How To Get Free MCAT Questions
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) examination is the most important event in the quest to gain admission to Medical School. Although it is not the only thing that Medical School Admissions Offices look for, the MCAT score and your grade point average (GPA) are the numbers that count.
According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the purpose of the MCAT is very specific. It is formulated to test key skills that are specific to success in medical school. These skills include “natural, behavioral, and social sciences knowledge and analysis.”
Officially, the four sections are:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems.
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems.
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) section.
To be prepared for this marathon exam, you need to not just memorize the material, you need to be able to thoroughly understand it. While your official preparation won’t usually begin until three to six months before your exam date, it is important that you expose yourself to MCAT practice questions before your undergraduate education is complete.
Studying For The MCAT
A good starting point for preparing for the MCAT is to take a practice exam. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. It will also show you what exactly you are studying for. There are several free MCAT practice tests found both in the books and on the internet.
Once you have identified your strengths and weaknesses, it is important that you don’t just focus on one of them. Yes, you will need to strengthen your weaker areas, but don’t sacrifice your strengths by only focusing on the weaknesses. It is also important that you don’t just blindly memorize the material. You should be able to not only answer the MCAT questions but explain why the answer is correct.
Although it is, of course, possible, don’t try to do it all by yourself. At least have a friend to study with. It is also crucial that you don’t immerse yourself only in studying for the exam. You will need to maintain a work-life balance so that you don’t get burned out.
Beyond that, you will want to be familiar with what all is expected of you in terms of the exam itself. There are a lot of books out there to help you prepare. Do your homework. Take a look at what is offered and find the one that will truly help you review. There should be practice tests and flashcards. There should be a databank of MCAT questions that you can practice with.
One way to begin your exposure to MCAT practice questions is to enroll in an MCAT Question of the Day program. No two question of the day programs are the same. Some will only focus on a single aspect of the test. Some of these programs will be designed towards your individual learning while others will be actual sample exam questions. You will need to decide which type is better for your personal study preferences.
MCAT Question of the Day
The original MCAT question of the day program came from Mprep. Their questions come from official practice tests and are emailed to you each morning. They are straightforward, and you submit your answers. Their questions are close to MCAT formula. They can be free and standalone or they can be part of their paid prep course.
MCATSelfPrep.com is probably one of the better companies offering Questions of the Day. Their basic service is free, and their questions come with video explanations. They offer several levels of prep programs at a variety of prices. Their core belief is that no matter what the budget, everyone deserves a chance to test for medical school.
MCATQuestionoftheday.com offers high-quality questions to help you learn the material and stay sharp throughout your preparation for the exam. Each daily question is identified as to what part of the MCAT exam it is sampled from. It is possibly the best organized of all of these programs. They also offer study and preparation tips about the exam itself.
MotivateMD.com offers a question of the day free resource that sends you high-quality questions designed to mimic those found on the exam. They further offer detailed explanations of the answers. They have a variety of products to help you organize and prepare yourself not only for the exam but the application and interview processes as well.
Kaplan offers to send a question of the day to your inbox along with detailed descriptions of the answers. This is a free service of theirs although most of their products are paid. They also offer other “bite-sized” MCAT practice programs such as their 20-minute workout, pop-quiz, practice test, and Mini Bootcamp programs for free. Kaplan is one of the most popular exam prep courses.
Varsity Tutors offers free questions of the day from each separate section of the MCAT exam. This service offers several other free study aids and practice tests. A free account will also allow you to track your practice test progress throughout your MCAT prep experience.
Jack Westin has a great question of the day site for preparing for the CARS portion of the exam. The CARS questions are the ones that many students focus on the least. These questions are very telling to admissions offices as they are designed to tell whether you will be successful as a medical student.
Next Step Test Prep offers you a question of the day for every weekday. This site provides a question and an explanation of the answer. They also offer a free MCAT Practice Bundle in addition to a variety of paid prep services.
Finally, Chegg offers various tutoring services in addition to their question of the day service. Their service covers all four sections of the exam and you have access to all of their previous questions and answers as well.
Although at times, the quantity of information can seem overwhelming, when it comes to preparing for the MCAT, there is no such thing as having too many resources. Each of these sites are different in what they offer. With this extensive of a selection, you can decide which ones are better for your individual learning preference. It is important that you balance questions from all four sections in your prep and not just those you feel are your weaknesses.
Other Factors Towards Admission
Your MCAT scores and grade point average are two very important steps towards getting into Medical School, they are not the only important considerations. You should have a paper published or taken an important role in a research project by the time you complete your undergraduate degree. You will need to show your community involvement through volunteer work that preferably serves the medical community in some capacity.
When looking at the various aspects that they look at on your application, the admissions committees take special note of any extracurricular activities. These small details show them that you are capable of a healthy work-life balance.
While it almost seems like it is too soon to ask for some this, a huge factor in those who make the cut of the admissions programs is a preference for their students to have some degree of medical experience. This requirement is a difficult one to meet because it is illegal for you to provide medical treatment unless you are medical personnel with a degree and a license. Most candidates will shadow a doctor for a few days. Other candidates might become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) to gain this experience.
There is a better option that will give you your medical experience while at the same time being on an adventure of a lifetime while doing some important and life-changing work. There are opportunities to participate in an international internship shadowing doctors and nurses as they provide care in countries who do not normally have access to top-notch medical care. An International Medical Aid Healthcare Internship can provide you with much more than just shadowing opportunity. You can also gain recommendations, tutoring, interview practices, and unforgettable real-world experience.
Becoming a doctor can be a long and exhausting path. Preparing for medical school is hard enough as it is even without factoring in the marathon MCAT examination. However, if you have gotten through your undergrad preparation and are still motivated enough to begin to prepare for the MCAT, then you are right where you need to be.
There are a lot of resources out there for you to access what you need to prepare for the MCAT and ultimately gain admission to medical school. You are the only one who will know which preparation situation will work best with your study habits. It is not unheard of to use resources from several different sources.
If you are still confused as to where to begin, try a free MCAT practice test first. That will allow you to see what you are going to need to focus on. While the focused test prep comes as your MCAT date approaches, there is no time that could be considered too soon to begin with some questions of the day.
One thing that you should always remember during your preparation is that simply memorizing answers will never be enough for either the exam or for Medical School. You will need to completely understand the material and be able to explain it. Only then can you claim to really know it.