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10 Top Tips for Preparing for the MCAT


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Get in Shape Mentally and Emotionally
Pay attention to your brain's cues -- if sitting down and studying at night makes you tired even when you're getting enough sleep, try to shift your schedule so that you can study during the day.
Pay attention to your brain's cues -- if sitting down and studying at night makes you tired even when you're getting enough sleep, try to shift your schedule so that you can study during the day.
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You're not just taking a test; you're also testing yourself. After making sure all those facts find footholds in your brain, you'll need to ensure you're clear-headed to perform your best. Many students suffer from test anxiety, with symptoms ranging from headaches and sleeplessness to irritability and memory loss. Mental and emotional strain can present a very real threat to your MCAT success [source: Muskingum].

While researchers estimate that 20 to 30 percent of American students are affected by test anxiety, some students continue having these test-taking problems from elementary school through college [source: Strauss]. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to address these feelings. Just as baseball players visualize hitting home runs, you can visualize performing your best on the exam. Be positive and reaffirm your lengthy test preparation to yourself [source: Muskingum].

Just closing your eyes and taking deep breaths can help, too. Michele Krouse, a guidance counselor at Galaxy Elementary School in Boynton Beach, Florida, teaches students meditation practices and yoga-style breathing [source: Strauss]. Of course, everybody's different. Find out what helps you relax best and develop a strategy to apply those tricks and techniques while you're studying and during the exam.