One of the biggest reasons premed students do not do as well on the MCAT as they may like is their lack of understanding regarding preparation for the MCAT exam versus other exams. The following tips are available to students who desire to achieve an MCAT score that matches their ability level.
Identify Your Baseline
Your baseline score is the mark you would earn on the Medical College Acceptance Test if you were to take the exam immediately. You should take a practice test in an environment that mimics the real-life test setting as closely as possible before your real test preparation begins.
The results of your practice test will provide you with a clear picture of where you should focus your study efforts.
Be Mindful Of Accuracy
Do not make the mistake of concentrating too much on speed. When learning new skills, it is wiser to first concentrate on performing tasks well than focusing on speed. It will help to begin your MCAT study efforts with untimed practices.
Once you feel your performance on practice tests have reached an acceptable level of accuracy, you can then measure the amount of time it takes you to complete sections on the test.
It is always a chore to maintain focus and concentration over a number of hours. It will be more difficult to do so if you are feeling a little stress. You should prepare for the day of your test by working longer sections of the practice tests with fewer breaks as the test date approaches.
Managing the stress and physical fatigue you feel at taking tests is just as important as practice and study. It will not benefit you to work for months to prepare for your Medical College Acceptance Test if you are either too stressed or too burned out to perform up to your capabilities. Make sure to set aside time for relaxation and workouts while preparing for the MCAT exam.
Don’t Ignore Practice To Review Content
The MCAT exam tests your ability to apply knowledge to new situations, as well as, your ability to evaluate and reason through arguments. A grasp on science is an important aspect of MCAT test taking but not as important as many pre-med students may think. For this reason, normal study methods like a content review should not take away from time spent with practice tests.
Evaluate Your Performance
The key to long-term improvement is constant self-evaluation. Do not content yourself with only counting the number of questions you got right and wrong during practice tests. Pay attention to the types of questions you get wrong on a consistent basis and understand which passages slow you down the most. Once you understand the reasons behind each wrong answer you give, you can make the necessary improvements.
The Bottom Line
Many pre-med students do not understand what goes into preparing for the MCAT exam. Preparing for the MCAT exam is a little different from preparing for other exams. The six tips above will provide a solid foundation that will support your efforts to achieve your best possible score on the MCAT exam.