any practice test, you want to take a look at your overall score at the end of it.

When your practice test scores start getting close to what you want to actually score on the exam, then you know you are doing well.

When you get your overall score and the breakdown of strengths and weaknesses, take that and remember what your weaknesses are.

Then with each test you add to the bank of things you are good at and things you still need to work on.

This makes it so you can narrow down what you need to study and how much time you should spend on those specific topics.

This is a great way for students to figure out how well they are doing in relation to their goals- which lets them know how hard they need to study and how much time they should dedicate every day.

What you will find is that the more practice tests you take, the easier it becomes for your brain to know what type of questions are coming up on test day, and how to go through questions and break them down in a simple way.

Doing a content review with the practice test review

Content review means taking a look at how you did on topics that are harder for you, and what your strengths are.

A great way to do this is by taking the practice test then going into detail of the things you got right and wrong after you finish the test- guys it’s like getting two things in one!

You should take a short break after you finish the exam, then come back to it while the topics are fresh that day and start reviewing the topics you got wrong.

If you notice over and over again that you keep missing the same topic, then that is what you need to focus on!

The content summary gives you an overview of how well you understood concepts from each question while also giving you a chance to review how well you have been doing on those topics.

It’s a great way to figure out what areas of study need the most attention- so if there is something you are really struggling with, make sure it gets more one-on-one time than other things that might be easier for you!

This is something that I think Magoosh does a great job of. Since they have a Q-Bank, practice tests, and content videos they can link all that together to help you not only identify your weaknesses, but dig in and study them!

Simulate the real test and test day

Simulating test day is how you can get the best idea of how it feels to take an MCAT.

You should plan on how long your exam will be, what breaks in between sections break up how long a test day is.

Take into account that there will also be questions about food and how much time you need for bathroom breaks- this means don’t rush through the test just because you have a few hours left on how long it is!

It’s also important to keep in mind that when you are taking your practice tests, make sure they last as long or longer than how long your real exam will be.

Don’t rush and go for speed; take into account time for breaks and how much time you need to review the questions.

Taking full length practice exams is helpful because it helps you build the stamina and ultimately helps you know what to expect from yourself when you sit down and do question and question.

Is the MCAT easier than practice tests

This is a tough question to answer, because there is such a varying degree of difficulty when it comes to practice exams.

There are some tests such as the Princeton Review that are notoriously difficult, and even some of the AAMC exams are thought to be more difficult then the real deal.

Regardless of how difficult the test is, I think that how you react to it can go a long way.

If you are able to keep calm and answer all the questions- even if they don’t turn out how well you wanted them too on your first try- then when MCAT day comes around, there will be no surprises!

It’s about how you can stay in control and how well you know how to manage your time.

Should you Take a practice test the week before the mcat

Absolutely! Taking a practice test the week before the MCAT can be really helpful to help you get a feel for how long it takes, how many breaks through out the day, and how well you know how to pace yourself.

The week before is a great time to take one last practice test, and brush up on those little weaknesses you may still be thinking about.

The key is to not do anything like this the day before the exam, really if you have done your due diligence, then take the day off.

The day before you really just need to make sure oyu know where the test center is and start going through exactly what your test day plan is.

Conclusion

It’s a common concern to ask how many practice tests you should take before the MCAT. The answer is, as long as you make sure that you do a good review of the material after each test and spend time on your weakest subjects, then taking more exams will always be better than not enough. Be sure to check out Magoosh for all your study needs!

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