Studying for any test is not easy. Studying for a highly competitive test like the pre-med test, with so much other stuff going on like a full course load or even work, and maybe even family and friends, makes the task doubly difficult. It is therefore important to take time off to prepare so that you can score highly and get into a good school.
Here are a few tips to help you organize yourself for MCAT prep from individuals who have been down that road and come out triumphant. There is no standard way that everyone should go about it, but there are a few tricks that will help make things easier.
- Find out as much as you can about the test.
When you do this, you can assess how much you know, figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and figure out how much time you have to dedicate in order for you to achieve a score that will get you into the school of your choice.
- Armed with the information above, make a study plan for your MCAT Prep.
Decide if you are going to drop everything and devote yourself entirely to the test or if you are going to juggle work and school and other commitments alongside preparations for the test.
- Are you going to prepare as an individual or in a group/what are the pros and cons of each method?
It is advisable that you do as much individual studying as possible and limit the group MCAT prep to a few hours a day. When choosing a group, make it a maximum of 6 members so as to keep productivity and organization at its peak, but 4 members is the ideal. Big groups are harder to organize, and you might find that it is hard to schedule a time that everyone will be comfortable with. Make sure that the members of your group cut across different backgrounds and strengths so that there is a variety to share and different approaches to different subjects so that the experience is equally fruitful for all the members. Please understand that group study does not negate individual study even before you are all due to meet for a discussion.
- Do as many practice tests as you can.
These help you get the feel of the real thing. Do timed tests, do open book tests, do a combination of everything. Do not forget to analyze your answers to know why you failed or even how you passed in the event that you just made the right guess. Practice tests help you to see what areas still need more work and which areas of study your strengths lay.
- Get a tutor.
If it gets overwhelming, there are lots of professionals that can guide you during your MCAT prep. They can help you practice and guide you on the topics you can’t seem to get a grip on and so much more. This helps you build your confidence and get you mentally prepared for the exam.
Remember to pace yourself and keep both your physical and mental health in check because this will determine how much you retain from your study sessions. Good luck, students!