MCAT SCHEDULING: AN EXTREME SPORT
Deciding to be a Doctor is one thing; deciding to take the MCAT is another component that seems to be a key factor in one’s journey of becoming a Doctor. Fortunately for me, I decided to take the MCAT! Yaay me! Little did I know that I was about to almost drown in a sea of endless decisions. I initially started with buying the books and boy was that a mission and a half, because for one, they are ALL expensive! On the other hand, there are many options one could go with for books. Purchasing MCAT prep services are often very expensive and typically generalizes what most students should do. As we know everyone is unique and has different strengths and responsibilities, which emphasizes the need to create a personalized study schedule.
I finally sucked it up and came out victorious from the battle of the Titans (Princeton Review vs Kaplan), paying $500, taxes and all, to get my own TPR MCAT books. Now that I had the books, what was next? Bear in mind that I also had to do extensive research to learn that 2 months was an average time/the least amount of time I could effectively study, especially since I had a science background. At this point, I am strongly resisting the temptation to get into how long it took me to decide on the right duration for my MCAT study, but I digress because that is not the focus of this blogpost; emphasis on the minimal guidance for those with slim accounts. Once again, “I have the books, now what?” was the question I had. How was I supposed to split the all 1,655 pages of all 6 MCAT books, excluding CARS and external practice questions? Then I decided to find a schedule! I thought to myself, “Surely, Google must have plenty of schedules,” seeing as everything exists on there. Boy was I wrong!
6 hours later, I had finally figured out how I was going to proceed with studying for the first week. Just the first week! This meant that I still had to spend additional hours figuring out how I was going to meet my studying deadline against the date I had chosen for the grand slam MCAT exam. This, of course, did not account for the emotional and physical toll that long hours of studying brought upon me. My point is that it was and it is still nearly impossible to find MCAT study schedules without non-public spreadsheet-owning connections.
That is why I want to provide you with an MCAT study schedule that I used and found effective! When building your study schedule, you really have to consider a variety of things. Firstly, you need to inventory your life in order to ensure balance in all your other commitments and responsibilities. As we all know, there is more to premed life than simply studying for the MCAT. Many students have full- or part-time jobs, volunteer at local centres, do research, or help support their family through various other means. I for sure had a whole lot of things going on while trying to tackle this MCAT component of my journey. Secondly, you need to think about what your strengths and weaknesses are. For me, my science background provided a great foundation in biology and psychology. However, I knew that I most definitely needed more time with chemistry and physics, as those were my weaker science competencies. I also struggled with CARS, as many students do, so I also knew I needed to allow extra time to ensure that I was able to feel confident in my CARS skills. Lastly, I considered my mental health. Being a pre-med student is hard at times! Did I say at times? I meant most of the time! In order to maintain and keep what was left of my sanity, it was super important for me to take breaks and stay sharp when studying. After executing a solid schedule, I was able to focus on my energy on what was most important—studying! I successfully finished the remaining weeks and showed up to test day ready to tackle my MCAT. Now if you recall, I alluded to the fact that one had to have some sort of connection to gain access to a schedule. Since you made it through this blog, Find My School has decided to be your public spreadsheet-owning connection! Can I get a woot woot! If you are struggling to start making your MCAT calendar schedule or even wondering where to start from, we are here for you and you do not need to spend 6 hours searching for a study schedule because we have one attached! Good luck and enjoy working towards your dream of becoming a Doctor! We got you!
Science Modules: Each “module” is 3 hours of studying. With:
11 Bio Modules
7 Psych Modules
6 General Chem Modules
6 Physics Modules
4 Organic Chem Modules
CARS gets its own separate allocation. I did CARS roughly every other day for four hours. Some days are only CARS where I did a full-length CARS section and marked it. However, if you are not comfortable with CARS, you can do it every day for 2 hours instead.
Rest Days are days you take off and do NO studying! And I mean absolutely NO studying! Go enjoy the outdoors, read a book, or whatever you do to relax! Mental health is very important!
Diagnostic Exam is the first exam you take COLD. Then you do full-length tests every Friday (or same day of the week as your MCAT exam)
Review it the entire second day focusing on WHERE and WHY you went wrong. Not focusing on the CONTENT you missed but the LOGIC.