2+ Year Member
May 24, 2016
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi there! I am about to begin my junior year of undergrad and I just have a few questions about the MCAT and how/when to start studying.

1. I hope to apply during my senior year (2018), so I can matriculate into medical school in 2019. I want to take the MCAT in 2018 and am unsure if I should take it in April or May, does that make a difference? I know that I need to have my score back by June 1, correct?

2. What are the best companies to buy MCAT study books from?

3. How many months in advance do you recommend I start studying? I know this can vary, but what is the average to be adequately prepared?

Thank-you for your help!
Apr 23, 2015
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  1. Medical Student
1. No, you don't need your score by June 1st. If you want to be on the "have my app complete as ready as possible" wagon, then you'd need those scores back by the end of June, since you can submit your app without the MCAT scores, and the first batch of apps goes out to schools at the end of June anyway.

That being said, I think the most important thing is to get a competitive score. If taking your exam in June, for example, as opposed to April/May, is going to give you a more competitive score (due to the extra weeks of studying), then by all means GO FOR IT. Having a competitive MCAT score >>> Being early.

2. This you need to figure out on your own, based on your preferences. I used EK and Kaplan. EK is more relaxed, doesn't stress the details too much. I think it's good for people who may have forgotten a lot of stuff, since they go over everything very well. Kaplan is very detail-oriented ("you HAVE to know this, you HAVE to know that"). I liked both and used both in my prep. I don't have experience with the rest.

3. I'd aim for around ~300 hours of studying. Depending on how much time you have, that could mean something like 3 months or could mean something closer to 6 months. Only you will know. I'd really recommend having a light course load during your Spring semester. And having all the prereqs done before starting to study for the MCAT.

Good luck!!
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Inspired Chaos

2+ Year Member
May 12, 2015
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  1. Pre-Medical
I took my MCAT the end of April. I studied part-time all of spring semester, January until the test, and felt adequately prepared. I had my score before AMCAS opened so I knew I was in a good position to apply before spending the money. The timeline worked out perfectly for me.
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