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KNOWLEDGE BASE Resources for successful prep with MCAT.me

Knowledge Base > Organize > Studying

Figure Out How Long You Will Need To Study

Quickly calculate an estimate for how long you will need to study based on material to cover and test date.

What to Consider

Your length of study will most certainly depend on very personal factors like your time availability and your prior familiarity with material. There will also be unknown factors that you will discover during the course of your prep that make an exact prediction unrealistic. These unknowns could include moving faster or slower through specific topics to achieve mastery, or honing a process of study that helps you learn and apply most efficiently.

Most importantly, you want to be able to set a realistic test date so that you don't get caught without having completed your preparation. So taking a look at how long it will take to go through your planned prep materials can be very useful. Be generous in the amount of time you are going to commit to studying before your exam. However, keep in mind as well, that you'll want to build and maintain momentum through test day and not lose retention of material studied earliest. Committing to a focused prep period that allows you time to move through material at a manageable but challenging pace helps you make it to test day with a well-oiled MCAT prep machine that is running at its peak and not burned out.

Estimate Study Duration

You can use the MCAT.me Study Plan Builder to get a look at how long you will be studying based on your materials, availability, and test date. As stated above, these are not the only factors you need to consider, so be mindful of your progress and performance throughout your prep.

Try the MCAT.me Study Plan Builder here!

Estimate by topic coverage

One option is to see how long it will take you to study if you were focusing on covering all material on the MCAT by topic.

Step One: Design Study Sessions
  1. Select topics to cover
  2. Click "Add study sessions" button
  3. Click "Next" to move on to scheduling
Study Plan Builder Select Topics Study Plan Builder Add study sessions and Next
Step Two: Define Schedule

You can use any of the three scheduling methods — Calculate, Drag-and-Drop, List — but "Calculate" is probably easiest for broad scheduling. (Later you may want to compartmentalize parts of your prep and use the other methods to schedule a subset of your study sessions.)

  1. Select the "Calculate" method
  2. Select Start and End dates
    • by estimate
    • by using the "Set Dates By Duration" helper
  3. Make customizations using "Schedule Design Options"
  4. Click "Schedule" to see your study sessions added to the calendar
Study Plan Builder Step Two scheduling methods

The following snapshot was created using:

  • Start date: June 30, 2018
  • End date: September 29, 2018
  • Days of the week: Tuesdays excluded
  • Buffer days: 7
  • Off days: July 4, 2018 and July 14, 2018

In this way, you can see that you'll be doubling or tripling up on what you will be studying to fit the given schedule parameters. You can test different scenarios here to see how changing your end date, days of the week, and the other factors will affect your schedule.

Study Plan Builder Calendar July example

Scheduling only one study session per day is achieved by extending the end date to January 5, 2018 (3 months to 6 months in duration).

Study Plan Builder Calendar July example singles

If all of your study sessions are not able to fit your schedule parameters, you will see a message "Unable to fit schedule with desired parameters.":

Study Plan Builder Unable to fit message

Estimate by resource coverage

Follow a similar process as the one outlined above to selecting from the "Resources" dropdown instead of "Topics" to design your study sessions. This process helps you see an estimated length of time it will take you to complete your planned prep.

Advanced Study Session Design

You can also set up your study sessions is a more advanced way to customize your approach. Here are a few ideas:

  • Set "Repetitions" (under the "Advanced" dropdown in Step One) to schedule more time on each study item
  • List "1 hour of studying" in the "Custom" study item dropdown and set "Repetitions" to 400 to simulate 400 total hours of study
  • Combine a complete review of selected resources with a complete review of topics
  • Use repetitions on a list of exercises as custom study items using "cycle" option (e.g. 50 x "Lecture<linebreak>Read<linebreak>Review notes")

When you are ready to set up your study schedule with MCAT.me, you may wish to use multiple study plans to compartmentalize parts of your prep. This organization will allow you to separately track progress or redistribute study sessions for each plan as well as to independently overlap planned schedules.

Happy planning!

Try the MCAT.me Study Plan Builder here!