There are fewer things more important to a pre-medical student’s career than the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). These scores are used by medical schools to assess if a student has the knowledge and skills that are mandatory in the study of medicines. Yes, these exams can be immensely stressful but with the right focus and preparation, it is possible to crack them easily at the first attempt itself. The following are some helpful tips for students who are preparing for these exams.
1. Mind your budget
While medical tuition after the admission can reach as high as USD 50,000 or more every year, it is important to keep in mind that preparing for the MCAT can be an expensive affair as well. An average MCAT review course can start from USD 2,000. There are affordable free and online courses as well. Make sure you are not burning your college fund to prepare for the exams.
2. Take full-length practice tests
Taking these MCAT prep tests is the best method to prepare for the actual tests. While it may be difficult to do one everyday, truth is that the more full-length practice test papers you solve, the more prepared you are for the actual test.
Above everything else, try to remember that an unsatisfactory score in these practice tests does not mean that you are not ready for the medical school. It means that you have more subject areas to cover in your preparation. These tests will help you find weak spots in your preparation. Usually a practice test for every month should be helpful for your preparation.
3. Create a study schedule
Every student who has successfully cleared MCAT would advice you to create a study pattern. However, it is important to ensure that this study schedule is realistic and practical, so that you can adhere to it. Usually, an average MCAT aspirant studies for about 10-15 hours every week for about 5-6 months.
A practical study schedule starts with fewer hours and gradually becomes intense. Therefore, students also usually begin their preparation by spending 8-10 hours on an average every week and then devote more time as the big date approaches. It would be a good idea to use a planner and select subjects you would like to cover within a fixed time schedule.
4. Figure out a suitable learning technique
Every student is different and so their approach to learning is also different. It is important for a student to figure out which learning style works the best for them. Prep materials for MCAT are available in pictures, words and even audio formats. It is advisable to try different types of formats for different subjects to make the study schedule effective.
5. Don’t stay tied to your study desk
Haven’t we all heard that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy? Studies in neuroscience have shown that stress and tension can reduce the brain’s ability to retain information and store memories. However, regular exercise can counter those effects and strengthen brain’s functions. It means that to score well in the MCAT, you need to take time away from the test prep regularly for physical exercise, be it in the gym, dancing studio or the playground.
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