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MCAT Exam Preparation

Preparing for Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is one of the most important and challenging part, every student faces while entering medical colleges in US and Canada. Based on the syllabus, AAMC recommends 300-350 hours for aspirant to prepare for MCAT. For a candidate who has two to three months, he/she needs to put aside a significant amount of hours per week.

How to study for MCAT Exam?

Being a computerised examination, it pressures students by limiting the time available to them. Proper preparation is the only way out for students to achieve the score they deserve. The best way of preparation is to divide the subjects on a weekly basis. Create a weekly study schedule and fill your calendar with study blocks. Spend at least two to three hours per day, six days per week. Besides, take one day off from studying which will help you to recharge.

Week 1 : Familiarize yourself with the subjects by taking a practice test or question that covers almost all the topics of the MCAT. Test results will be helpful for determining the areas which you need more hard work and helps to modify your study plan. For example, if you did well in biology, study them briefly and spend more time on cell biology and genetics questions which didn’t do well. Set up a rotating schedule that works through topics like Biochemistry, Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics/Math, Behavioral Sciences. For test-like practice, use the sample question paper and choose passages based on the content areas.

Sunday Full Length Test
Monday Test Review and Study Planning
Tuesday Biology Bio Chemistry + Critical Analysis and Reasoning
Wednesday General Chemisty Organic Chemistry + Critical Analysis Reasoning
Thursday Physics, Psychology and Sociology + Critical Analysis Reasoning
Friday Revisit the problem areas and modification of Study plan
Saturday Relaxation

Weeks 2 – 8 : Allot topics on rotation basis to Biochemistry, Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics and Behavioral Sciences. Use sample questions for test-like practice. Also study the Critical Analysis and Reasoning (CARS) section daily. Reorganize your plans around the existing strategies since you can schedule more than one topic in some days. But remember to work on Critical Analysis and Reasoning (CARS) every day.

Week 2 : Biology – The Nervous System; Biochemistry – Enzymes; General Chemistry – Compounds and Stoichiometry; Organic Chemistry – Bonding; Physics – Work and Energy; Psychology and Sociology – Learning and Memory; CARS.

Week 3 : Biology - Reproduction, Embryogenesis and Development; Bio chemistry - Protein Structure and Function; General Chemistry - Bonding and Chemical Interactions; Organic Chemistry - Isomers; Physics – Kinematics and Translational Motion; Psychology and Sociology – Sensation and Perception; CARS.

Week 4 : Biology – The Respiratory System; Biochemistry – Lipid Structure; General Chemistry – Equilibrium; Organic Chemistry – Organic Oxidation and Reduction; Physics – Fluids; Psychology and Sociology – Emotion and stress; CARS.

Week 5 : Biology – The Endocrine System; Biochemistry - Carbohydrate Structure and Function; General Chemistry - Chemical Kinetics ; Organic Chemistry – Alcohols and Ethers; Physics – Thermodynamics ; Psychology and Sociology – Cognition and Language; CARS.

Week 6 : Biology : The Immune System ; Biochemistry – RNA Transcription and Translation ; General Chemistry – The Gas Phase ; Organic Chemistry – Carboxylic Acids ; Physics – Magnetism; Psychology and Sociology – Psychological Disorders; CARS.

Week 7 : Biology – The Cardiovascular; Biochemistry – DNA and Replication; General Chemistry – Thermochemistry; Organic Chemistry – Aldehydes and Ketones; Physics – Electrostatis; Psychology and Sociology – Identity and Personality; CARS.

Week 8 : Biology – The Digestive system ; Biochemistry – Biological Membranes ; General Chemistry – Solutions ; Organic Chemistry – Carboxylic Acid Derivatives ; Physics – Circuits ; Psychology and Sociology – Social Processes and Behaviour ; CARS.

Week 9 : Biology - The Musculoskeletal System ; Biochemistry - Carbohydrate Metabolism ; General Chemistry - Acids and Bases ; Organic Chemistry - Nitrogen and Phosphorus- Containing Compounds ; Physics - Waves and Sound ; Psychology and Sociology - Social Thought Processes. CARS.

Week 10 : Biology - Homeostasis and the Excretory System ; Biochemistry: Lipid and Amino Acid Metabolism; General Chemistry - Oxidation and Reduction ; Organic Chemistry: Spectroscopy - Physics: Light and Optics ; Psychology and Sociology - Social Structure and Demographics ; CARS.

Week 11 : Biology - Genetics and Evolution ; Biochemistry - Bioenergetics and Regulation of Metabolism ; General Chemistry – Electrochemistry ; Organic Chemistry - Separation and Purification; Physics - Atomic and Nuclear Phenomena ; Psychology and Sociology - Social Stratification ; CARS.

Week 12 : Take a practice test to review your knowledge, using the results modify the plan of study. Spend more time on Critical Analysis and Reasoning (CARS). After re-reading the passage, try to determine the information you need.

How to avoid MCAT study mistakes?

MCAT is a tough exam to study and many students excelling in their college, but still struggle to attain success in the MCAT. Here are some of the mistakes committed by medical aspirants and solutions to avoid them.

Not reviewing the content

One among the top mistakes committed by the students is not reviewing their answers. Despite, the fact that exam is 7.5 hours long, many students spend much of time answering the questions, less time to review the content needed. Since the exam is most only science and biology. Students need to make time in their study schedule to review the biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology.

Not enough practice

MCAT often tests the knowledge of the student in science to new scenarios introduced in the passage of the exam. If they aren’t able to apply the knowledge, they would never answer many of the questions in the exam correctly. So in order to avoid these problems, you need to practice passages and questions at regular intervals.

Not spending enough time for study

MCAT preparation hasn’t allotted minimum number of hours to study. But, you must take MCAT exam without investing a substantial number of hours to study. Before you even sign up for a test date, make sure you have proper study plan.

Not concentrating on other things

Many students feel that they must drop all of duties and responsibilities in order to focus on their studies. That’s not true. They can also do things like volunteering, clinical practice or research. Aspirants need to do something which can relieve their stress besides studying. It gives them a way to see other people to help maintain calmness and stability.

Isolated studies

Though isolation can be a solution for self-studying, studying with a group or a friend can make learning easier. Because, you can also help each other study for the exams. Besides, it can be a tool for motivation, teaching and learning from friends who have common goals. But you must be careful to make sure that you both stay focused though.

Not enough breaks

When you feel yourself burning out, you should take a break. The reasons are plenty; one among them is that the brain is not digesting enough information while reading or your mind is getting bombed with many passages over and over again. So in order to recharge your mind and body, you need to do something else to relax.