Preparing for your MCAT test date is a stressful step in the med school process. The test itself lasts 7 hours and 30 minutes, and the average amount of studying falls around 200 or 300 hours. With these daunting numbers, it can be hard to see where to begin with preparing. Here are some guidelines that may help with both studying and preparing mentally for a grueling exam.
Choose your test day
First, start out by choosing a test day that works best for you. For those still in college, you may want to plan around one of your breaks when you have a chunk of time to study. You can find all of the MCAT 2019 test dates here.
Gather your study materials
It’s up to you what materials you want to use to prepare, based on your personal preferences. Many people will use MCAT books from various exam prep companies. Others find that taking a class can be helpful for reviewing tough material, and provides a more enforced schedule. Practice tests are really helpful—an official practice test from the AAMC can be found online, and others made by exam prep companies are also available.
Make a study plan
Very important! Take out a calendar and review how much time you have until the test day. Plan out a schedule for when you’re going to go over each subject, and when you’re going to take practice tests. The practice tests are especially important, because they give you a sense of how your concentration will fare when you’re sitting down and taking this test for over 7 hours. We recommend taking more practice tests than less to help you build endurance. (Of course, it’s also an opportunity to find out what snacks are best for test-taking).
Stick to the plan
Now that you’ve made the plan, the hard part is keeping to it. If you’re enrolled in a class, that can help you stick to your schedule. If not, you can enlist the aid of your friends and family to make sure that you’re staying on track. Either way, keeping to your schedule can prevent last-minute cramming and stress.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself
Stay aware of what your body and mind are trying to tell you. If you have a plan and are following through, you shouldn’t feel like you need to study for every single second of the day. Take time to exercise, do activities that make you feel calmer and happier, and spend time with people who take your mind off the test. Make sure you’re sleeping enough! Studying is not worth sacrificing these things; rather, taking care of yourself and getting enough sleep will invigorate you and prevent you from getting overwhelmed.
Be prepared for test day
Make sure you know where your test location is, so that there are no surprises on the day of. Pack your favorite snacks and lunch. Get a good night’s sleep before the test. At this point, you’ve done everything you can to prepare, so cramming won’t make a difference. It’s much better to try and relax so that you can feel calm and well rested in the morning.
After many months and a long day of taking the test, it’ll be over! It will feel really nice to not have this on your mind anymore. Do something to celebrate; you deserve it!
We at Motivate MD want to wish you the best of luck for when you take the MCAT. Remember to believe in yourself and put in the hard work. We also offer a free MCAT question of the day posted on our Instagram to better prepare you for your big day.