MCAT season is here! I know many of you have already taken this daunting test, but for you future medical students who haven’t, I am beginning a series titled MCAT tips. Every couple of days I will upload a new post that highlights tips for getting that score you deserve. These strategies are what worked for me and I’m sure it’ll work for you too! I’m going to kick this series off with the number one tip I believe was vital to my success: FULL LENGTH PRACTICE EXAMS
MCAT tips: PRACTICE TESTS, PRACTICE TESTS, PRACTICE TESTS. I cannot stress the importance of taking Practice Full Length Exams enough! You can know all of the content in the world, but what is equally important, is how to actually take the MCAT exam. It’s like preparing for a marathon. It’s not enough to just read about it… you have to actually practice and condition yourself.
Totally, I took about 9-10 practice full length exams! I started with a Diagnostic Practice Exam as soon as I started my content review to determine what I needed to brush up on. From that point on, I took 2 practice full lengths each month while also managing content review. I stopped my content review about a month and a half before my MCAT exam date. Once I finished content review, for that month and half I was exclusively taking practice exams in settings similar to the actual testing environment. I would rent out a room at my university’s library, pack my lunch box to sustain me for the 8 hours, and take the test as if it was the real test day (breaks and lunch breaks included).
One thing I want to point out is my downfalls, because no one is perfect. I don’t want anyone taking this test to be down on yourself if you do not get the score you expect when first starting your practice tests. I definitely experienced frustrating moments in the beginning where it seemed like I would never get past 500. But don’t let it get you down, keep pushing! As I kept doing more and more full lengths, I also started to see an increase in my score! And guess what? My actual MCAT score was much higher than all of my practice full length test scores! This is why I believe practice full lengths exams are VITAL to doing well on the MCAT.
Additionally, please do not sleep on review! For every practice FL exam that you take, you must take the time to review what you missed or what you were unsure about. Otherwise, it would be sort of pointless, because you wouldn’t be learning from your mistakes. (I’ll have post more on how to effectively review later).