6 Tips for Studying for the MCAT

The Medical College Admission Test, otherwise known as the MCAT, is a difficult standardized test that leaves many pre-medicine students distraught. Due to its reputation, the MCAT is perceived to be a highly difficult exam that is almost impossible to score appropriately on. However, with the correct mindset, studying materials, and informative pamphlets, one can easily master the MCAT.

According to Kaplan Test Prep, an average score on the MCAT is about 500, however many United States medical schools require at least a 505. Due to such requirements, it is pertinent that a student begins studying well in advanced for their exam. To begin, one can view the content outline provided by the AAMC; this outline will allow individuals to examine the content within the lengthy exam.

MCAT materials are somewhat pricey, however, if a relevant source is chosen it can result in higher MCAT scores overall. The Official Guide to the MCAT, recommended by Appalachian State University’s Student Learning Center, is much cheaper than most test prep materials, and provides test-takers with all of the knowledge they need.

After an MCAT prep book is received, make a plan. Making a plan includes narrowing one’s focus, creating an effective schedule, and allotting one’s self with at least an hour of MCAT studying a couple nights a week in the beginning. A slow increase in studying hours results in a more efficient routine, as opposed to starting out studying fifteen hours a week.

The MCAT has a Critical Analysis and Reading Section; many pre-meds struggle with this section. CARS needs practice of its own, and while it cannot be studied, reading speeds and vocabulary can easily be improved upon to ensure a better score.

The fifth tip involves connecting with peers that are also studying for the MCAT; this allows students to connect and potentially answer questions that individuals may be struggling with. Adding the MCAT journey to one’s social life will definitely peak one’s scores.

Be aware of the testing center and the policies and procedures implemented by them. Surroundings and nervousness greatly impact scores on standardized tests. If one is aware of the testing location and the breaks allotted by the AAMC, one’s nervousness should easily subside.

Overall, the MCAT is a difficult test, but if the tips listed above are implemented into one’s studying routine, the standardized test will not be so difficult. The MCAT is similar to other standardized tests – if one is familiar with the content and aware of the policies in place, there should not be many issues. The MCAT will continue to be one of the most difficult entrance exams, however, appropriate studying and knowledge can never be diminished by a difficult exam.

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