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Studying for the MCAT is one of the most stressful aspects of becoming a medical student. It requires months of studying and preparation. Finding the time to study in between classes, work, and other responsibilities can pose as a challenge.
Here are five ways to help you prepare for the MCAT.
Create a Study Plan
Start by checking out the MCAT guide from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to know what you need to study. Use this as a reference guide to create your study plan.
Make sure you set enough time aside to study. The ideal amount of time to study is 300 to 350 hours in the next six months. Also, it is important to be mindful of when the MCAT is and have an idea when you want to register for the test.
Once you come up with a study plan, gather all of your materials and resources so they’re always within reach. That way you’re not wasting most of your time looking for your studying materials.
There are free and low-cost resources that you can get from your college campus and fellow students. Once you have the right study materials, come up with a clever study plan.
Your study plan should include a combination of flashcards and textbooks. You can use them to remember names, dates, definitions, facts, and other important information. Keep your flashcards on you at all times, so you can squeeze in a cram session while you’re on the bus or waiting in line at the store.
Some flashcards come in the form of mobile apps which means you’ll never lose them unless you lose your phone. Although the MCAT does not test you on your memory, these skills can help you to answer difficult questions.
Make Good Use of Your Resources
While you can study on your own, it’s best to have a group of advisors, mentors, and students who can guide you on your path. Talk to mentors, students, or tutors and ask them what you should expect on the MCAT and if there are free resources that you could take advantage of.
It’s also good to get advice from other people who have scored high on the MCAT test. While they may have taken the earlier versions, they could provide valuable input that may help with your studying strategies.
If you have no one to consult with, talk to the pre-health advisors from the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professionals. Their role is to help students prepare for medical school and the MCAT with advice, resources, and networks.
Watch Online Tutorials & Videos
If you have trouble studying on your own, then you should take online tutorials or watch online videos. Most of these resources are free and interactive.
They contain all the information and strategies needed to pass the exam. Some of them help you determine which areas you should study and how to practice for the exam. During this time, you should join online forums to get help from others.
MCAT Online Prep
As stated before, the MCAT isn’t an exam that’s based on memorization. It tests your knowledge of critical thinking and scientific concepts when introduced to new information. These questions can help you develop a strong concept of the topics that are covered.
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Chances are, you never sat for an exam that’s quite as long as the MCAT. Even the SATs aren’t this long. You will have seven and a half hours to take the exam. MCAT online prep resources like online preparatory exams and practice tests are the best way to prepare your mind and body for such a long exam. Most online preparatory exams cover the strategies and skills needed to pass the exam. During the next six months, you should complete one test weekly or bi-weekly.
Get a Study Partner
If all else fails, get a study partner or join a study group. You can even form your own study group if you ask some of your friends to bring theirs.
You can get different approaches, perspectives, and resources for mastering this difficult exam. When you explain concepts to another person, it becomes easier to understand. Plus, you’ll be able to retain that information. Keep your study group limited to four people. Find people with various academic backgrounds and strengths so you can a well-rounded group.
When solving mathematical problems, a calculator isn’t allowed because these concepts should be done with pen and paper.
When writing an essay, come up with a central idea instead of individual concepts. You’ll have an hour for essay questions, which gives you plenty of time for math and grammar. With these tips, you can achieve a high score to boost your chances of receiving an acceptance letter into medical school.