We've worked with countless students for the MCAT for more than a decade, and through the years — and the changes to the exam — we've had front row seats to the techniques and approaches that have yielded the greatest results in terms of score increases.
Congratulations! Your child wants to go to med school. They are feeling called to take on one of the most noble (and challenging) careers out there. You [mostly] knew how to support them through grade school, junior high, high school, and perhaps even college. But what about their pre-medical studies and med school? Where to even begin? Even if you carry a medical degree yourself, you are probably acutely aware of the rapidity with which things are changing.
First, take a slow, deep breath. Settle back somewhere comfy, and let us walk you through what you can expect, and how you can help when you're expecting your child to embark on the pre-med — and ultimately medical — path.
As you begin studying for the MCAT, you might consider taking an MCAT review course. While these courses have their merits, many students who have taken such courses end up feeling like they didn’t really gain much from it.
If you are currently taking an MCAT course or are considering doing so, here are some tips to help you assess your next best steps and how to make the most of a course should you choose to take one.
If you're planning to take the MCAT® in 2020, you have a number of options when it comes to the time of year to actually sit for the exam. There are many factors that contribute to your ultimate decision of when the take the test. We have a post that will help you determine when to take the MCAT®.
When I was studying for the MCAT, I would take a weekly full length where I would go through the exact same routine that I intended to implement on test day (i.e. I woke up at the same time, ate the same foods, etc.).
When I actually took my real exam, it almost felt like I was taking another practice test, and I attribute this to my taking practice exams under “real exam” conditions. After a certain point, the practice tests may not have been increasing my peak potential score, but they were increasing the probability of my achieving this peak.
So while frequent “real condition” practice tests can be harder to take as often on the new MCAT test due to the increase in the exam's length, it is still something that should be done at least 3-4 times prior to your actual test day. Here are some pointers on maximizing the different assessments that are available:
One of the most helpless feelings a student applying to medical school can experience is bombing their MCAT—there’s no doubt about that. After months of hard work, you may feel like you’ve lost any chance at getting into medical school.
Although it is true that a low MCAT score will negatively impact your application, there are still many things you can do to make sure you can still be a competitive applicant. The first thing you should consider is if you really “failed” the MCAT.
As test day approaches, you may find yourself wondering if there is anything else you can do to ensure your exam goes smoothly. While studying far in advance is a no brainer, there are some easy things you can do to make sure you don’t encounter any issue on test day, and just make your life a little bit easier.
First things first: Don't wait until the night before the exam to start thinking about these things. If you establish strong habits in the weeks leading up to the exam, your future self will be grateful for that extra bit of intention come test day. Where to start?
As test day approaches, you may be considering the idea of voiding your exam afterwards. While there are real reasons for voiding your MCAT exam, it’s important to know when voiding is the correct choice.
After finishing every section on the MCAT, you are given the option to void your exam. If you choose to do so, then your exam will be wiped and there will be no record of taking it. This can be risky, as it may delay your medical school application and cause you to continue studying. Still, there are times when voiding the MCAT is the right decision.
If you're planning to attend medical school, one of the questions that might be on your mind is when exactly you should start to prepare for the MCAT. This is tied to when you should take the MCAT, but can vary widely by student.
To ensure you're making the best decision for your timeline and goals, you'll want to look at the factors that are unique to you. I find it's most helpful to use the following questions in order to determine when it's best for you to start studying for the MCAT: