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Medical students who are preparing for the MCAT need to do more than memorize a bunch of facts! To qualify for the MCAT, you’ll want to take practice tests and flashcards, but you’ll also like to learn how to study smarter. For most medical students, this means managing your time well to fit all the different parts of your preparation. But if you manage your study time well and note the strategies that work for you, you will be able to do well on the MCAT exam. To ensure that you’re managing your study well, we’ve provided tips to help you.
1. Prioritise MCAT Test Preparation
Step one to ace the best MCAT is for you to ensure that you put enough time, and energy into your preparation. To do your best work, you need to be dedicated. This means making practice tests with an MCAT tutor a priority, whether in a book or on test day. You also want to note how much time you devote to studying for the weekly exam. Start by making a schedule that shows you the exact time you will spend on each section, so you aren’t wasting your time. It would help if you also planned which days, and times to study, whether during class, after school, or before bed. You’ll also want to ensure that you schedule sufficient time for review, marking down every question, and answer on your flashcards after studying them.
2. Give Yourself Enough Time
This means you may be busy with other exams, and responsibilities for a few months before you have time to focus on the MCAT. Make sure that you allow yourself enough time to study for the exam. If possible, save enough time from your schedule so that all your studying takes place before you register, not during it. If you put yourself on a deadline to get started on your study, you’re probably going to find that you’re cramming every spare minute into studying for your practice tests. This is a bad idea because it puts too much pressure on yourself and doesn’t give you enough time to learn the material.
3. Create a Detailed Schedule
When preparing for the MCAT, it’s crucial to create a study schedule that fits your personal needs. If you’re prioritizing MCAT test preparation, it is essential to understand that the more time you allot to study, the more accuracy you will have in your results. Your practice should be time-limited, so you don’t lose focus after a couple of weeks. You should also note how long each section takes, and how much time it takes you to do well. This will help you adapt your study procedure for MCAT prep and give yourself the best chance at scoring high on the test.
4. Focus on the Quality, Not Quantity, of MCAT Prep
While you should allow yourself time to study for the MCAT, you will probably have to learn a lot of flashcards, practice questions, and material to do your best work during test prep. Don’t feel like you need to cram a lot of information in the first few weeks before test day. Focus on learning the material well, and ensure you’re retaining it. This will help you focus and give yourself a good foundation to build your study. Spend time reviewing explanations that you don’t understand so that you can master the material. You want to ensure that this time will be the most productive and meaningful for you. Even if you don’t think studying for the MCAT is that important to your career, it’s still a beneficial way of showing off what you know, and how much effort you put in.
5. Analyse Your Learning Style
Your MCAT test prep should be tailored to your learning style, and study habits. If you are someone who does better with flashcards than practice questions, then don’t waste time during your review on meaningless practice tests. You’ll want to use these tests to test yourself, but you also want to examine your answers and see where you went wrong to improve. This should be done early on while preparing for the exam to adapt your study to your learning style. If possible, look at other practice tests, find out how well they worked for you, and which questions were most effective for helping you learn more about the material. Find out what study methods work well for you to continue practicing them throughout your preparation.
6. Use Practice Questions and Exams to Learn
When studying, it’s important to use practice questions and exams to learn new material. Look at what kind of information you can remember best when looking at flashcards or the MCAT exam itself. Build your foundation by reviewing the information that you already know so that you can absorb and reflect on new knowledge. Use the flashcards and practice questions to identify key concepts in each subject to help solidify learning before moving on. Practice tests and exams will help you learn more about the ideas you haven’t previously studied, so don’t miss out on this element.
7. Research MCAT Score Requirements
The MCAT is an exam designed to test medical students’ knowledge in residency preparation. That means that it should be challenging and designed to test what you’re already learning. But if you’re not accustomed to the level of material presented, it could take a while to learn all the information on the exam. Before you can prepare for the MCAT, you want to make sure that you know about your score expectations.
8. Plan Ahead for Test Day
If you have time, it is vital to plan your studying for the MCAT to give yourself a good foundation. Figure out how many days you will need to study and what your study schedule should look like. If possible, use a study schedule that gives you adequate time to prepare well. If you are learning by yourself, then it’s also important to talk with your friends so that they can keep track of your progress, and how much time you spend on each section.
There are many good reasons to study for the MCAT and gain entrance into a medical school. While you can’t control how much of your studies will be covered on the test, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put in the effort. If you are able to score high on the MCAT, then it is an achievement that will go a long way toward securing a good spot in medical school.