The medical school admissions process can feel like a test of your will every time you sit down to study for the MCATs.
MCATs are tests administered only once a year by the MCAT test-taking affiliate in each U.S. state and territory. The tests measure the examinee’s knowledge of mathematics, verbal reasoning, physics, organic chemistry, and biological sciences.
Scores from the medical subject-specific standardized tests that applicants take to apply to medical school are used to evaluate applicants. In addition, applicants need to demonstrate how well they can think and analyze.
There’s no denying that studying for the test poses some significant challenges and tests your patience in ways that are difficult to express in words. But as demanding as it can appear to be, the rewards of passing the MCATs and getting accepted into medical school can be even sweeter when you’re studying for the test successfully.
With a little bit of time and effort, you can quickly improve your study habits and pass the MCATs the first time around. In this free MCAT study guide, you’ll learn valuable tips, tricks, and techniques to help you study for the MCAT with greater efficiency.
Make a Plan and Stick To It
The first thing to do is make a well-thought-out plan before taking on a task that might be daunting if you don’t know where to start. Ask yourself, where do you need to improve? What topics should you focus on? How many hours per week should you study for the test?
There are many resources available online that you can use to your advantage. For example, the MCAT prep company, Kaplan Test Prep, offers free resources online and an app that’s compatible with Apple and Android devices. The website also provides an online program called the MCAT Interactive Study Program, which provides students with personalized content and feedback on their progress.
In addition to studying for the MCATs, students can also gain access to more than 500 practice questions that they can use to assess their knowledge of the topics covered in the test.
The issue of practice questions brings us to our next point.
Don’t Be Afraid To Take a Practice Test
Some people shy away from practicing for the MCAT because they are intimidated by its challenging nature. However, practice tests are crucial for preparing to take the MCAT.
These practice exams will prepare you for what you might encounter on test day. The best advice is to set aside time each day, study, and then take a break before coming back later in the day or evening. If you can set aside time each day, you will be able to improve your performance over time.
So, don’t be afraid to take a practice test since it won’t be nearly as tricky as the real thing.
After all, many students have taken these practice tests and found them to help prepare for the MCATs. They also provide some insight into how you might do on certain medical school entrance exam sections that you may not have anticipated beforehand.
Another way that many people find helpful is using flashcards. Flashcards are excellent for memorizing information quickly and easily. You can make your own or buy printable ones from the internet. Practice them with friends and family members so that you get the opportunity to take a break from studying and have some fun at the same time!
Join/Form MCAT Study Groups
One of the most effective ways to study for the MCAT is to form a study group. This allows people to learn from each other and share ideas about what works best for them. While there’s no limit to how many people can be in an MCAT study group, a group that will work efficiently should ideally consist of five to ten members.
You and your group members could organize and purchase a prep course from an online or offline company. These courses often include information on how to study for specific sections of the MCAT and are great options for individuals who need help with understanding a specific subject area or passage in particular.
Get Exposure To Different Materials
One of the most effective ways to prepare for the MCAT is by studying materials that cover a wide range of topics. You need to learn concepts related to each other, even if they have different names.
For example, you might be learning about cells and their functions in biology. This will help you understand more about why cells are essential in your body’s functioning and how they are similar or different from one another.
Another great way to prepare for the MCAT is by reading articles about test day itself, such as this article discussing what students should know before taking their MCATs.
You can find advice on everything from what to do during the day before your test to what type of questions you should expect. These articles provide helpful insights into the process and give you an idea of what to expect on exam day.
One other brilliant way of gathering information about the MCAT is to visit the Association of American Medical Colleges website and view the MCAT FAQs. This will give you a brief overview of what the test entails, how long it takes, and how it is scored.
Eat Healthily, Sleep Well, and Stay Hydrated
If you think about it, knowing how to study for the MCATs is a lot like looking for a marathon. You need to prepare physically and mentally to have enough energy and clarity to tackle difficult questions and topics.
Getting some exercise, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated can help you succeed. If you feel tired or fuzzy, take a break from studying and try to get some sleep.
It is recommended that one gets eight hours of sleep each night to be well-rested and ready for the day. A lack of sleep can adversely affect your physical and mental health and your performance in school or work.
In addition, it is essential to stay hydrated during the day by drinking water. Studies have found that even mild dehydration can make cognition worse than normal. As a result, staying hydrated will help improve your cognitive functions.
Remember, a healthy body is a happy body. The more you take care of it, the better your energy levels will be during and after the MCAT tests.
To Sum It Up
The key to passing the MCATs is incorporating a holistic approach to studying. You need to do more than just cram for the test. You need to incorporate effective study strategies and techniques to make you a more efficient test-taker who is better prepared for the MCATs in the long term.
But even though you need to spend time preparing, it is important not to obsess over this process. You should be able to focus on other things in your life and still prepare for the MCATs.