Aug 22, 2015
Hey everyone!

I plan on writing the MCAT in August 2016. I plan on not working at all between the end of April-August. I would ideally be studying for minimum 5 hours everyday. The plan right now is 8 hours of study/day.

I have read tons of different posts about how/what to study for the MCAT. From what I've read, here's is what I thought I would do (by all means, correct me if you disagree - I'd appreciate any advice) :

1) Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review.

- I would review the entire content of these books first. I heard that these books are very detailed, so this would give me a good understanding of all the concepts covered.

2) Examkrackers MCAT Study Package.

- I read that the Examkrackers prep material are much lighter, and focus more on the 'important stuff'. I would then read over these books to really develop my understanding over the material.

** Do you think it's too much to try to tackle both of these prep sets? Am I underestimating how much time they are both going to take? If you do think that this is too much for content review, then which prep material would you recommend and why?*

I understand that it is super important to not just do content review, and you have to practice practice practice. Im planning on purchasing the Official Mcat Sample Test, Official Online Guide Questions, The Question Packs, Kaplan 528, Kaplan Practice Tests, TPR Practice Tests & Khan Academy. Does anyone have any other recommendations for passage practice?

Would love to get as much feedback as possible!! I'm feeling very overwhelmed with all the prep material out there and would just love to hear what has worked for other people.

Thanks so much!


MD & MPH goals
Jun 17, 2015
Bodymore Murdaland
Other Health Professions Student
1) Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review.

- I would review the entire content of these books first. I heard that these books are very detailed, so this would give me a good understanding of all the concepts covered.
Use the AMCAS guide to the MCAT if you want the definitive and most reliable list of topics on the exam. Kaplan, PR, EK, and Khan Academy (when used alone) are known for missing a topic or two. That's why many students combine these sources for content review.


7+ Year Member
May 20, 2011
Medical Student, Post Doc
My vote is for EK supplemented with whatever is the best resource for psych/soc. Khan is free, but there may be something better.
Jun 19, 2015
Somewhere in Cali...
Here's an overview of each phase of prepping for the MCAT and its purpose:

1. Content review: This establishes your foundation of science knowledge. It's time-consuming, boring, and you'll feel like you're not making much progress, but it is necessary to do this ground work before your first FL practice. Using two separate resources is certainly helpful for this phase, as you can make good use of the spacing effect (google it). E.g. review the Kaplan books first, then go through the EK books in the same subject order to re-review the same content framed in a different way, and spaced out by 1-2 months. Finally, it's important to understand that content review is only done to get you ready for the next phase. Once you're done with content review, move on or you will just be wasting time.

2a. Discover your weak points: The practice phase of MCAT studying is a repeated cycle of two different steps. To discover the gaps in your knowledge base, you need to do practice tests. After completing each test, review each problem (even the ones you got right); for each question you got wrong or got right for the wrong reason, note down what weakness prevented you from getting it right. You should be writing down a list of concepts/topics to work on after each practice test.

2b. Improve on your weak points: For each topic on your list, go back and reread it in the review book, or if needed look up a more comprehensive explanation online or in old college textbooks. Then do specific practice problems on the topic. EK 1001's and college textbooks are great resources for topic questions. Doing practice problems is the way your understanding of the topic is solidified, and then that weakness becomes one of your strengths. When you complete your topic list, you're ready to move on to the next practice test. Therefore you will cycle through steps 2a and 2b for each practice test.

3. Endurance and timing: Early on in your practice, I would not time yourself on tests, because your main focus is to identify and eliminate weaknesses in your knowledge base. I would even suggest splitting up FLs into two days (two sections per day). After your first 2-3 FLs, however, your knowledge gaps will have shrunk considerably and you will need to start shifting your focus to taking the full test under timed conditions. This means that for each practice test you earmark a day and recreate the test day as exactly as possible. Get up early, start the first section at 8am, take the proper length breaks (two 15 mins and one 30 min lunch), etc. This will train up your mental endurance, as well as clue you in to possible stumbling blocks like particular types of food or drink that really make you need to go to the restroom in the middle of the section ;). Having your test day routine down pat will greatly decrease your anxiety and increase your confidence on the big day.

Naturally, there is no strict transition from step 2 to step 3, and you will want to continue to strengthen any remaining weaknesses during the endurance building phase.

My suggestion for practice materials is to do the AAMC Official Guide questions first. This will ease you in with a nice short primer on what the passages and questions will look like, and give you your first weak-topics list. Then move on to the AAMC Question Packs, rotating through the different subjects 60 questions at a time (to get similar length to a test section). I.e. use the first 60 questions each of Bio, Chem, Phys, and CARS as a 'practice test'. Then do the second 60 of each, and so on. Finally, do the two AAMC FL tests under test-day conditions. If you need more practice after this, feel free to use the test prep companies' FLs, but understand that the style and difficulty will differ from the real thing. The most representative material is from the AAMC, by far.

Good luck! :D