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Students coordinating their research with the Project Leader in a similarly-structured project (Europe).

Applying to Med/PA School

A Pre-Med’s Take on the Best Online Resources for MCAT Prep

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About Ryan

Ryan Hodge graduated from North Central College in May of 2021 as a biology major and Spanish minor on the pre-medicine track. After his sophomore year, he participated in the Atlantis Summer 2019 shadowing program in Tarragona, Spain.

Is The MCAT The Most Important Test Ever?

Pre-meds everywhere realize the journey to becoming a physician is not an easy task. Students must volunteer in clinical settings to show they have a passion for helping others, work alongside physicians to show admissions committees they understand to a degree what it’s like to be a medical doctor, and shadow different medical specialties so they know the different branches of medicine that are out there. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, pre-med students must perform well enough in school to earn good grades and score well on the MCAT. A student can do all the shadowing in the world, but if they don’t do well enough on the MCAT, they will have a difficult time trying to enter medical school. Receiving a strong MCAT score is often what opens the door to allow admissions committees to look at your application. Many online resources offer great tips and advice for scoring well on the test. 

Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep offers a wide variety of resources to the eager student who is looking to take the MCAT. Whether you are taking the test in less than a month, in 1-3 months, or more than three months, Kaplan offers techniques and strategies that will help you prepare. The site offers a live online course that allows you to tune in every week to watch a three-hour class instructed by a Kaplan Professor who scored a 515+ or greater on the MCAT – which is a very strong score and in the 90% of those who take the exam! If you are struggling along your test prep journey, Kaplan offers private one-on-one tutoring. Whether you are struggling in the CARS section or the Psychology and Sociology section, you can hire a private tutor who will help you with your specific needs. A purchase of a Kaplan program includes study guide review books for each section of the test, along with a Kaplan Qbank, which contains quizzes that are tailored to your strengths and weaknesses.


‘Master the MCAT and Perform Your Best’ preaches UWorld. The authors of UWorld are subject matter experts with incredible knowledge of the basic sciences, humanities, and social sciences. With over 2,000 premium MCAT-style questions, detailed rationales for all answer options, and performance tracking that allows the student to identify weaknesses and improve skills, UWorld is a hot resource when it comes to mastering the MCAT. 

Medical School Headquarters by Dr. Ryan Gray

Dr. Ryan Gray was an Air Force flight surgeon before becoming a pre-med advisor specialist. Through Medical School Headquarters, Dr. Ryan Gray has provided free and unique resources for pre-med students. He offers podcasts that cover a wide variety of topics like how to study certain MCAT subjects. During my time studying for the MCAT, I would listen to podcasts about ways to answer psychology and sociology questions while mowing my backyard. While working out I listened to Dr. Gray speak of how to best eliminate answer choices when presented with a difficult ‘True or False’ question on any topic. During my long commutes home I’d listen to how to tackle physics problems that deal with the viscosity of blood. Dr. Gray’s podcasts were instrumental, and I didn’t even scratch the surface of the many other free resources he offers to students. One idea that did stick out to me from listening to him was the idea of freeing up time to study. He mentioned trying to shadow, volunteer, and work as much as possible before you start studying for the MCAT so you can invest all of your time and energy into studying for possibly the biggest test of your life up until this point.

Opportunities Outside of Studying

With Dr. Gray’s tip in mind about shadowing before you start studying for the MCAT, I embarked on a shadowing trip with Atlantis in the summer of 2019 where we traveled to Tarragona, Spain. During my three-week trip, I shadowed orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, internists, and ER physicians. The summer after my trip, I started studying for the MCAT. Accumulating 60+ hours of shadowing experience before studying allowed me to devote much more time to MCAT studies. Participating in Atlantis physician shadowing helped me do my shadowing in a condensed timeframe while also getting to experience a new culture abroad. During my MCAT studies, I wasn’t worried about reaching out to local MDs to see if there were opportunities to shadow. Flying home from Spain, it felt as though I checked off a box, and I could move on to my next challenge being the MCAT. Dr. Gray, and others online, mention performing your shadowing, volunteering, and working responsibilities outside of the time frame you study for the MCAT. One of the most significant and important tests of your life will be challenging and will require much of your energy and focus- so go all-in by checking off boxes earlier!

Cover of the Medical School Admissions Guide.

Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook guidebook — download yours.

Our Alumni Enter Great Medical Schools

John Daines headshot.

John Daines

  • Atlantis '17
  • Brigham Young University '19
  • Washington U. in St. Louis MD '23
Zoey Petitt headshot.

Zoey Petitt

  • Atlantis '17
  • U. of Arizona '18
  • Duke MD '23
Yong hun Kim headshot.

Yong-hun Kim

  • Atlantis '17
  • Stanford '19
  • Mayo Clinic MD '24
Megan Branson headshot.

Megan Branson

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Montana '19
  • U. of Washington MD '24
Sarah Emerick headshot.

Sarah Emerick

  • Atlantis '19
  • Eckerd College '20
  • Indiana U. MD '25
Snow Nwankwo headshot.

Snow Nwankwo

  • Atlantis '19
  • Catholic U. of America '21
  • Georgetown U. MD '26
Tiffany Hu headshot.

Tiffany Hu

  • Atlantis '16
  • U. of Maryland '17
  • U. of Michigan MD '22
Lauren Cox headshot.

Lauren Cox

  • Atlantis '18
  • Louisiana Tech '20
  • U. of Arkansas MD '24
Kayla Riegler headshot.

Kayla Riegler

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Kentucky '20
  • U. of Kentucky MD '24

About Atlantis

Atlantis is the leader in pre-health shadowing and clinical experience, offering short-term programs (1-10 weeks) over academic breaks for U.S. pre-health undergraduates. Medical schools want 3 things: (1)healthcare exposure, (2)GPA/MCAT, and (3)certain competencies. Atlantis gives you a great version of (1), frees you to focus on (2), and cultivates/shows (3) to medical school admissions committees.

A student smiling and learning how to kayak.

Watch Video: The Atlantis Shadowing Experience and How it Helps In Your Med/PA Admissions Future

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Cover of the Medical School Admissions Guide.
Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook — download yours.