The MCAT is an important part if you are applying for the medical school admission. In order to pass this exam, a lot of preparation needs to be done.
But how does one prepare for the MCAT?
Below are some tips to help you prepare for the MCAT that will eventually improve your score.
1. Do Full-Length Practice Tests
Practice makes perfect and this is no exception for MCAT. You need to take as many MCAT practice tests as you can to help you gauge your abilities and knowledge. By doing more of the practical tests, you will know your strengths and weaknesses and you can set more time to work on those areas that need improvement.
2. Focus on Practice More Than Content Review
Practice helps you to build on your weak areas as you solidify your strength. For this reason, you should not sacrifice practice to do content review. While you still need knowledge of the science content, you should focus on your ability to apply basic knowledge and evaluate arguments.
3. Take Prep Course
Prep courses will help to keep you on track. It is a good way to identify where you are and what you need help with the most. There are numerous prep courses that you can find online. You just need to find one that works best with your goals and schedules.
4. Focus on Accuracy
An important tip when studying for the MCAT is to put a lot of focus on accuracy rather than on speed. Of course, speed is of importance. However, accuracy will help boost your MCAT score more effective because it will help to avoid careless mistakes.
Take some time to do practice tests without necessarily timing yourself. Once you have identified your most common mistakes and have dealt with their causes, you can now train to study quickly.
5. Do Group Study Sessions
If you perform well studying in groups, then it is only right that you get together with other students who are preparing for the MCAT. This is a good study strategy especially if you study together with some who are strong in your weak area. Studying together will not only motivate you, but also be beneficial for improving your MCAT score.
6. Practice in Real MCAT Conditions
When studying for MCAT, it pays to simulate real MCAT conditions to help you familiarize with what the actual test day will be like. Devote yourself to complete practice tests in one sitting and avoid distractions.
Take breaks between the sections and use them to take water or food. This approach will help you build the endurance that is necessary to tackle an actual MCAT test in one sitting. As you do this consistently, taking a full-length exam will feel normal and this will eliminate exam anxiety.
7. Choose Your Study Environment
You need to choose the best environment for you to study and practice for the upcoming test. While some students prefer quiet environments, they may be deafening especially if you intend to study for hours.
In this case, you can consider locations like restaurants, libraries, offices, bookstores and more. While these locations are less-than-ideal, they will teach you how to do practice tests and passages with distractions.
If you have been studying indoors for an extended time, consider shifting outdoors. For instance, you can go to the local park where you are moving around to get more motivation to study. Whichever environment you choose, just ensure that you are able to study and be productive.
8. Constant Self-Evaluation
You need to constantly self-evaluate yourself if you want to improve your MCAT score. Do as many practice tests as possible and use the results to identify the type of questions that you constantly miss.
Also, analyze the kind of mistakes that you often make and the passages that tend to slow you down. Use the results to set goals, review forgotten material and to teach yourself how to get better. Additionally, you should look at the answers you got right and see if you used a particular strategy.
9. Build Your Stamina
During the MCAT test, you will be working for several hours under stressful situations. Therefore, it is important to build your stamina beforehand. Learn how to work passages over long periods of time while taking shorter breaks. This way, you will build the endurance to comfortably concentrate for several hours at a time.
10. Manage Your Stress
Preparing for an exam is not only exhausting but also stressing. Often, students get test anxiety and they can get discouraged when they don’t score as well as they think they should.
This is why taking care of your mental and physical health is very important when preparing for MCAT. You need to eat healthy foods that will boost your brain power and give you more endurance.
For instance, you can indulge in vegetables, smoothies and salad as the test day nears. During the actual test day, bring along foods and drinks like sports drinks, and trail mix that will ensure your blood sugar levels remain consistent. However, try to refrain from excessive sugar and caffeine.
Another way to manage stress is by having good night sleep and taking naps during the day. Your priority should be to get enough sleep during the last few days before the actual test.
You can also undertake various activities that will help you unwind. For instance, take a walk, swim or do something else that you love. Small breaks are more recommendable than weekend long excursions.
When you create an effective MCAT study strategy, you are more likely to attain high scores. The above tips are very useful when you are preparing for the MCAT test. If you have limited time to the exam, ensure that you invest in a MCAT prep book to help you focus on your content review.
For more articles, visit OD Blog.