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MCAT Study Techniques

Which types of methods have you been using to study for the MCAT? During the process, I have found that there are many unique studying methods to choose from. From flashcards to spaced repetition, it is imperative to understand that when used correctly, these techniques can make studying less stressful and even enjoyable!

Each method is designed for a unique purpose.

The most common MCAT techniques are:

  • Mnemonics: can be used to remember content

  • Formula Sheets: used to apply the content

  • Study sheets: used to compile all of the definitions you need to know for each chapter

  • Flowcharts: commonly used to draw out the content and make connections between various systems in biology or draw out chemical reactions.

  • Flashcards: used to build your knowledge of the foundation of the content through spaced repetition

  • Spaced Repetition: a method of taking the information you need and repeating it throughout multiple spaced out intervals

  • Visual Learning: learning through images or graphics

All of these techniques can be beneficial when studying for the MCAT as long as you find which method works for you! I find that using flashcards helps build in spaced repetition for subjects that will appear on the MCAT. The flashcards you make from your pre-requisite courses can even be used when it is time to start studying for your MCAT. An alternative technique that I find useful out of the various ones is mnemonics, which is a sentence with the first letter of the information you are trying to memorize. Mnemonics can be created in the form of catchy acronyms to help recall scientific information. For example, the phrase “Have No Fear Of Ice Cold Beer” is commonly used to remember the diatomic gasses at standard conditions: H2, N2, F2, O2, I2, Cl2, Br2. For any mnemonic, you create, be sure to make it as personal and memorable as you can.

While the MCAT is a difficult exam, some methods can make learning the information more enjoyable. It is important to choose which methods you will be incorporating into your MCAT preparation early in order to effectively learn the content and remember it for medical school. Additionally, you should choose the method that best fits your studying habits as one technique may work for you, but not for another person!

Thank you for reading,

Ilana Saidov


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