MCAT Passage Timing Tip: Boost Your Answering Speed & MCAT Score

Not too long ago, we heard the question:

“How much time should I be giving myself per passage per question for the new MCAT?”

This is an important question and you’ll definitely want to incorporate what we’re about to tell you during your MCAT prep, if you want to take your MCAT performance and score to the next level.

Firstly keep in mind that the amount of time required to complete a given passage and its accompanying questions can vary, depending on the length and difficulty of the passage, the number of questions, and the difficulty of the questions.

With that being said, generally we advise 10 minutes for CARS, and 8 minutes for everything else.

That will give you enough time to go back and review for as much as 10 minutes.

When it comes to timing, we can’t stress enough to always time yourself no matter what kind of prep you’re doing.

Time your practice passages as well as your full length tests.

How much you know doesn’t matter if you can’t retrieve that information fast enough to answer the questions in the allotted amount of time.

When you first start studying and doing practice questions, chunk a few passages and questions together and give yourself a bit more time per question than you will have on the actual MCAT.

When you are doing your practice passages a few weeks into your prep and you decide to mimic a full length test (which we suggest you do), one strategy (for the old version MCAT) was to find 7 passages in a particular section that add up to 39 questions and find 13 free standing questions.

Use that approach for the new MCAT as well.

The most important thing is that you answer the questions correctly.

Once you have your systems and strategies in place, slowly give yourself less and less time until eventually, you can even give yourself less time than you will have on the actual MCAT.

Remember, this doesn’t mean rush! Rushing is counterproductive.

The goal is to stay effective, but fast. Not just fast.

What you are training for is to prevent yourself from getting into the habit of leisurely thinking through all the content you have learned every time you have to answer a question.

Timing yourself constantly will force you to get in the habit of thinking as efficiently as possible on test day.

P.S. We love hearing all of your MCAT success stories! We definitely want to continue reading about how our strategies have helped you dominate the MCAT! Please reach out to us here  once you get your scores back =)

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