Does studying for the MCAT have you down? Why not spice things up and make it fun using these 8 easy-to-implement tips:
1. Think of fun mnemonics
Whenever you learn a new term/group of terms that you know is going to be a pain to memorize, think of a silly mnemonic device that will help you remember it. For instance, if you are trying to keep the differences between enantiomers and diasteriomers straight, you might think of the following: “Enantiomers are Equal mirror images, but Diasteriomers will DIE because they are not.”
If you’re having a really hard time memorizing some key facts, why not check out our Mastery Courses like the Amino Acids mastery course or the one we have for Metabolic Pathways! There are some free sample lessons on there too, so be sure to try it out.
2. Study with a friend
Studying for the MCAT all day everyday can get very lonely (and depressing). Instead of fighting it out alone, why not find a friend who is also studying for the MCAT? They can hold you accountable, test you on concepts, and make studying a little more exciting. Reviewing practice exams with a friend can be a great resource, as you can keep each other on track and they will provide new perspectives for you. You can find a study buddy by joining our Facebook Study Group or by starting an MCAT Self Prep Study Group at your University!
3. Incorporate videos
Many students tell me that they get bored to tears reading content review books, and I totally get that. Videos are a much more engaging and interactive way to experience the content. This is why I’ve incorporated high-quality YouTube videos from Khan Academy, Udemy, CrashCourse, and AK Lectures throughout our Free eCourse. It’s also why we’ve created MCAT Question of the Day videos. Seeing the content delivered from a real person can make a huge difference; someone else actually cares about this material besides you! Additionally, different diagrams and fun colors, as simple as they sound, can make a concept much easier to learn. So, if you are starting to zone out while reading, why not take a break and watch some videos?
4. Listen to music while you study
When I study for long periods of time, I can turn to my one true love, music. Music will never leave you; music will never hurt you. It just makes the time go by faster. On a more real note, creating and using a fun study playlist can be a great way to stay motivated! When you hear songs moving along, it keeps you on pace to finish your studying. Obviously this doesn’t apply when you’re taking a practice test, but for doing flashcards or practice problems, it’s a nice way to relax a little and get some extra motivation.
5. Keep active!
Going for a walk in the sun is a huge oxytocin and serotonin booster (as I’m sure you know from your studying!). If you can review physical or online flashcards while you do this, studying will feel much more rewarding. You can also make mnemonics and memory palaces as you go on your journey, as things around your house will serve as the building blocks for memorizing lists of terms or processes in the flashcards you write.
6. Take study breaks
Space out your studying to do a 50/10 split, taking 10 minutes of break for every 50 minutes you study. If you are taking these breaks, those 50 minutes of studying will be equivalent to 60 minutes with minor motivation. Working towards a break should feel like doing cardio – you count down the minutes that you spend until your goal, and that makes you work even harder.
7. Use self-care days
Try to schedule self-care days during your study period in order to make sure that you have time to relax. If you have a full schedule that week, increase your motivation to do 1.25X the amount of time you planned for on two days out of the week and you will end up with a half day for relaxation. Having time set aside to not feel bad about relaxing can make the other times much more enjoyable, as you don’t feel the drudgery of working day in and day out.
8. Reward yourself!
Setting small, achievable goals is a common method to ensure that you are seeing progress as you get through your studying. What makes you get out of bed after coming back on a Thursday night? Is it a friend talking to you about sports, or a chance to try some delicious food, or maybe watching your favorite Netflix show? Incorporating these small rewards, such as a chance to watch an episode of TV after finishing a difficult subject, can make your studying feel much more achievable.
After reading this post, I hope you will start to have a little more fun with your MCAT studying! And please consider me your friend in this study journey. I am here to help!
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