Every year, nearly 90,000 people take their shot at the Medical College Admission Test, or the MCAT for short. Those that have taken the test know you need to finish with a great score to get accepted into medical school, so it’s important to get it right. If you’re one of the thousands that’s planning on taking the test and are stressing out, it’s going to be just fine. Here are five tips to follow for studying that will help you reach your maximum potential.
5. Know the Requirements
There isn’t a uniform score that you need to get on your MCAT for every medical school. With that in mind, focus on what the requirements are for the school or schools where you’re applying. When you’ve found out what the schools require, you can set your expectations on the MCAT. This means that if you finish with a particular score, you can expect to get into one school over the other. Don’t just Google it and take the first result that you see, either. Make sure to contact the school directly and find their requirements.
4. Practice Tests
Among the first things that you’ll want to do is establish a baseline of your knowledge, and the best way to do that is through a practice test. After studying, presumably your score can only go up, so think of your first practice test score as your minimum and continue to practice as the months pass. Try not to take too many practice tests as you’ll end up feeling burnt out and might not be studying everything that you need to study. Instead, set a schedule of when you’ll take these tests, preferably twice per week.
3. Specify Your Study Time
Set aside a specific time of day in which you’re going to study for the MCAT, and specify each block of time what it is you’ll be studying. Set aside time to watch a certain video or read a certain chapter. The closer you stick to a schedule, the better you’ll use this time overall. Plan out your entire study schedule in advance; thinking of it the same way you would a college class. You’ll know what to expect every time, which helps put your mind at ease.
2. Take Time to Relax
Speaking of a restful mind, don’t spend every waking moment or every day studying for the MCAT. Sure, it will require more studying than anything else you’ve done in your life, but you’ll burn out quickly if you’re studying 14 hours per day. Set aside break days or hours in your day where you’re focused on something else. The information you’ve learned isn’t just going to magically disappear and you’ll be better prepared when you’re in a good state of mind on test day.
1. Start With Accuracy
Many of us are so focused on time that we forget to do things accurately, and that’s very true when it comes to tests like the MCAT. Because of the time limit, you’ll likely be focused on that rather than getting things right. When you’re taking your first practice test, completely ignore the time and work on your accuracy. If your accuracy is already top notch, you can then work on reducing the time it takes to finish for your highest score.