Practice test and study plan

Can anyone give an advice on the best timing to take practice tests in order to get the most out of it? —Should I wait until I complete a substantial amount of review? Or is it useful to keep taking it as I study? I did my very first practice test and got 22. I feel it was too soon to take it but is it still useful?

Also, about study plan, has anyone had experience with SDN 3 month study plan? Or Kaplan, etc? Or both?

Thank you!

lilly -

Your mileage may vary regarding when to take practice tests. For ME, having completed substantial review first is most helpful. Then I can be tweaking my performance, identifying areas for additional review, etc. Some folks like to take them all along because they retain memory of stuff they got wrong and that helps them. See what seems to help you.

I took Kaplan. It is expensive and time consuming but I found the structured studying helpful. I would complete the bio review materials, then take practice test and make notes of areas I needed more review for bio. Same for other areas. That helped me out a lot.

I found their practice for the verbal helpful, but I’ve heard that examkrackers has a different strategy for verbal that some of my premed classmates found helpful and easier to use. It helps if you are a very fast reader!!

Best of luck as you are preparing!


My personal experience was that the practice tests were most useful to me nearer to exam time, but YMMV. It’s definitely helpful to take one or two early in your study process, to get an idea of how the test is structured, and to identify areas to focus on.

The AMCAS practice exams are great predictors of what you’ll actually do on the MCAT, but there’s a limited number, so you need to ration those out carefully. In the month running up to the MCAT, I was taking 1-2 practice exams per week.

However you decide to approach it, the important thing with the practice exams is to go through every question on the exam and understand why you got it wrong, or why you got it right. For those that you got wrong, make a note of the subject area and type of question, and go review those topics, do some other practice questions in those areas.

I’ll also throw in a plug for sites like I found it helpful to be able to pull up the site (or the app) when I had a few free minutes and run through a couple of questions. It helps to keep your head in the game.

Hope this helps some. Good luck on your test!

Kate and Bennard

Thank you for your advice, info, and tips! and encouragement!

It’s great to have these info as I am beginning to study. Hopefully I can be like you, sharing advice with old premeds, one day!

If you have practice section tests, I got a LOT out of doing lots of verbal tests to get used to the strategy and timing I needed to perform most effectively. I’m not much of a reader though, so I needed the time to get back into the mindset of read, absorb, recall.

The rest of the sections it just kind of depends on how you want to study. I liked feeling not as dumb and waited until I at least reviewed most of the material. Other people use the practice tests as a study tool. Word to the wise though: You won’t see every topic possible by just doing a couple of practices.

I did the Kaplan self-paced course. Expensive but lots of available information and tools. My actual MCAT was somewhere in between the Kaplan practice test and the AMCAS practice test. For me, neither was fully representative of the actual exam I had.