When to Start Taking MCAT Full-length Exams
It is always a good idea to take as many full-length exams as you can before test day, but it can be hard to know when you should take them. Here are a few tips to help you sort through this:
Finish Content Review First. The reason I suggest finishing your content review before taking a full length will make sense as we discuss the three-fold purpose of taking a full-length exam:
- Put your knowledge into practice and get better at test-taking skills. The MCAT doesn’t just require you to memorize content, but it requires you to critically think about that content. In order to practice critically thinking about content, however, you must first have it memorized.
- Get an idea of where your scaled score currently stands. Because you can’t critically think about what you haven’t memorized, taking full-length exams before you have memorized all the content will give you an inaccurate representation of what score you might expect on test day.
- Develop test-day comfort and confidence. Taking full-length exams before you are ready for them will result in a false sense of what test day is going to be like, resulting in decreased comfort and confidence on test day. When you take a full-length, you want to feel like you are taking the real thing, which can only truly happen after you’ve covered all of the content.
Start Small. Although I don’t recommend taking full-length exams during the content review phase of studying, I highly recommend doing some form of practice every step of the way. For this reason, I’d recommend taking advantage of the thousands of Quizlet practice questions contained in each lesson of each content module. Also, be sure to regularly complete the AAMC Mini Exams (composed of AAMC Question Bank, Section Bank, and Flashcard questions) at the end of each content module of our Free MCAT Prep Course. These Mini Exams will allow you to put what you are learning into action, get a feel for what the actual MCAT will be like, and give you a sense of how your score is improving over time.
Save Your AAMC Full-lengths. You will want the last two full-lengths that you take right before test day to be from the AAMC. The reason for this is that AAMC full-lengths are known for giving you the most accurate estimate of how you will perform on test day. Getting a top score on an AAMC full-length right before test day will leave you feeling 100-percent confident as you walk in to take the actual MCAT. That top score is within your reach!
If you are not sure where to begin with your MCAT studying, be sure to start your MCAT study journey with our Free MCAT Prep Course. From there, if you need extra help making a customized study plan, be sure and reach out to one of our elite tutors. And if you have any questions along the way, be sure to reach out. I am here to help!
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