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Studying for the MCAT – 5 Tips for Success

  1. Curate a Detailed Study Schedule 

Avoid procrastination and give yourself enough time to study and practice. This constant regimen will hopefully keep your nerves at bay. Pre-med students need approximately 200 to 300 hours to study and there is a lot of content to uptake. We recommend using the Shemmassian MCAT Study Schedule to stay on track. Their guide gives you different study plans that will fit your lifestyle best – accounting for all other commitments like school, work, volunteering, personal time, etc. Construct your detailed plan of action and stick to it! 

  1. Learn How to Study 

Hopefully, you’ve already mastered the art of studying, but if not, this would be a great time to figure it out. Whether you learn better through active recall, visual learning, or tactile methods, studying for the MCAT requires a great deal of memory and knowledge acquisition – use your learning style to your advantage. Try different approaches to pinpoint what works well for you. 

  1. Build your MCAT support team. 

Joining or creating an MCAT study group is a great idea. Your peers may not only help you prepare more effectively, but they can also provide much-needed companionship during this difficult and exciting time. 

Find a mentor; someone who has already taken the test and has succeeded with flying colours. This can be a person who is already a doctor or someone in medical school. They can help guide you and assure you of any doubts. They’ll steer you directly into a path of success and negate or help you through challenging moments 
Outside of your peers, talk to your family, friends, and roommates. These people are rooting and advocating for you. If you need any sort of help, they’ll be there and want to support you.  

  1. Relax 

This part of your life will be stressful, no doubt. Aspiring to be a doctor is not an easy path. But it’s important to keep up with your health the same way you keep up with studying. It’s easy to fall into the cycle of eat, sleep, work, repeat – but burnout can sneak up just as easily. Self-care can come in many forms, such as: 

  • Meditation breaks 
  • Skin-care routines 
  • Physical exercise (walking, running, yoga, working out, etc.) 
  • Eating healthy meals and snacks 

You can create a plan for self-care similar to your plan for studying. Fit it in, no matter how busy you are. 

  1. Simulate the Real Test 

To reduce your stress and anxiety while building your endurance and focus maintenance, take a full-length practice test in one go. Do everything, and we mean everything, you would do on your real test day. From waking up at a specific time to starting the exam at the scheduled period and following the breaks as well. Some even go as far as eating the same food each time they take the practice test. Being this prepared will help you extensively. 

Key Takeaways 

The key to success isn’t always the actual studying, but the important (sometimes neglected) outside factors.  

A strong support system, solid schedule, time for yourself, etc. all lead to defining an excellent foundation for your journey to achieving your dreams.  

If you enjoyed reading this article post, let us know in the comments how you stay on top of your studying. 

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