how long study for MCAT

How Long Study For MCAT And When Should You Start?

When students decide to pursue a career in medicine, the next question is when to begin and how long study for MCAT. This post will help you figure them out.

June 17, 2022

You’ll need to start thinking about taking the MCAT after you’ve decided to go to medical school. Many people are concerned about the problem: “How long study for MCAT?”

This is a crucial issue to be addressed because if you don’t prepare ahead of time and give yourself adequate time to study, you might find yourself repeating the process for years.

You should really consider it, and this advice will assist you in doing so. This post not only discusses how much time you should spend studying for the MCAT but also gives a timeframe for when you should begin preparing so that you may submit your medical school applications on time.

how long study for MCAT

Do you get ready for the MCAT?

So, you’ve made the decision to go to medical school. Congratulations on making your choice! However, choosing this path of additional study is more complicated than just requesting admission to your desired medical school. Instead, you’ll have to work hard to get accepted, which involves producing confirmation of a passing MCAT score.

In a nutshell, the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a standardized exam that assesses your academic and practical understanding of a variety of medically important science disciplines. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult admissions-style tests available. As a result, many aspiring medical students wonder “how long do people study for the MCAT before taking the test”.

For a variety of reasons, this might be a difficult topic to answer. Nonetheless, this advice should assist you in better preparing for the MCAT by outlining how much time you should devote to studying and when you should begin. Overall, this tutorial should help you get started on building an MCAT study guide that suits your learning style.

How long study for MCAT?

This could be one of the most pressing concerns you have now that you know you’ll have to take the MCAT soon. That’s only fair because the response will likely influence when you schedule your exam, as well as any other commitments you make in the weeks leading up to the big day.

However, the solution may not be as satisfactory as you had hoped. That’s because the amount of time you’ll need to prepare for the MCAT is entirely dependent on you. Your preparation duration will be determined by your understanding of the required information as well as your readiness to take a lengthy, high-stakes test. Even your current level of commitment to your career and schooling might affect the amount of time you have to prepare.

However, previous MCAT test takers have shared information on “how long did you study for the MCAT”. On average, prospective medical students report they spend 3 to 6 months really preparing for the exam. This includes things like studying information, taking practice examinations, and enrolling in preparation classes. Some people have even completed all of this in a single month, albeit these exam takers aren’t often students who are already enrolled in classes.

So, how long should you study for MCAT?  Because each student is different, keep the following considerations in mind when determining how much time you’ll need:

You’ll require more time the more non-MCAT obligations you have. Some premed students set aside a summer, often following their junior year, to focus only on MCAT preparation.

2.5 to 3 months is generally enough time for those kids to be totally prepared. Many other premeds, on the other hand, must mix employment or college education with their study, which necessitates more time.

Many students may work full-time throughout their MCAT preparation and still do well, but if this is you, consider dedicating 4 to 5 months instead of 2-to 3.

It is recommended that you take at least five full-length tests. The MCAT takes 6 hours and 15 minutes to complete, not including breaks. Because you’ll want to prepare under test-like settings, each practice test will take nearly a full day to complete.

If you just have a few “empty” days in your personal calendar, you may need to lengthen your deadline or rearrange your obligations. The word “at least 5 “ is ideal here, but it depends on your circumstances, just like any other part of MCAT practice. It is far more vital to thoroughly review each practice exam than it is to cram as many examinations as possible.

Your timeline should be determined by your objectives and knowledge of the content. One point worth mentioning is the student’s familiarity with MCAT scientific content. Don’t worry if you’re a touch rusty on the content; most students don’t recall the ins and outs of acid-base chemistry or projectile motion from undergrad! The more knowledge you need to re-learn, however, the longer you should plan to prepare. Any content review should be added to at least 1.5 months of “strategy only” preparation (practice passages, full-length tests, review, etc.).

You don’t have to study for 8 to 12 hours every day. Here’s something a little more uplifting!  This is not only unneeded, but it may also lead to fatigue and irritation when life’s events unavoidably interfere. 

On a typical MCAT day, students are advised to study for 4-6 hours, with the apparent exception of practice exam days. If you manage your time well and continuously examine your deficiencies, you’ll discover that you have more than enough time to develop without having to put your entire life on wait.

Preparing for 4 months at 4 hours per day is often preferable to 2 months at 8 hours per day. Also, take vacations – your performance will improve!

How many hours to prepare for the MCAT in total?

how long study for MCAT

You should start focusing on your MCAT preparation on a smaller scale now that you have a basic notion of how long it will take you to prepare. To put it another way, you should start thinking about how many hours you’ll need to study for the MCAT overall and on a daily basis.

Again, your options may differ based on a number of extenuating factors. First, you might not spend the same amount of time preparing for each subject on the MCAT. When it comes to allocating study hours, if you feel more skilled in one topic than another (based on practice examinations), you may opt to prioritize your weaker areas.

Second, the number of hours you can devote to studying on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis may be determined by your life and commitments leading up to test day. While these commitments may limit your study time, it is critical that you arrange at least some study time each day. That way, you’ll be able to stay focused and on pace for a solid showing on test day.

With this in mind, many aspiring MCAT takers find it beneficial to set aside 1-2 hours each day for studying throughout their preparation time. You could also find it helpful to set that study time every day so that other obligations don’t interfere.


When you extend that program to a 3-6 month preparation period, you’ll realize that you’ll need to spend 200-300 hours studying for the MCAT. At first look, that may appear to be a lot, and it is. The MCAT is a difficult exam that tests not just the academic material but also critical thinking abilities. As a result, people who want to succeed must be ready to make a deliberate effort to fully prepare.

When should you begin preparing for the MCAT?

As previously said, one of the keys to success on the MCAT is preparation. So it’s only natural to wonder when such critical preparations should begin. Some people may believe that they should begin learning as soon as feasible. However, many potential exam takers are concerned about burnout while studying. As a result, limiting the majority of your studying to a specified pre-test time makes sense.

Of course, you won’t know how long your test period will be until you choose a date. After that, you may start working backward to figure out an informal “start date” for your MCAT study regimen. As previously stated, many test takers who sign up for a far-off exam date study for a full six months. Those with greater responsibilities, on the other hand, may choose a 3-month study time.

However, longer isn’t necessarily better. Some medical students claim that with only 1-2 months of focused preparation, they were able to pass the MCAT. In any event, when it comes to planning your MCAT study schedule, your past academic experiences should serve as a starting point.


You should have a clear grasp of “how long to study for MCAT” by now. If you’re still having trouble figuring out a study schedule that works for you, start by calculating how long you believe you’ll need to study. After that, you may start constructing a daily study schedule to keep you focused on your objective — a passing MCAT score.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!