I am planning to take the MCAT in March/April of 2023 and am beginning to think about my study schedule. I’m wondering what your advice is for when I should begin studying and how many hours a week I should put towards studying? I know that it probably depends on the person, but I’m wondering if you have any sample studying schedules or any suggestions please.
Thank you so much for your question! It is great that you are thinking about a study schedule for the MCAT sooner rather than later. Personally, I am taking the MCAT in August so I am in the process of studying.
The number of hours you study per week generally depends on how much time (month-wise) you set aside to study for the MCAT, and how solid your base knowledge is. I would recommend taking a diagnostic early on to kind of get a sense of where you are at. If you decide you want to take the exam in early April and start studying in early October, this means that you will have approximately six months of study time. It is recommended that students study at least 200 hours, or preferably 300 and above, in order to be successful on the MCAT. Because you will have about 24 weeks until your test date, you could probably study for about 10-12 hours a week, which comes out to a couple of hours per day with one or two days off.
I have a lot of friends who decided to take the MCAT at the end of March and started studying at the beginning of Winter break. They did the bulk of their content review during the ~three weeks where they didn’t have classes, and then took a very light schedule during the school year. This means you would probably spend closer to 20-25 hours per week studying. In general, I would overestimate the amount of time that you are going to be dedicating to activities other than studying. I thought I would be fine working part time and taking one class while studying–and it has been a challenge to say the least.
I initially looked for sample study schedules for the MCAT, but found it would be a lot easier to make my plan around my own schedule. For example, I work and have a class Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I only do my Anki flashcards that are due those days. Every other day, I have my content review and practice tasks. If you are self-studying, I would recommend using your calendar and entering what tasks (i.e. reading 2 Chapters out of the Biology Kaplan book, two Jack Westin Cars passages, 50 UWorld pack questions, etc.) you would like to accomplish for each day. Put aside a couple hours before you start studying and do this–you won’t regret it. And don’t get upset if you don’t stick to this schedule exactly–everyone is going to have off days so be sure to be kind to yourself. You have a life outside of studying for the MCAT :).
I would recommend that you check out our MCAT Q&A section–a lot of other similar questions have been answered there. In general, I would say it really depends on your class schedule and extracurriculars for when you decide to start. Kaplan also has a page that has some good general schedule planning tips.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to respond to this post or ask another question! Good luck, you are going to do great 🙂
-Cate, PMH Co-President