One of the most crucial steps in working in the medical field is taking a test that gets you into a school of medicine. And one of those is the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)—a standardized test for medical schools in the United States and Canada. This exam is a huge factor that influences the decision of admission officers abroad when deliberating your application. The MCAT administrators suggest at least 3 to 6 months of intensive preparation.
There are review centers that offer tutorials and courses. However, for some, it may be difficult to squeeze review hours in their day. Are you one of those people? Then here’s a self-study guide for the MCAT! Whether you can’t seem to find time for a review class or if you simply just work better alone, this one’s for you!
Know the content.
The MCAT consists of four tests, covering topics from biology, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, and sociology. The first step in preparing for the MCAT is familiarizing yourself with the test. Keep in mind the topics under each subject, know the format, and the timeframes for each test.
Check out our comprehensive guide to the MCAT to understand everything you need to learn about the test!
Take a diagnostic test.
After understanding the content of the test, it is important to assess what you know and what you need to brush up on. Some topics may be lessons you learned in your freshman year and there is a tendency to confuse the basics. With a diagnostic test, you will be able to gauge how much time and effort you will need in studying. Use the test to mark the numbers you missed. Make a list of the parts you found fairly easy, parts you found confusing, and parts you didn’t know how to answer. This will prevent you from spending too much time on a topic you already know so much about.
There are even some MCAT diagnostic tests you can take online! Check out Next Step Prep’s full- and half-length diagnostic tests, these practice tests on Princeton Review, and the free MCAT starter pack on Kaplan.
Gather your resources.
The MCAT website suggests that students do not simply rely on review books, but cross-reference with textbooks as well. Test-prep books are indeed helpful in answering practice questions but it is also important to master the underlying concepts behind each problem. Gather the notes you have from your previous years and ask your friends if they have any material to share. Take advantage of online resources such as Khan Academy and the MCAT Question of the Day! The more resources, the better; however, make sure they are reliable!
Practice, practice, practice.
Some people practice using summary sheets and formula cards while some learn best using practice tests. Choose what you believe works for you best. There are a lot of tools online that can help you study more efficiently. These include Quizlet for flashcards and crash course videos for lesson recaps.
These tips are not guaranteed to work unless you commit to a proper schedule. It takes grit, passion, and perseverance to see results. The only way is through! Go future MDs! For more study motivation, check out our College Life and Study Abroad section on the Edukasyon.ph blog!