One of the best tips for MCAT prep is to start early. Let’s just assume you’ve taken this advice and have been preparing for the MCAT for several months. And now the time is here – you are scheduled to take the MCAT in the near future. Use these last-minute MCAT prep ideas in the weeks and days leading up to your exam to boost your confidence and ease your worries.
Create a Study Schedule
Consider the date of your scheduled MCAT and create a study schedule that gives you ample time to review. Now, this does not mean cram. Instead, this means creating a schedule that provides time to do final reviews of each section of the MCAT:
• Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
• Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
• Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, and
• Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.
For example, dedicate one week of the final month before your scheduled MCAT to review each of the four sections.
However, don’t try to cram the day or evening before. This will hurt you more than it helps you. Instead, plan to spend the day before the exam relaxing as best you can.
Review MCAT Questions Using Practice Tests
In the weeks and days leading up to the MCAT, it is a good idea to take different practice tests. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which produces the exam, has online bundles with more than 2,300 MCAT questions written by test developers.
Not only will these practice tests help you feel more comfortable with the different types of MCAT questions, but the tests will also help you feel comfortable with the exam’s lengthy format. Some test takers have found it worthwhile to break the practice tests into sections and slowly add more sections until they can complete the entire practice test in one section.
Identify Your Weaknesses
The MCAT measures your understanding in several different content areas, such as chemistry, biology, psychology, biochemistry, and physics. Ideally, you’ve been building up your knowledge base since undergrad. Therefore, in the days leading up to the exam, it makes more sense to focus specifically on your weakest areas. Don’t waste time reviewing subjects you feel confident in.
Know What to Expect on Test Day
Knowing what to expect on exam day is one of the best ways to ease test anxiety. For instance, it’s a good idea to drive to the MCAT testing center to get an idea of where you will go and how much time it’ll take (keep traffic in mind). It is also wise to review the rules, such as what identification is needed and what food and drink items are allowed during exam breaks.
Take Care of Yourself
The MCAT is critical to your admission to medical school, so it is understandable to feel stressed. Do your best to ease stress in the last hours before the exam. Take a break from studying. Exercise. Spend time with loved ones. Set multiple alarms. Get a good’s night sleep. Eat a healthy breakfast. Believe in yourself.
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