December 30, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
It may seem a bit contrary but starting your studies with a practice MCAT test will help you determine what your baseline score is and will also familiarize you with the layout of the test paper. Knowing where your strengths and weaknesses lie with regards to the test will help you create a more effective study plan.
Everyone has a different learning style. Knowing what works best for you can make a major impact when creating your study calendar as it helps you to select the appropriate prep materials that will match your learning style.
When it comes to prepping for the MCAT, there are numerous options. If you prefer to have someone else create a schedule for you to ensure that all of the material is reviewed in a timely manner, it may be a good idea to consider working with a good tutor. However, if you feel your time is better spent studying on your own schedule, you can create a more individualized review process, which gives you far more the flexibility in your study schedule.
Knowing what the MCAT involves is crucial if you want to pass this test. Learn as much as you can about the structure of the exam is how it is scored. Keep in mind that the layout and the structure of the test paper is changed or updated off and on so you need to make sure that what you are looking at is the latest trial papers. This will ensure that there are no surprises when you attempt the real thing. Apart from knowledge, the MCAT demands that you understand and evaluate all the presented material in order to solve all the problems. Completing the practice exams will help you gain a better understanding of the test.
Creating an action plan is very important and you must aim to create a manageable and realistic schedule. Aim at studying a minimum of 2 hours every day with some additional hours on weekends. When creating your prep calendar, always factor in your college course-load and other commitments that you might have.
It is important to include a few flexible days into the schedule you have created. There might be times when you feel you are running behind schedule and these flexible days are the ones you use to catch up and pick up pace.
You should also schedule certain days that you can use to complete and revise the practice exams and go through your prep period in a consistent manner. Ideally, your aim should be to complete a minimum of 8 practice exams before the actual test day. Track your progress on the exams regularly. Identify the trouble areas and then focus on them in your next study sessions.
Sticking to the schedule that you have drawn out for yourself is crucial when you are prepping for your MCAT. It might seem challenging but it is the one way of ensuring that you stay on track and perform well during the exam.