The MCAT, or Medical College Admissions Test, can be one of the most daunting tasks to a prospective medical student. As a result, there are many different suggestions and strategies for ensuring that you are as prepared as you can possibly be before going in and taking the exam.
1. Know what you need to prepare for
The best way to know how to prepare- know what it is you need to prepare for. Taking a practice test like the Kaplan MCAT practice test will let you know what the structure of the exam will look like, what types of questions you can expect, what areas you need to study more, and what areas you know well already. Having this experience can go a long way to making you more comfortable and a little less nervous when it is time to take the actual exam as you will know what you should be expecting.
2. Make sure you thoroughly understand the material
Because the material is so vast and needs to be known so thoroughly, the best way to ensure that you have learned and absorbed the material is to try explaining it in as simplest terms as possible. Imagine that you are trying to explain it to a child. If you are able to explain it in simple terms, it means that you have a thorough understanding of the material. This is a great way to make sure that you are truly prepared with the knowledge you need.
3. Study for your weaknesses
After taking the practice exam, you should have a good idea of what areas you have already mastered and what areas you need to focus some extra attention. Make you priority learning and understanding the areas where you struggle. Learn this with the technique above, by being able to explain it simply, so you are not intimidated by these sections when test day comes. There are many resources available to you while studying, so take advantage of those and spend the majority of your time and energy on the sections where you don’t feel comfortable.
4. Set a realistic study schedule for yourself
Most people associate big exams with cramming of material and long study days. This is usually counterproductive, though, as you are so tired and overwhelmed with material that you’re not able to retain the knowledge as well. Come up with a study schedule that is attainable and works for the way you learn. This can be done by scheduling certain subjects on a day, mixing up the subjects on the same day if that is how you learn, and scheduling rest days for yourself. Studying with others can also provide a support system for the days you feel overwhelmed, need a study partner, or need a sympathetic party. Having a community can also help you stick to your study schedule and help quiz you on your material.
5. Time yourself
In addition to a practice test, it may work to time yourself on different material throughout the studying process. This will get you used to working under time constraints and writing material under the pressure of a clock. This can go a long way towards helping you feel more confident on test day. It will also ensure you can relay the material in a timely manner.
The MCAT’s are a huge test, but with all the various ways there are to study, it’s entirely possible to find a way that works best for you. Giving yourself enough time and taking a practice test can go a long way towards alleviating a lot of your concerns in regards to the MCAT.