You’ve been working hard in school are you’re almost ready to take the MCAT. This is an important step in your academic career that will get you one step closer to your dreams of becoming a medical professional. The MCAT is an extensive test that assesses your knowledge, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
Make Time for the MCAT
It’s common for students to simply add their MCAT test date to their schedule and continue fulfilling their regular academic and job obligations. This often leads to delaying the MCAT test date or studying the test material several times which can lead to mental burnout. It may be a good idea to talk to your employer and let them know you are preparing for the MCAT so you can adjust your hours. You can also schedule the test when you have a lighter course load so you’ll have more time to study. During the course of your test prep, be sure to make time for yourself as well. This can lower your stress levels and increase the chances that you’ll remember the material you study.
Establish a Balance in Life
Some students clear their schedules so they can concentrate on studying for the MCAT. This may sound like a good idea, but it is easy to become overwhelmed if you use this tactic. You’re likely to feel guilty or anxious any time you’re not studying and you’ll probably miss out on important events and time with loved ones. Instead, treat studying like a full-time job so you can schedule breaks for yourself and take days off every once in a while. It may also be a good idea to take a volunteer position that you can add to your application. Keep in mind that eating and sleeping are not considered breaks — these are necessary actions you must maintain for your health.
Take Time for Self-Reflection
Whether you study on your own or use online MCAT tutors to help you retain the information you need for your test, you need to make sure you’re honest about the methods that work best for you. Does making flashcards for the test material work for you? Does taking notes after every chapter you read help you remember what you’re learning? The MCAT is drastically different from your undergrad courses. You have to be truthful about the study tactics that work best for you and make any necessary changes that will increase your chances of passing the test.
Plan Study Time Blocks
It’s crucial to plan your study time when you’re preparing for the MCAT. Time is of the essence as you balance your busy schedule and carve out time for self-care. When you plan your study blocks, you won’t waste valuable time figuring out what to study each time you get ready to review your test material. Create timelines for yourself so you’ll know how much time you have to focus on material for each section of the test. Be sure you know all application deadlines so you can submit the appropriate materials in a timely manner. When you schedule your study tasks in blocks, you’re more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment which can motivate you to continue striving for your goal.
Use Practice Questions
Practice tests are important because they give you a realistic idea of what will be on your test. You don’t want to spend time studying a particular subject only to find out that this material is not on the MCAT. Taking practice tests and quizzes as often as possible will also make you more familiar with the format of the test and make you feel more comfortable on the big day.
Take Several Opportunities to Practice
The MCAT is over seven hours, which makes the exam especially challenging. You have to train yourself to build up the endurance to take the test without losing your concentration. Space out your practice tests so you’ll have time to build mental endurance to lower your stress levels and make it easy for your brain to absorb the material you’re studying.
These tips can help ease your mind about taking the MCAT and boost your chances of passing the exam. The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to properly concentrate through the test and feel good about your results.