For those who have always had the dream of a career in the medical field, the MCAT may as well be the most important exam of your life. Ultimately, your performance in the MCAT will determine whether or not you get into medical school.
I mean. No pressure, right?
Many people do not perform as well as they would have liked simply because they only focus on passing the exam. Since the MCAT is made up of multiple sections, it is best that you not only plan for the exam, but also for the required studying. The only way to fully cover all sections is by allocating adequate time to all the sections.
For those who are getting ready, here is how to start studying for the MCAT and, you know, actually pass.
First up I’m going to suggest the same thing I always suggest. Because it gets results. Download the Unlimited Memory audiobook. Studying )especially for the MCAT) is not about how long you spend sitting at a desk. It’s about how much you can actually remember and take with you into that exam room.
That book is going to get you twice the results and it’s the first thing you should do if you haven’t already. I’ve mentioned it’s completely free, right?
Set a Goal (No Doi)
This may sound cliche but it could be the difference between passing and failing the test. I say this constantly but sitting at a desk for x number of hours is not a goal. Ideally, you want a long-term goal for the (for example) week and a short-term goal for each session.
Having a goal will give you a mental estimate of how much time to dedicate to studying for the MCAT. It goes without saying that if you want a higher score you will have to work harder and allocate more time for studying.
WIthout a clear and definite goal, you will be studying blindly without any measure to determine your progress. Once you have set your goal, it´s on to the next step.
Create a Study Plan
As is the case with plenty of other exams, this is the most important preparation step. A study plan will keep you on schedule and ensure that you study for every single bit of the MCAT.
It may seem pretty easy but creating a study plan is extremely complex. One of the main factors that will shape your study plan is the time of the year. If you are studying for the MCAT during the holidays, then it is much easier since the larger chunk of your day is free time. However, if you are studying during the school year, the process becomes a little tougher.
During the school year, you will have to factor in your classes and any other school activities. One advantage of studying during the school year is that most of the MCAT topics are similar to our regular school topics. You can, therefore, study for both your school exams and the MCAT at the same time.
With that in mind, the next thing to do is to create the actual study plan. The plan has to cover all the sections that are examinable. A good plan puts into account potential reasons that may alter the plan and creates time to get back on track.
Remember to be realistic when making your study plan. If you can only study for two hours a day, do not make a plan that will have you reading for six hours. Such plans are doomed to fail even before they are put into action. Make a plan that you can stick to.
If you make a great plan and stick to it, you can be sure that you will ace the MCAT.
Picking Your Study Strategy
For any exam, there are many ways to study and many study materials available to students. It should be noted that not all methods are effective and even in some cases, some study methods work for only a few people.
One of the decisions you will have to make is on attending a prep class. Prep classes are the best ways to get ready for the MCAT. The main disadvantage of prep classes is that they cost quite a lot of money. So the two questions that arise are whether or not you are disciplined enough to study at home and whether you have the money to pay for a prep class.
If you decide to study from home, you should make sure that you can stick to your study schedule. If you are unsure about yourself, it is advisable that you join a prep class. The classroom set up plus the small number of students will go a long way in sharpening your skill and knowledge on the upcoming exam. Alternatively, you can get someone who is good at either one or all of the topics and study with them.
You will also have to choose the study materials to use. Nowadays, there are so many free study materials that it makes little sense to buy the study materials. There are literally hundreds of sources for free and low-cost MCAT study materials online.
With that said, not all of these sources are legitimate or even approved as official study material for the MCAT. The best thing to do is to look for authorized study material and use them for your primary studying. They may, however, be a bit costly. As for the free online guides, they are best suited for the revision during final days as the exam gets closer.
Once you have planned on how to start studying for the MCAT, the final question is when to start studying. It is impossible to give an answer that will be right for everyone but for most, it is best to start as early as possible. As stated, MCAT is made up of different sections that in some cases are totally unrelated to each other. The only way to cover everything is by starting as soon as you can.
For a smooth transition, it is even better to study for the MCAT while still in high school. Nevertheless, do not forget to study for your normal classes since your GPA will also determine your admission into medical school.
Studying for the most important exam of your life may be a daunting task that could overwhelm you. To be adequately prepared for the exam, you need to do enough studying. The only way to do the necessary studying is by planning on how to start studying for the MCAT. In simple terms, you can say that to pass the MCAT, you need to plan not only for the exam but also for the studying process.