The Time it Takes to Earn a Top MCAT Score

Based on our analysis of top MCAT scorers, there is no set amount of time that will guarantee you a high MCAT score. Some high scorers only studied a couple hundred hours or less while others needed to study more than one thousand hours. The reason why there is so much variability is that every student is extremely unique. For instance, students who have a strong natural ability for reading comprehension, students who had amazing pre-med professors that pushed them, and students that took their pre-med coursework seriously will likely need to study for fewer hours than their peers. 


Because there is so much variability, it is crucial that your approach to MCAT studying is unique to your needs. This is why we offer the Create-your-own Study Plan Course, which will help you approach your MCAT studying in an individualized manner. Although it is impossible to know exactly how much time you will need to set aside for your MCAT studying, it is still a good idea to have a rough estimate. From my experience helping students study for the MCAT, I believe it takes 50 to 75 hours of studying to improve your score by a single scaled score point. The Create-your-own Study Plan Course will walk you through taking a diagnostic exam, providing you with a detailed estimate as to how many hours you personally need to study in order to attain your goal score. 

If your test date is fast approaching, you may want to take a look back and think about how many hours you’ve devoted to studying for this test. Not studying enough total hours is a very common reason for failing to achieve one’s goal score. If you think you need more time to study for the MCAT before taking it, don’t be afraid to push your test date back. It is much better to reschedule than to achieve a less-than-ideal score. If at all possible, you’ll want to knock out the MCAT on your first try. 

Feeling a little unsure about how to start or how to move forward? Don’t hesitate to reach out. You can request a free 10-minute phone consultation by visiting my tutoring profile page. I’d love to help you figure out what you need to do in order to achieve MCAT success. If you are feeling behind in achieving your goals, we can get you set up with one of our Elite tutors who have extensive experience advising and tutoring for the MCAT. They will help you not only craft the perfect study plan, but also they will help give you the accountability and professional tips to help boost your score last-minute.

Warm regards,

Theo Bennett


Theo Bennett scored a perfect score (528) on the MCAT and has been accepted at Harvard, UPenn, Columbia, UCLA, and other top 10 medical schools across the country. You can learn more and sign up to work with him one-on-one here.

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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.

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