Practicing for the MCAT involves hard work, dedication, and the right study materials. You'll want to ensure you have everything you need to study and perform well on the test so you can score well and get into the medical program of your choice. By including MCAT practice tests in your study plan, you can better decide how many you need and when to take them, so you feel ready on test day.
This article provides helpful advice about how many practice tests you should take before the MCAT, including info on:
- The benefits of taking MCAT practice exams
- How many mock exams you should take
- When to take each practice test and why
- Some additional tips on getting ready for the MCAT with practice exams
MCAT Practice Exams
Like flashcards, sample questions, and writing prompts, mock exams are useful tools that help test takers study for the MCAT. Taking practice tests gives you an idea of what your actual MCAT test score might be. It's also a great way to measure your progress and ensure you can apply the information you learn during study sessions.
Reviewing your MCAT practice test results allows you to identify which areas of the exam you're likely to struggle with so you can prioritize those topics in your study plan. Even those who perform well can use mock MCAT exams to sharpen their skills and get a feel for the format and pacing of the official test.
Grad Prep offers four exclusive MCAT practice exams that include three test modes so you can learn, prepare, and complete several simulated tests before your scheduled exam day. Our test prep plan covers each MCAT section and features hundreds of practice test questions. Taking our mock exams and studying in between each one can give you a better chance of earning a high score.
Number of Practice Tests
How Many MCAT Practice Tests Should I Take?
The number of MCAT practice tests needed will vary from person to person. Some students do well after taking a diagnostic test and spending a few days studying individual questions and topics before taking another mock exam, while others may find success from taking practice tests over and over again.
Most experts suggest you take a minimum of three MCAT practice tests before the exam. Whether you earn a low or high score on the first mock test, the subsequent exams can help you determine which test areas you should devote more study time to. Taking at least three MCAT practice exams can also help you feel more comfortable with the content and format of the official test.
Incorporating at least five or six practice tests into your overall MCAT study plan is a good idea. You can use our official practice exams and adjust your test prep practices based on your results.
The recommended time to study for the MCAT is three to six months, which allows you to easily fit more tests into your schedule. If you only have a month to prepare for the exam, you'll need to condense that study time and alternate review sessions with practice tests to prioritize sections that require more review.
The number of MCAT practice tests you take depends on how prepared you feel for the official exam. If you perform poorly on standardized testing but understand the content well enough, practice exams can help you improve your test-taking skills, reduce anxiety, and become more familiar with the timing and test format.
When to Test
When Should I Take an MCAT Practice Exam?
Kick off your study plan by taking a diagnostic MCAT test soon after registering for the real exam. Use your results to determine how much time you need to prep for the MCAT, whether that means studying for a few months or several weeks. Then, use your diagnostic exam to organize the topics you want to add to your study schedule.
Test & Review
After taking your first MCAT practice exam, review your score section by section. Prioritize the areas that received the lowest scores, study them, then take the second practice exam once you feel confident you've learned something new or built on your skills. Repeat this process of testing, reviewing, studying, and retesting until your practice results begin to reflect your target MCAT score.
Taking Your Last Practice Exam
Your last MCAT practice exam should be at least a day or two before your final test date. That way, you can spend your remaining prep time touching up your study regimen and focusing on minor improvements if needed. Even if you haven't quite hit your ideal score, this extra bit of studying can get you there despite not taking a test the night before your exam.
Retaking MCAT Practice Tests
Retaking practice exams is a smart strategy, but space out your attempts, so the test questions are unfamiliar when you take it again. Give yourself a week or two after reviewing your initial answers and taking several other practice tests before revisiting one. If possible, take as many different mock exams as you can to give yourself a range of questions to practice.
Studying for the MCAT with Grad Prep
Our four MCAT practice exams are part of a comprehensive study plan designed to track your progress, help you learn the material, and ultimately earn your best score. By trying Grad Prep, you gain access to our mobile MCAT test prep program so you can practice wherever and whenever you want.