How Many MCAT Practice Tests Should I Take?

When deciding how many MCAT practice tests you should take, you first need to understand the importance of taking practice tests when studying for the MCAT.

Doing lots of MCAT practice passages and problems is essential for doing well on the MCAT. This is mostly because it places you in the MCAT mindset.

What is the MCAT mindset?

In a nutshell, the MCAT mindset means thinking the way the MCAT test makers want you to think. How do they hide relevant information in passages? How do they try to trick you? What information does the AAMC think is most important?

Through experience we can become develop the ability to think in this way. This is why practicing MCAT problems is so helpful.

In addition to this, when we do practice problems we are engaging our brains in active learning. Later on, when you are reviewing MCAT problems, you will develop a better understanding of the material as you figure out why a certain problem is correct or incorrect.

Practicing full-length MCAT practice tests is especially important. In addition to everything mentioned above, you are also training your test-taking stamina. Sitting down for 7+ hours to take an exam is very challenging. The more we practice, the easier this will become.

So, How Many Practice MCATs Should I Take?

Now that we have discussed why it is important to take MCAT practice tests, let’s tackle the question: “how many MCAT practice tests should I take?”

You should take as many practice tests as possible… within reason. What do I mean by within reason? Well, it may not be helpful to take an MCAT practice test literally every day to the point where you burn out. You need to space tests out reasonably. There needs to be time in between your practice tests for you to study the material you are struggling with.

If you want a set goal in mind, I do have an actual number of exams that I recommend:

12 to 15 practice tests.

People tend to recommend closer to 11 but I believe you can push that number further. I personally increased my MCAT score by 12 raw points by taking over 12 practice tests. If you want to be better than average, you should take more practice tests than the average student.

Don’t Sacrifice Review Time

This is very important. Reviewing MCAT practice tests properly is essential to improving your score.

I mentioned above that you should take as many practice tests as possible within reason. Part of the “within reason” part means making sure you set aside enough time between MCAT practice tests to review them to the fullest. This means going over the questions you got wrong and the questions you got right.

Don’t take a practice test every day with a brief review afterward. In fact, you should be waiting until the next day to review your MCAT test so that your brain is well-rested.

When you are at the point in your studies where all you need to work on is practice tests, I recommend spending 2 days reviewing/recovering after a practice test before attacking the next one. Taking 1 day between exams can be done as well, just make sure you don’t get burnt out!

What If You Are Short On Time?

If you only have a few weeks to a month to study for the MCAT, you will want to take as many MCAT practice tests as possible without overwhelming yourself. I wrote a 1-month MCAT study guide particular for this case.

Generally speaking, you will want to take a practice test every 3 days. Possibly every 2 days if you are really pressed for time!

Where Do You Find MCAT Practice Tests?

First, we start with the AAMC material. You will have to buy the Official MCAT Prep Bundle from the AAMC. From this material alone we can knock out 9 of the practice tests. There are technically only 4 full-length practice tests (if you count the sample test) but that’s okay. You can “create” the last 5 exams by combining the section bank, question packs, and the official guide questions.

The way you create these custom exams is by essentially taking 60 questions from 4 different sections to simulate the real MCAT. I go into more detail in my 1-month guide.

After we run out of the AAMC material, we go to 3rd party MCAT companies. In my opinion, Blueprint (formally Nextstep) practice MCAT exams are the closest to the real deal. You can get one of their exams for free by signing up for their mailing list. They also have several others for purchase.


The number of MCAT practice tests you should take is going to differ depending on the situation and person. The most important take away from this article is to take as many MCAT practice tests as possible. You want to make sure you don’t get burnt out but you also want to challenge yourself.

Studying for the MCAT is like training to do a marathon. If you don’t go on long runs before the big race, you will have a lot of trouble finishing the actual marathon. The goal for the end of your MCAT studies is to feel like the real MCAT is just another practice test. It should not overwhelm you and it should definitely not make you overtired.

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