I wanted to share my experience self-studying and writing the MCAT in the summer of 2019. I heard the MCAT has been shortened this year…(Almost makes me wish I took the exam this year). Nonetheless, I want to share some MCAT advice from my experience.
- Plan ahead:
- I set myself 3 months to study for the MCAT. And let me tell you first hand you will not be using all of that time. The first month will fly by with a blink of an eye. The second month might be filled with unexpected surprises. And the last moth is where things get serious. In fact, the last 2 weeks will make you stressed like no other situations.
- From my experience, you need at least 3 months. 2 months to ease yourself into ALL the material, but the last month is when the real studying gets done.
- Plan less:
- I had a part-time job on the weekends (so I can still fund my coffees and doughnuts). However, I do not recommend taking up anything more than ONE job or ONE volunteer or ONE summer course. People weren’t kidding when they said studying for the MCAT is a full-time job!!
- One thing that helped me balance a social life and study grind was to make a checklist. Set yourself a study goal everyday. For example, “On monday, I am going to review all the metabolic cycles and review physics. On Tuesday, I will memorize all the amino acids and review psychology.”
- Have a study spot:
- This is a given. Everyone has that one place where they are the most productive. For me, it was a library at UBC. And sure it took me more than A HOUR just to bus there, but I knew that my time there was the most productive. With regards to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are now limited to our homes. During the past finals session, I found myself most productive when I designated an area at home just for studying.
- Take a freaking break:
- No one can study all day, everyday (okay, maybe some of us can…kudos to those folks because most of us can’t). Take a break! There’s no better way to refresh the mind and return to studying in a better mood.
- Face it, you might never feel “ready” but you will be READY
- This last reminder is for the week/day before the exam. I was on the verge of tears the day before my exam. Partly because I was preparing myself for the biggest fail of my life. I felt so unprepared. My mock exam marks were in the low 70s. CARS was more terrifying than ghosts or an episode of Black Mirror. Even AFTER the exam, I told myself to take a L. Time is up. You weren’t meant for this path. And to my surprise, I got a decent mark (90 percentile)! That just goes to show that you are more ready than you think you are. Trust me.
Other information that might be helpful:
- My study material:
- 90% Princeton review
- And a bunch of random books from Amazon that didn’t really help
- Courses to take that helps with MCAT:
- Psyc 100*** (if possible take it the class right before you start studying for MCAT and you will likely breeze through this section like it’s a review)
- Biochem 200-300 level **
- Course you don’t need to take: sociology!!! 🙅🏻♀️
- Biochem and orgo: memorize the amino acids but you don’t need to memorize all the metabolic pathways.
- Physics, chem, and bio: don’t spend too much time fussing about physics because it accounts for such a tiny portion of the exams.
- Psyc and sociology: know your terms inside out.
- CARS: This is the section that absolutely stumped me to the Mariana Trench. I studied the whole summer, and my mark did NOT improve AT ALL. Definitely seek out other people’s advice on CARS because I could not figure it out for the life of me. If I decide to rewrite the MCAT in the future, this section is definitely something I would emphasize the most.
Good luck to everyone writing the exam! For someone who didn’t think it would be possible to self-study all of this, I guess I proved my past self wrong. You can do it too 💪 and you are one step closer to your goal 🤩