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What is an appropriate study timeline for the MCAT?

The appropriate timeline to begin studying for major exams like the MCAT depends on several factors, including your current familiarity with the material, your study habits, and your personal schedule. The following guide is meant as a very loose guide to help you organize before the exam. These general guidelines can help you plan effectively and give you an idea of the commitment needed for the exam:


Recommended Study Timeline: 3-6 months


  1. 3-6 Months Before the Exam:

  • Diagnostic Test: Take a full-length practice test to assess your baseline knowledge and identify areas of weakness.

  • Create a Study Plan: Develop a comprehensive study plan that covers all the MCAT content areas, including Biological and Biochemical Foundations, Chemical and Physical Foundations, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS).

  • Contact your Ibis Prep Tutor: Your Ibis Prep Tutor will know exactly what timeline fits your personality best and can help you through the preparation period.


2. 3-5 Months Before the Exam:

  • Content Review: Begin thorough content review using MCAT prep books, online resources, and review courses. Focus on understanding fundamental concepts.

  • Practice Questions: Incorporate practice questions and passages into your study routine to apply what you’ve learned.

  • Use the Ibis Prep Question Bank: There are numerous resources posted to our Google Drive folders, which your tutor will show you how to access. These resources are great to review on your own and ask your tutor any outstanding questions.


3. 2-3 Months Before the Exam:

  • Increase Practice: Increase the number of practice questions and full-length practice exams. Aim to complete at least one full-length practice test every week or two.

  • Identify Patterns: Analyze your practice test results to identify patterns in your mistakes and focus on those areas.


4. 1-2 Months Before the Exam:

  • Targeted Review: Focus on targeted review of weak areas identified in practice tests.

  • Simulate Test Conditions: Take practice tests under timed, test-day conditions to build stamina and improve time management.

  • Focused Tutoring Sessions: Use the last two months to really hone in on your areas of weakness. Allow your tutor to advise you on how to conquer those sessions and keep bringing more questions.


5. 1 Month Before the Exam:

  • Final Review: Conduct a final review of all content areas, focusing on high-yield topics and your weakest areas.

  • Mental and Physical Preparation: Ensure you’re well-rested and take care of your physical and mental health.


Good luck and when in doubt ask your Ibis Prep tutor for advice and reassurance. This timeline may not work for everyone, but you and your tutor can build a more personalized schedule as your test approaches.

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