Much like other graduate admissions tests, the MCAT is notoriously intimidating. Starting early with the right preparation can give you the best chance at a higher score and possibly being accepted into your ideal program.
Make Use of Your Courses
A major advantage of the MCAT over other graduate admissions tests, like the GRE, is the test is designed around specific courses that should be part of a pre-med program. As soon as you know you will be pre-med, you should try to schedule certain courses so you can enroll in them well before you are scheduled to take the MCAT. Ideally, you will take your MCAT during the spring of your junior year so you will have another opportunity to retest during the fall of your senior year, if necessary, without missing medical school application deadlines.
Adhering to this schedule will give you the opportunity to make sure you can enroll in courses, such as genetics, cellular and molecular biology, and physics, with time to spare, even if you have to attend school in the summer or a much-needed course is only offered once per academic year.
Use AAMC Materials
Since the test is administered through the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), this should be your first resource for study materials outside of your lecture notes, textbooks, and old tests. Even free materials offered by the AAMC will give you an accurate idea of the types of questions on the MCAT, format, and time limits. One of the best types of study materials are mock tests. You want to try and take a mock test in similar conditions like a testing center and under time pressure.
Avoid taking mock tests at home or in other comfortable or familiar areas. Go to your school or public library, since it will be similar to the real testing environment. Re-creating this scenario will not only give you an idea of different areas of study that might be your weakness, but it will help you find weaknesses in your overall testing skills. Beyond knowledge, having good testing skills, such as time management and making logical choices for multiple-choice answers when you are unsure, are critical for performing your best.
Consider Personal Coaching
Instead of investing significant amounts of money in books and MCAT prep courses, it might be worth the money to invest in a personal coach or tutor. You should find someone who has been through the process, both taking the MCAT and applying (successfully) to medical school. A personal coach can pinpoint different areas of knowledge you need to work on and also give you helpful advance for studying.
Just like studying for classes, techniques like mnemonics, visualization, or kinesthetic learning, might help reinforce the material. Talking to someone who has gone through the process can reduce your stress and make the entire application process less overwhelming, especially when you need advice.
The minute you decide to become pre-med is when you begin your preparation for the MCAT and the medical school application process. Starting your preparations early will give you more opportunities to utilize different resources and possibly achieve a better test score. To learn more, contact services that provide MCAT private tutoring services.Share