Taking exams can be stressful, but your success on the MCAT will depend completely on the time you put into your MCAT test prep. Planning your time well will effectively and efficiently prevent you from feeling unprepared and reduce exam stress to a large extent.
The Medical College Admission Test, (MCAT), is a standardized multiple-choice question exam. The exam assesses the skills in problem-solving and critical thinking capabilities. It also examines students’ preparedness for biological sciences, physical sciences, and social science principles. Several medical school admission committees use MCAT when considering a candidate’s aptitude for the medical profession.
The following are some tips that could come in handy when preparing for the MCAT, especially if you are taking the exam next week.
Plan in Advance
Creating a concrete study plan is a good idea. MCAT preparation is very important if you wish to achieve a competitive score. Make a study schedule that fits your style of studying and do not leave anything for the last minute. This will help you focus on the objective planned for your day and make sure that you don’t miss out any important topics.
The things like understanding a well-covered content and testing your knowledge on practice questions are equally important. Organize your study in such a way that you keep minimal time for the easier topics so that you can spend quality time on the tougher ones. Develop your own study routine and remember that while some prefer mornings, others are more productive late nights. Carve out time for practice questions!
Time Management & Organization
Time management is very important. So, always be sure to set up a time schedule for your studying. Hence, make yourself super organized! Use a spreadsheet to detail all the topics covered on the MCAT, and make an organized schedule including dates by which you will have each topic covered.
When you’re studying, you should feel as comfortable as possible and be able to focus well. Some people like complete silence but for others, background music helps. Its best, therefore, to organize your study zone to mimic your ideal study environment.
It’s always a good idea to take notes as your study. Annotate key points of each subject, and make sure to note down any areas that are shaky.
You can review these notes throughout your studies and be able to quickly reference any trouble areas.
It is important to put in as many hours as possible for your MCAT preparation. However, keep in mind that studies have proven that a little bit of leisure can make your brain more productive. Remember to take a brisk walk or take a break and eat a healthy snack.
Keep your body and brain well-fueled by choosing nutritious foods that have proved to aid concentration and memory since long. Don’t feel guilty about going out and enjoying the sunshine. Taking regular breaks helps in the retention of knowledge over the long term. Drinking plenty of water helps in keeping yourself stress-free and calm.
On Exam Day
For many MD and DO schools, your MCAT score is a huge factor for the admissions board. So do all you can to set yourself up for success on test day. Your mood and state of mind are as important as your exam preparation. Plan your test day in such a way that you have all the necessary things ready well in advance of the exam. Make a checklist of the items that you need to carry to the exam hall. Set your breakfast out the night before. Make sure your room is completely set up for a good night’s sleep the night before (is your noise machine working? Is your alarm working? Etc). Exercise the day before test day!
Keep in mind your travel time to reach the testing center and allocate some extra time, in case of traffic. You need to plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the exam. You should not be late. Moreover, you need to be well organized for and practical on the test day itself to make sure that you are able to focus and perform the best. Taking the MCAT will be stressful enough on its own. So, prepare in advance of test day, so that test day is a breeze (of course, other than taking the MCAT). Everything leading up to the exam should go smoothly.
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