Sketchy partnered with Blueprint and Dr. Ryan Gray to bring you key tips and tricks for planning and scoring high on your MCAT in 60 days or less. If you’re taking it in 60 days or less or if the MCAT is farther down the line, these tips will put you on the right track for success. Watch the full webinar or read below all the takeaways on what you should know for your MCAT test.
Practice the MCAT in Exam-Like Conditions
Set aside the time to take full length exams to simulate the experience. This also means start the exam at the same time as your actual test and eat the same meal that you plan to eat on your MCAT test day to see if that can sustain your appetite. As you’re taking your test, treat your breaks like the real exam – don’t look at your phone and time it for the appropriate amount.
Taking exams also in different physical areas – a library or a study room that has some amount of low level distractions. Know that you’ll be testing around other people so you want to be able to train your brain and body to be used to those testing situations.
Build a Plan and Learn How to Adjust
When you build your plan, it’s important to take a diagnostic exam early on to evaluate where your weaknesses are and to see where you are strongest. This can help you navigate which content should be top of list to review as you make your plan. Remember to schedule in days off because other life obligations will happen and you’ll want to have a little bit of wiggle room if things don’t stay on schedule.
If things get way off schedule, it’s important to reset and rebalance it before it’s too late. You should be constantly checking and readjusting when necessary in order to stay on track and be realistic if you’re not going to meet your test date. Also know it’s okay to move your test date if needed. It’s better to be prepared and take it a little later than expected than rush and feel unprepared. You want to take your best chance to reach your goals.
Be Realistic with the Right Resources for You
Once you start studying, you’ll want to find the resources that work for your learning style. This will take some trial and error, but once you find the ones that work, stick to them. Don’t spend too much time testing ALL of the resources because you can spend too much time fiddling with your study strategies and that can get you off track.
Also be realistic with how much time you have to study each day and each week. If studying for the MCAT is your full time job that would only be 40 hours a week. It’s recommended that you study around 300 hours total for the MCAT, so if you only study for the MCAT at 40 hours a week it would be about 7.5 weeks to prepare for the MCAT.
Understand What High Yield Content You Need To Review
High yield content is considered material that is tested heavily on the exam as well as material that will get you points. That encompasses both content knowledge and critical thinking. Everyone will have different content and skills that they will need to review, so it’s important for you to understand what areas you should be studying. That information comes from practicing and reviewing practice exams.
Review and Find Trends To Find Where You Need to Improve
Part of the process with taking practice exams is to also fully review them as well. Start tracking when and where and why you get a question wrong as well as right. Did you get a question wrong because you didn’t know the content, didn’t understand the question, or ran out time? Also take time to review the questions you got right to better understand how you chose the right answer. Once you have this important information, look for trends and see where your weaknesses are and that can help inform and structure your study schedule.
Set Clear Incremental Goals That You Can Track
When you’re setting goals use the SMART goal rule. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. Instead of saying you want to improve your score by 5 points, look at your practice exams and trends and see where you can improve. Small goals around content or action oriented goals will lead to better results.
Also observe how you feel as you take a practice exam. How confidently or quickly are you able to answer questions in a certain topic? That can also be a good indicator if you’re feeling positive about the subject and see if that is well reflected in the test results.
And there you have it, six tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the MCAT in 60 days or less. Although 60 days is a short amount of time, if you set your study schedule, and focus on your goals you can achieve it.