3 Ways to Study for the MCAT During the Semester
With winter break coming to a close, it is a great time to start thinking about the upcoming semester of school. And if you are preparing to take the MCAT sometime this year, you will need to think about how you are going to balance MCAT studying with your coursework. It may seem cumbersome to take on both at the same time, but I believe that mixing your coursework with MCAT prep can be extremely effective, resulting in better grades in your classes and a higher MCAT score. Here are some ways to make this happen for you:
Align your MCAT studying with your class schedule. When I was taking Biochemistry, each week I would look at the syllabus and plan my MCAT studying around what I was going to be learning in class that week. For instance, if Tuesday’s class was going to consist of a lecture on glycolysis, I would study the section of the Kaplan book that dealt with glycolysis on Monday, making flashcards and learning the material the very best I could. Having done this, I found that I was able to pay much more careful attention during class and was more prepared to ask questions; thus, I did better in class thanks to my MCAT studying. My MCAT score was also enhanced because I saw the class through an “MCAT mindset,” giving extra careful attention to terms and topics that related to what I had read or watched while preparing for the MCAT.
Have a flexible study plan. It is impossible to perfectly plan everything during a school semester. Some weeks you will have a hefty load, full of homework and tests. Other weeks, your load may be extremely light. Because of such variability, your MCAT study plan should be flexible. Instead of mapping out exactly what chapters/videos you want to complete each day, simply make a goal for how many total hours of studying you are going to get in this next semester. Then just work your way through our eCourse lesson by lesson. On lighter weeks, you will conquer many lessons while on school heavy weeks, you might only get through a single lesson. The amount of lessons per week is not what’s important, rather your goal is to simply get in a high volume of MCAT studying overall. For more help knowing how many hours you personally need to spend on MCAT studying this next semester, be sure to work your way through the Create-your-own Study Plan Course.
Make some sacrifices. If you need to study an average of 20 hours per week for the MCAT this next semester, and you are planning on taking 6 or 7 difficult classes, you are going to need to make some adjustments. Perhaps that will entail dropping a class and taking it this fall. Maybe it will entail giving up one of your extracurricular activities. Or perhaps it simply entails giving up your weekends to study 10 hours per day. Whatever it is, you need to be realistic and remove any obstacles that might prevent you from reaching your MCAT goals. Making sacrifices will be difficult, but it will be more than worth it.
Most of my private tutoring students are busy with school, shadowing, research, etc. I help each one of them know how to adjust their study plan to account for their busy schedule. If you need help with this, be sure to reach out. I’d love to work with you towards making your dream MCAT score a reality.
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