How to use 21st Night to study for the MCAT

by Trevor Klee, Tutor

tl;dr: do content review from Khan Academy, questions from the section bank and full length tests (and question packs and UWorld if you need to). Put any questions or content you find tricky into 21st Night. Follow the 21st Night review schedule.

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1. Your overall MCAT studying process

a) Start with a diagnostic test. What are your specific strengths and weaknesses? Use the error log to discern the patterns.

-Put any questions you get wrong in 21st Night, as well as the explanations.

b) If you’re missing content, review the Khan Academy videos (linked from the diagnostic test) for the required information.

Employ active review: pause the video, write notes, and form mental connections between what was just covered, what’s been covered, and the overall topic.

You can also make questions on the content 21st Night to test yourself. Write the questions into 21st Night, then link to the appropriate time stamps in the Youtube video.

c) Do Khan Academy and AAMC questions to focus on what you’ve reviewed, as well as the content surrounding it.

Put any questions you have trouble with into 21st Night. You can include any Khan Academy videos into your explanations.

Don’t worry about speed for right now, that comes with being confident and fluent in the techniques. As the old Army saying goes, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Focus on being smooth in your answering process.

d) Once you feel like you’ve covered your initial weaknesses, or you feel confused about about what to do next, take a practice test from AAMC. Then start with a) again.

e) There are two parts to studying for the MCAT.

One part is like being a marathon runner. You need to put the miles in on the pavement to run a marathon. Anyone can do it, but it takes effort.

Putting your incorrect questions into 21st Night is like putting the miles on the pavement. Reviewing wrong questions over and over again kind of sucks, but that’s how you learn.

The second part is like being your own coach. You need to reflect on your own progress and what you get wrong and right. 21st Night can help you with, both with the filter screen and with the Google Sheet.

What are the patterns in what you get wrong? What techniques do you have difficulty applying?

2. Your MCAT materials


-AAMC Full Length tests

-AAMC Section bank questions

-Khan Academy videos

–21st Night


-Other AAMC question packs (if you need additional review)

-UWorld question packs (Ditto)

3. Your MCAT study plan

Short MCAT study plan

-Plan for roughly 300 hours of serious studying to get a good score (90th percentile or above)

-So, plan to spend 4 months spending 20 hours a week studying (to give yourself some wiggle room)

-That’s 2 hours a day on weekdays, 5-8 hours a day on weekends (the longer stretches of time are for full length practice tests)

-It’s a lot! But packing it all into a few months is the best way to do it. People get discouraged when they spend a year or two  working on the MCAT, especially when it’s hard to see yourself making improvements week by week. Packing it into a short time prevents that.

Long MCAT study plan

-Here’s a link to a free, detailed 16 week MCAT study plan by Nick Morriss, 99th percentile MCAT tutor.

4. How to study the content tested on the MCAT

This is how you should approach the content for the first and subsequent times

a) Be engaged with the videos. Make sure you are taking notes that aren’t just transcripts of what the video said. Think about the material presented and write it down in your own words.

b) Put your notes into 21st Night. Use cloze deletion and manufacture questions so that you’re forced to review that content until you’ve mastered it.

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