If you plan to have a medical career, there are several things that you need to accomplish to help you get started. One of the most important steps is to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).
Taking the MCAT is an essential step when applying for medical school. This examination is intended to screen out applicants who may not be appropriate for medical school. It can determine if you’re suited to join the medical school and give you a better chance of getting into medical school.
The test is conducted periodically and evaluates a student’s academic ability, decision-making skills, communication, and mathematical reasoning. Although the exam may seem daunting, preparation can help you pass the test with flying colors.
What You Should Expect When Taking The MCAT
The most recent MCAT version was introduced in April 2015, and it takes about seven and a half hours to finish. You’ll also be scored in a range from 472 to 528.
A candidate’s reasoning, analytical, writing skills, critical thinking, and mathematical skills will be tested on the standardized test. The exam has four sections:
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems – a candidate must understand chemistry, physics, and biological systems. They should also know about organic and inorganic chemistry and biochemistry.
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills – this section is similar to the verbal reasoning sections. You can expect to read passages and test your reading comprehension. The topics can cover social sciences to humanities.
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems – this section will test a candidate’s knowledge of the functions of biomolecules, the processes relating to living organisms, and the organization of biological systems.
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior – this section will test a candidate’s understanding of behavioral and sociocultural determinants relating to a person’s health.
The four sections are individually scored and have an allotted time of 90 to 95 minutes. All of the sections are in multiple-choice format and have between 50 to 60 questions.
How To Prepare For The MCAT
Every student who intends to pursue their medical career has to know how to prepare for the MCAT. This is an important test that will decide if you get into the medical institutions or not. If you’re serious about your career and want to do well, it’s crucial to know how to prepare for this exam.
Many students are comfortable studying alone, in groups, or finding resources online, like the ones found in testpreptoolkit.com. Regardless of the strategy you choose, you should follow these essential steps to help you prepare and study effectively for the exam:
1. Test How Much You Already Know
Before creating a study plan, you should test how much you already know concerning the topics covered in the exam. There are numerous services online that can give you full-length practice exams that also offers a detailed breakdown of your answers.
It’s essential to take these practice exams seriously as it’ll evaluate which discipline, concepts, and skills you’re already familiar with and which are the ones that are still challenging for you. Being aware of the concepts and subjects that need your attention will help you find resources so you can implement the right strategies, allowing you to become better at them before the testing date.
It’s recommended to take a full-length practice exam in one sitting so you can experience what it is like to take the actual exam. The more you practice the test, the more you’ll be prepared to walk into the testing center. Also, when doing so, your body and mind will be used to the hours of reading and answering questions.
2. Create A Study Plan
Creating a study plan is one of the best ways to ensure that you achieve your educational goals. If you want to become more efficient, you can also use study apps to help you manage your time and generate a study schedule.
To create an efficient study plan, you should follow these steps:
- Step One: You should first gather all the information you need regarding the exam. It’s helpful to list all the topics you need to cover so you can schedule them accordingly. It also helps to create a summary of all the materials that you need to study. This summary should include the topics covered, your evaluation from the practice exam, and how much you should study and prepare for this topic.
- Step Two: Start creating a schedule for every topic. Your schedule should also include when you should take practice tests and devote time to read, research, and breaks.
Creating a study schedule is also helpful for those who have a part-time job. You should include your work schedule so you’ll have ample time to do your coursework.
- Step Three: Review your schedule and study plan frequently. There will be times that your plans might not push through, and you find yourself behind schedule. It’s crucial that when an emergency happens, you review your schedule and make up for the times you missed so you’ll still stay on track before the exam.
3. Gather All Your Needed Resources
Most universities that offer pre-medicine courses and programs can provide you with quality study materials and resources to prepare for the test. There are also resources published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to study the covered topics. The AAMC also prints out practice questions that come from older versions of MCAT exams.
Since the AAMC is the MCAT author, you can expect that the material they have should be closer to the real MCAT. Still, there are also many reputable online study resources, like Kaplan Test Prep and Khan Academy.
4. Continue To Answer Practice Tests
The key to retaining valuable information is to answer practice tests as many as you can. It’s helpful to take practice tests after finishing a topic to evaluate which concepts are still challenging and which ones are already retained.
It’s also helpful to time yourself while answering practice questions so you’ll understand why certain topics are longer for you to understand.
5. Find A Conducive Place To Study
A conducive study environment is a place that has minimal or no distractions. Having to do your homework, deal with a class project, deal with a test, and so forth, demands focus and concentration.
First of all, limit the amount of noise and other distractions you have in the study area. Another way to create a conducive study environment is to find suitable study spaces. Good study spaces, like quiet computer tables, should be used throughout the day.
When studying for the exam, the students must concentrate on every part of the course so that they’ll be able to gain maximum points. Taking prep tests and having a study plan is essential to check your strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, you need to have enough study materials and find a good place to focus on your materials.