Are you going to be taking your MCAT soon? Hopefully, you’re feeling well-prepared and confident … but chances are you’re feeling at least a bit nervous too. After all, if you fail to get a high enough score on the MCAT, you won’t be going to medical school.
Sometimes, how well you do can feel like it’s down to luck on the day. But there’s plenty you can do to make sure you pass the exam without even breaking a sweat.
Here are 3 crucial tips for getting a great score on your MCAT:
#1: Choose the Right Prep Course
There are a lot of different MCAT prep courses out there – and you want to choose one that’s right for you.
That means choosing a course that suits your learning style and one that’s going to help you in the areas that you know you’re weakest at. You can see some of the best MCAT courses out there in this article, which compares their pros and cons.
For instance, you might want a course that includes flashcards to help you learn through repetition. Or you might want a course that lets you add on a tutoring package, if you need some support with a particular area.
You may also want to opt for a course that has live lectures to attend: this can be particularly helpful if you struggle to set aside the time, or have the motivation, to study on your own schedule.
#2: Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Study (and Focus!)
Studying for the MCAT could easily take 3 – 6 months of full time work. Of course, this isn’t very realistic if you’re also working full-time – in which case, you might want to plan for a full year of studying.
However much (or little) time you have for studying, make the most of it. Simple things, like silencing your phone and switching off the TV can make a big difference.
If possible, create a consistent study schedule so that you get into the habit of studying at the same time of day, every day, or on the same days each week. Plan in some time for fun things, too, so you have something to look forward to as a reward for studying.
#3: Take Full-Length Practice Exams
The MCAT is a long exam (normally 7.5 hours in total, an hour of which is for breaks) – though in 2020, it’s been temporarily shortened to 5 hours 45 minutes due to Covid-19 restrictions.
If you’ve only ever done 1 or 2 hours sessions when practicing, you’ll struggle with the sustained focus you need for the whole exam.
Make sure you do several full-length practice exams. Treat them like the real thing: start at 8 a.m. and take breaks during the day like you would on the real thing.
That way, you’ll be used to the effort required to do all your exams in one burst – instead of studying for one part, doing a practice paper, then studying for the next, and so on.
Your MCAT may feel daunting – but with solid preparation and plenty of exam practice, you should sail through with no trouble at all.