10 Top Tips for Preparing for the MCAT


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Consult Your Colleagues
Learning how to bond with others, especially during stressful situations, will help you throughout your career as a doctor.
Learning how to bond with others, especially during stressful situations, will help you throughout your career as a doctor.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Think about all the people you know who may know something about the MCAT. You've been studying practice tests with other students. Your professors sometimes teach to the test material. It's possible that your friend's uncle's cousin has taken the MCAT. Basically, you're surrounded by living, breathing sources of information as you prepare for the exam.

Whether they've taken the MCAT or a comparable standardized test, you can reach out for advice on what to expect. There's much to be gained from studying the materials, taking practice tests and reading through informative guides like this list. Still, the face-to-face exchange of ideas with an experienced professor, doctor, upperclassman or friend presents an excellent learning opportunity.

Many times, this mentoring can put your mind at ease. In a 2007 nursing program study, students reported that the bonds they created while confiding in their colleagues helped them relieve anxiety and address frustration [source: American Nurse Today]. Other students may also be struggling with an exhausting schedule, and sharing those gripes can bring about a strong, supportive bond of camaraderie. It can be helpful to know that other people may have taken different paths to success and experienced similar struggles. Preparing for the MCAT -- and taking it -- are solitary experiences, but you're not alone. Joining forces to prepare for the exam may be one of the most effective and healthy steps you can take to ensure success on the big test day.

Related Articles

Sources

  • "About the MCAT." Association of American Medical Colleges. (March 5, 2010) http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/about/start.htm
  • Baylor College of Medicine. "Preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.bcm.edu/studentdiversity/index.cfm?PMID=8962
  • Brown, Sanford J. "Getting Into Medical School: The Premedical Student's Handbook." Barron's Educational Series. 2006. (March 5, 2010) http://barronseduc.stores.yahoo.net/0764145975.html
  • "Creating a Study Plan." Association of American Medical Colleges. (March 5, 2010) http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/preparing/creatingstudyplan.htm
  • "MCAT Scoring." Princeton Review. (March 5, 2010) http://www.princetonreview.com/medical/mcat-scoring.aspx
  • McGaghie, William C. Ph.D. "Assessing Readiness for Medical Education: Evolution of the Medical College Admission Test." Journal of the American Medical Association. 2002. Vol. 288, Page 1085-1090. (March 5, 2010) http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/288/9/1085
  • Miller, Robert Harrax and Bissell, Daniel M. "Med School Confidential: A complete guide to the medical school experience." McMillan. 2006. (March 5, 2010) http://us.macmillan.com/medschoolconfidential/RobertMiller
  • "Preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test." Baylor College of Medicine. Sept. 14, 2009. (March 5, 2010) http://www.bcm.edu/studentdiversity/?PMID=8962
  • Yahalom, Tali. "College students' performance suffers from lack of sleep." USA Today. Sept. 17, 2007. (March 5, 2010) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-09-16-sleep-deprivation_N.htm
  • Sassani, Alex. "Thirty MCAT Tips." California State University, Fullerton. 2009. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.fullerton.edu/health_professions/Application%20Process/MCAT_tips.htm
  • Belluck, Pam. "To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test." The New York Times. Jan. 20, 2011. (Dec. 13, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/science/21memory.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all
  • Rapaport, William. "How to Study: A Brief Guide." Nov. 22, 2011. (Dec. 14, 2011) http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport/howtostudy.html
  • Strauss, Valerie. "Can Anxiety be Overcome? With Effort." Sept. 14, 2004. (Dec. 14, 2011) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19099-2004Sep13.html
  • Muskingum University. "Learning Strategies Database." (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.muskingum.edu/~cal/database/general/testprepd.html
  • Southwestern Law School. "Bar Exam Preparation Essentials." 2011. (Dec. 14, 2011) http://www.swlaw.edu/studentservices/registrar/barrequirements/bar_exam_resources/barprepparation
  • Fiske, Edward. "How to Learn in College: Group Study, Many Tests." March 5, 1990. (Dec. 14, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/05/us/how-to-learn-in-college-group-study-many-tests.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
  • CollegeBoard.com. "The Power of Study Groups." 2011. (Dec. 14, 2011) http://www.collegeboard.com/student/plan/high-school/50432.html
  • Manhattan GMAT Staff. "Planning and Executing Your GMAT Preparation." 2010. (Dec. 14, 2011) http://www.manhattangmat.com/articles/planning-gmat-prep.cfm
  • American Nurse Today. "Nursing student support group eases stress." May 2010. (Dec. 13, 2011) http://www.americannursetoday.com/article.aspx?id=6654&fid=6592

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