Studying for the MCAT!
I came to Allegheny with the intent to go to medical school. I didn’t know then that it would require I take the MCAT – the entrance exams for med schools – but upon this realization I remained undaunted. Three years and 13 prerequisite courses later, I was finally studying for the MCAT and I most surely was daunted.
What fazed me at first was the pressure to jam hundreds upon hundreds of hours of instruction into my head. I had to revisit things I hadn’t thought about for three years. It didn’t help that I was only studying out of a few books – I couldn’t take an MCAT course in person or online. What also shook me was the weight that the exam carried. I felt as though the 3.5 hours I’d spend taking this test would determine if I had just wasted my college years and where my fate would go. I doubted myself at times. I studied for the MCAT during my internship in Hershey, I studied the three weeks before school started, and I continued to study once school started. At some point I realized and accepted that I was as ready as I’d ever be, so I put the book down and started preparing for my drive to the testing center.
I took the MCAT last Wednesday and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Did it go perfectly? No, and no test ever does, but I am finally free of the burden of it and I am 89% confident that I got a great score. Would I do a few things differently? Absolutely. Here’s my advice to anyone who will take the MCAT:
1) Invest in a good book. Kaplan and The Princeton Review are excellent sources and I can’t stress that enough.
2) Take a course if you are able to. I felt a little hopeless when having to rely on YouTube videos for better explanations of physics.
3) START EARLY! Most of my anxiety came from feeling like I was running out of time to go over information and if you don’t know the science for the test you will feel the same anxiety.
4) Get a study buddy. You’d be surprised how much understanding of material and emotional support you can get from the people around you reaching for the same goal.
5) Trust yourself. The last thing you want to do in such a high pressure situation is get down on yourself or beat yourself up. All of your efforts have been leading up to this so believe in your own ability to succeed.