The AAMC MCAT practice tests are crucial for MCAT preparation because they introduce you to the timing, material, and, most importantly, reasoning skills required for the actual exam.
If you don’t know yet what the AAMC material is for the MCAT, it’s the official practice material for the MCAT put out by the company that makes the test, the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).
There are practice tests, question banks, and other resources available. And because it’s all created by the actual test creator, it’s the closest thing to the genuine thing out there. That is to say, it is the best practice material available (by a long shot).
However, there will be a lot of differing viewpoints on when and how you should utilize it. Some individuals believe you should save it all until the finish, while others believe you should do it at the start of your studies, and so on.
So, in this post, I’ve outlined when and how you should use all of the AAMC resources to assist you earn the best MCAT score possible.
There are two AAMC MCAT materials that you must have:
- You have to get ALL the [AAMC full-length tests](https://students-residents.aamc.org/prepare-mcat-exam/practice-mcat-exam-official-low-cost-products)
To date, the AAMC has released five full-length practice tests: one that is unscored and four that are scored. The unscored test (also known as the Sample Test) provides percentage scores for each component but not scaled values (118-132 and 472-528).
Because it is not as reflective of the real test, the unscored/Sample Test is far less valuable. This test’s CARS section, in particular, is far too simple.
The four graded tests, on the other hand, are all excellent preparation and extremely indicative of the real examination. The difficulty of all four rated tests is about the same. As a result, they are generally very good predictors of your true score.
Because these four scored tests are so representative, you should store them until closer to your exam. I recommend doing one every week in the weeks preceding up to the test, with the last one being taken around 5-7 days before the test. If your exam was on March 31st, for example, this may look like this:
- March 3rd – Practice Exam 1
- March 10th – Practice Exam 2
- March 17th – Practice Exam 3
- March 24th – Practice Exam 4
- March 31st – Test Day
It’s crucial not to try to compress these four tests into a short period of time because you won’t have enough time to thoroughly review them. A full-length review usually takes one to two days to complete.
Because the Sample/unscored test is less representative, it can be taken at any time during your studies.
Finally, be certain that you perform all of these tests in a realistic setting. Take them on a timer, stick to the breaks, and if feasible, take them somewhere outside the house.
*** [The Section Bank]**(https://store.aamc.org/aamc-mcat-section-bank-online.html)
Apart from the full-length tests, this is the best science curriculum. Do this a month in advance. Alternately, do it twice: once when you first start studying and again a month before your exam. Don’t be too concerned with your grades.
You can also use the following AAMC MCAT resources:
- AAMC Flashcards:
The flashcards are arguably the most underappreciated aspect of the AAMC, and they’re a little odd. These aren’t your normal flashcards, despite the fact that they’re called flashcards. They’re simply practice problems that have been put on flashcards. So, if you’re looking for a set of flashcards to help you understand science phrases and concepts, these aren’t the ones you’re looking for.
But they’re still good practice problems, and I advocate utilizing them because they’re from the AAMC. There are 150 discrete questions on the flashcards, all from the science sections. You don’t have to wait until the day of your test to do these; you may do them whenever you like.
The Question Packs are from the old MCAT (pre-2015), therefore they aren’t as reflective of the current test in the sciences. That means you should use them as a content evaluation tool rather than a tool for realistic practice. That also means you don’t have to save these till right before your exam. The Question Packs can be completed at any moment during your studies.
The science Question Packs are useful, but they aren’t necessary because they aren’t as reflective of the new test. If you only have a limited amount of time before the test and must skip one piece of AAMC content, I recommend skipping the science Question Packs.
- The Official Guide to the MCAT:
The AAMC publishes the Official Guide, which includes some practice questions, however, you can also purchase the practice questions separately. There are 30 questions from each section of the MCAT, for a total of 120 questions.
Although the Official Guide questions are useful for practice, they are not as representative as the other AAMC materials. So, when you do these, it doesn’t really matter. You’re not required to save them. You also don’t have to keep track of time when answering these questions (though you can if you want to).
You should take your score with a grain of salt because it isn’t as representative and there are only a few questions per section. It isn’t always accurate in predicting your actual score.
How to get the most out of your AAMC resources?
You should treat your full-length MCAT practice tests as full exams. You must take them exactly as you would on the day of the event. You must act out a test day scenario.
- Get out of bed early at 7:30 am.
- Get to the library by 8 am.
- Start the test at 8:30 am.
- Get used to the idea that you’re taking the MCAT first thing in the morning.
- Stick very strictly to the timing. Give yourself the exact length of break normally permitted.