The MCAT is a standardized test, taken by medical students to test for critical thinking, problem-solving and other temporal and conceptual studies relevant to the medical field. There are four test sections in the MSATs that consist of overlapping concentration areas. They include;
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological systems
- Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems.
Critical information like the areas of concentration and the extent of these areas is essential in preparing for the MCAT. The Medical College Admission Test is offered all through the year, with about 25 different test dates to select from, and can be taken up to three times in a year by a candidate.
However, it is best to take the tests once as records are kept on the number of times taken, which may affect your admission process to your Medical school. Taking the MCAT requires proper planning and preparation, so beware that this test is not something you just decide to take, as you have to go through the steps of proper preparation and education on what the test truly entails.
How to Prepare For MCAT
The first step in preparing for the MCATs is making findings on what the test is about and understanding the frame of a study and essential sectors of the test. A few valid information on the MCATs have been discussed already, but every candidate should also go in-depth and get findings on the particular scope of subjects or topics adopted during the MCATs.
This information can be gotten from past question reviews, online sources or primary sources, although the most precise information can be gotten from past questions.
Take Practice Tests
It is very helpful to take practice tests before you begin a study program for the MCATs. An online practice test will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses in the different areas to be tested. After getting your baseline score, you can work towards increasing your knowledge of areas that need improvement.
Use Your Baseline as a Guide
Before you begin studying comprehensively for the tests, use your baseline as a guide to improving areas that you have lesser competencies with, which will increase the effect of a comprehensive study.
Get an AAMC Study Guide
You may have books or study materials from other sources like prep courses, and although such materials are relevant in preparing for the MCATs, it is also very helpful to get outlined of the topics frequently asked on the MCATs. AAMC provides candidates with an MCAT prep book that contains outlines on all frames of studies to be done on the MCATs.
Take an Online Prep Course
Although a large number of candidates prefer to study without tutors or directions, it is advisable to take an online prep course that will help in proper preparation for the MCAT.
Taking an online course will not solve all your problems about the MCAT, but you must ensure that you make proper research on the course that will suit your preparation process. The pattern and trend used in the preparation process should be something you can easily conform to.
Create a Study Schedule
If you plan on taking a course online, you will most likely get study materials and lessons from experts on the MCAT. Create a personal study plan, so you can go through study materials and notes from previous lessons on your own.
If the plan is to study all through your preparation for the MCATs without a prep course, try and get comprehensive materials from trusted sources and create a study schedule that you have to follow.
Regular practice will yield the best studying result. You should take online practice tests regularly and compare the results to the ones taken before. This will help you determine your level of improvement and work better toward your goals.
Study According to the MCAT Testing Method
The MCAT test candidates for;
- Ability to utilize basic knowledge and skills in new/different situations.
- Ability to come up with conceptual arguments.
You may know everything that revolves around the science content for the MCATs, but that’s not all the test is about. You should also practice to boost your Critical analysis and improve your reasoning skills.
Ensure that Practice Tests apply to Real-Life MCAT Situations
Take MCAT practice tests under the same conditions as the actual MCATs. This way, you will be able to work with the same temporal and spatial elements i.e. you will be able to work with the actual MCAT time and you will get used to the way questions are arranged in the different sections. Nothing gets you by surprise, so you don’t get destabilized on the actual MCATs.
Focus on Improving Accuracy
As you take practice tests regularly, focus on improving accuracy in learning skills. Don’t try to study under stress, as this may just elongate your study time and stress your mind. Studying under his kind of condition will make concentration a chore, and you should also focus on avoiding mistakes that could be easily made. Go back to previously read topics and ensure there is no mix up in terms, definitely or structure.
If you think you have limited time to prepare for the MCATs, remember that the tests are taken up to 25 different times every year, between January to September. Don’t rush into preparing for the tests just a week or 2 weeks before a proposed date, take your time and study at ease, so you don’t have to write the tests multiple times.
The MCATs are critical to the medical field, just like other graduate tests are critical to their fields. The tests are comprehensive as they are based on science-related content and a candidate’s conceptual ability that revolves around the critical thinking and analysis aspect.
If taken in a rush with inadequate preparation, the test is bound to be written poorly, so candidates should speculate their purpose on the MCATs, make important findings and prepare adequately to yield the best results.