The MCAT is that impossible exam that we have been hearing about since the beginning of high school. It’s a monster of an exam and may seem intimidating, but there are small strategies that can help you reach your target score.
1. MAKE A SCHEDULE
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can offer. The most daunting part aspect of the MCAT is the sheer amount of information on it. The test makers pull information from so many different areas, and it can be very intimidating to approach it. That’s where the schedule comes in. Plan what topics you are going to review each day, when you are going to take practice exams, and what kind of materials you will use. Prior to making a schedule, I would start out the day without direction and it would take me a while to settle down and actually begin studying. Making a schedule helps you focus on your studying and keep track of what you have already reviewed.
2. SET AN MCAT DATE
When it comes to studying, it’s important to have something to work towards. It’s difficult to stay motivated, if there’s nothing to work towards. Having a set date will keep you on your schedule and will allow you to plan effectively to make sure your cover all the topics and take enough practice exams. Register for an MCAT exam and put that date on your schedule!
3. FOCUS ON YOUR WEAK AREAS
It can be very tempting to focus on the areas you know best, but you should be trying to improve your problem areas. While you should do problems on every topic, the crux of your studying should be spent on your weak areas. Taking the MCAT is like playing roulette: you never know what you are going to get. As a result, you have to try to sufficiently cover all the topics to prepare yourself for what may be on the exam. This means it is especially important to make sure that your weak areas improve and that you are comfortable answering questions on them. While it may get frustrating, remember that in the end, this will help you improve and reach your target score.
4. TAKE AS MANY PRACTICE EXAMS AS POSSIBLE
Practice exams are such an important part of the study process. The MCAT is a monster of an exam. It’s 7.5 hours long and is likely the longest exam you’ve ever taken. This means you need to build up your stamina. When studying for my MCAT, I would take a practice exam every Friday in my local library under test like conditions. This will get you in the mindset for exam day and is also a great way to track your progress. The MCAT is a physically and mentally exhausting exam, so the best way to approach it is to get used to the length.
5. USE AAMC MATERIALS
The AAMC, or the American Association of Medical Colleges, is the organization that creates the exam, so naturally it’s a good idea to use their materials to study. They have a few full length practice tests and question banks that will help you get ready for test day and get acclimated to their question style. These AAMC resources were invaluable and will help boost your score on test day.
The MCAT is daunting but we can definitely get through it. It takes real devotion and a bit of elbow grease, but with these strategies you will be able to reach your target score. Check out part one of our MCAT series and let us know about your MCAT study strategies in the comments below!