5 Key Elements of a Good Study Plan

I believe that one of my most important jobs as a tutor is helping my students develop good study plans, and some of my students have followed their plans to achieve scores in the 100th percentile. In this MCAT tip, I want to share 5 of the most important elements of a good study plan:

  1. Individualized. A good study plan should be focused on improving your specific weaknesses. Avoid the temptation to simply follow someone else’s study plan, no matter what score they got. You are a unique person with specific strengths and weaknesses that need to be taken into account as you craft your study plan.
  2. Customizable. Because your strengths and weaknesses are going to change over time, your study plan needs to be adaptable. As you study, the things you need to focus your time on will change and your study plan should reflect that. This is why I warn against mapping out every single day of studying all the way until your test date. Instead, I advocate making a general study plan that adapts over time.
  3. Simple. There are so many study resources and there is simply not enough time to study all of them. Instead, build your studying around the best study resources out there, specifically resources produced by the people who wrote the test, the AAMC. The Khan Academy videos (produced in partnership with the AAMC) and the AAMC Practice Question Bundle should form the base of your studying. Everything else is just details.
  4. Informed. One of the biggest reasons that a student will end up retaking the MCAT is that they didn’t carefully track their progress while they were studying the first time around. If you don’t track your progress, you will have no idea if your study plan is working or not. Knowing how you are progressing, allows you to adapt your studying to focus on your weaknesses.
  5. Adequate. The MCAT is a beast of a test. Give it the respect it deserves by setting aside a sufficient amount of time to study. Studying for the MCAT goes against the popular “get rich quick with this one simple trick!” or “lose 10 pounds in five days!” advertisements that surround us. Students who work hard over time are the ones who get the results they wanted on test day.

And if you are really looking to make a stellar MCAT Study Plan, be sure to work your way through my Create-your-own Study Plan Course. It will help you make a study plan that implements these five keys and more, walking you through the same steps that I use to help my private tutoring students create their study plans.


Best of luck studying, and please feel free to reach out with any questions along the way. I’m here to help!

Warm regards,

Andrew  George

For more MCAT Tips:

Sign up for our affordable elite MCAT tutoring.

Sign up for our FREE MCAT Prep Course.

Follow us on:

MCAT Prep Course - MCAT Tutor
MCAT Prep Course - MCAT Questions
MCAT Prep Course - MCAT CARS
MCAT Prep Course - MCAT Behavioral Science

How we Matched up the Khan Academy Passages with the eCourse Lessons

Each lesson of the eCourse contains links to 1 to 5 Khan Academy science passages for the purpose of providing you with non-AAMC material to practice your science passage reading skills on. By completing all the linked passages within every lesson, you will have finished all the freely available Khan Academy science passages.

To match up the Khan Academy Science Passages with the eCourse lessons, we carefully examined the passage and question content of each one. Then we decided which lesson of the eCourse best correlated with that content. You may notice that some passages don’t match up perfectly with the current lesson. If they don’t match up with the current lesson, they should match up with one of the previous lessons in the module. We did this carefully so that you could practice your science passage reading skills on passages that contain the content you’ve already learned.

Why we don’t recommend non-AAMC CARS practice questions

We recommend practicing CARS by reading non-AAMC CARS passages but not doing the associated practice problems. The reason we don’t recommend doing the practice problems is because the MCAT is written by the AAMC. They have a very unique style in which they write CARS practice questions that third-party companies (try as they might) are unable to replicate. When students spend time on non-AAMC CARS practice problems, they get familiar with the wrong style of questioning, leading them to overthink and incorrectly respond to the questions written by the AAMC. Thus, it is in your best interest to solely practice on AAMC CARS practice questions.

That said, we highly recommend practicing your reading skills on non-AAMC CARS passages. In our Ultimate CARS Strategy Course, we provide you with 1,000 free CARS passages and 100+ homework assignments, giving you ample material to practice on. Reading countless passages while practicing the proper reading habits and strategies will prepare you well to conquer the CARS section as it was written by the AAMC.

Which books do the lessons match up with?

The books we use in each lesson are linked below. We plan to stick with these older editions of the books since very little has changed and the older editions are much more affordable:

First Edition of the Kaplan 7-book Series
First Edition of the Princeton 7-book Series

Do the chapters match up perfectly?

The Kaplan Books, Princeton Books, and Khan Academy Videos were all produced by different authors. For this reason, there are some chapters in the Kaplan Book or Princeton Book that are not even found in the Khan Academy Videos and vice versa. For instance, the Kaplan and Princeton Books have chapters that cover certain experimental procedures that the Khan Academy Videos do not cover.

Our goal in matching up the books with the videos was to correlate the content as best as possible while also covering ALL the content from every resource. For this reason, when nothing in the Kaplan Books matched up with one of the video playlists, instead of leaving the reading assignment for Kaplan blank, we inserted material that did not fit in anywhere else (i.e. one of those chapters on an experimental procedure that was not covered by Khan Academy). So, when the assignment doesn’t appear to match up right, please know that this was intentional.

*If you follow the reading assignments outlined, you will finish the entire Kaplan 7-book series and/or Princeton 7-book series by the time you finish all 10 content modules.

Do the sections match up perfectly?

If the sections assigned in our eCourse do not match up with the sections contained in your content review book, you may have a different edition. The sections should still match up the large majority of the time, but in the rare instance that they don’t, I’d recommend simply reading sections that do match up and saving the ones that do not for a future lesson.

MCAT Launchpad Required!

Before jumping into our free eCourse, you’ll need to complete orientation by watching MCAT Launchpad. During this free 35-minute intro session with Head Tutor Andrew, you’ll learn 6 Keys to Earning a Top MCAT Score, the 5 Essential Elements of an Effective Study Plan, 12 Tips for Taking the Best MCAT Study Notes, and more! Andrew will also provide you with a detailed overview of the Free MCAT Prep Course, teaching you how to get started.

Are you sure you want to skip today's special offer?

You will forfeit your 30% off coupon by continuing with Free Forever.

Save 20% off select tutors for this month only!  Save on Tutoring