Setting aside time to study for the MCAT can be challenging, but staying focused during that time can be even more difficult. Here are 5 tips to help you stay focused and maximize the study time you do have:
- Turn off distractions. Engaging in deep, focused and meaningful learning requires you to stay tuned in the entire time without interruptions. To avoid such interruptions, you should turn off or put away your phone and silence any notifications that may show up on your computer. Such notifications can quickly pull you away from your precious time to focus on MCAT studying. Think about it — each one minute interruption could actually interrupt your focus for five or more minutes. With limited study time, the interruptions just aren’t worth it.
- Set aside blocks of time for studying. When planning your day, instead of just telling yourself that you will study as much as you can, plan in chunks of time throughout the day during which you will be 100-percent focused on MCAT studying. These chunks should be at least 30 minutes and no more than 60 minutes. During these chunks, you shouldn’t be doing anything except studying for the MCAT, staying completely focused.
- Take regular breaks. Between study blocks, you should take time for a break. During this time, allow yourself to do whatever you want, whether it is checking your phone or email or even playing a video game. By allowing yourself to do pleasurable things during your breaks, you are less likely to think about or engage in these activities during your study blocks.
- Carefully plan what you will accomplish during each study block. If you know that you have 45 minutes to watch 13 videos, you will accomplish much more than if your goal is to simply “get done what I can” during those 45 minutes. Remember, good goals are time bound and specific.
- Plan variety into your study blocks. Doing the same thing for hours on end isn’t just boring, but it also makes it extremely difficult to focus. To fight against this, plan a variety of study activities into your day. For instance, instead of spending three study blocks in a row watching videos, perhaps you could spend the first block on videos 1 through 12 from the video playlist, the second block on the Kaplan book reading assignment, and the third block going on a walk while testing yourself on Quizlet flashcards. This infuses your studying with some much needed variety, helping your brain stay on task.
I hope this MCAT study tip will help you have more engaging and effective study sessions. And as always, if you have any questions, please be sure to reach out. I am here to help!
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