So, for those of you taking the MCAT in April or May, you should already be studying. But, I know how you feel… the MCAT is like 3-4 months away, right? Well, break that down into weeks and it becomes only 12 weeks. And, if you are still in school and only like studying for the MCAT on weekends, that’s only 12 study sessions! Break each study session into MCAT sections and that’s only three sessions/section! I’m pretty sure you’ll need to study more than that to do well…
I had a HUGE problem finding motivation while studying for the MCAT. And yes, it is true–I watched two whole Korean dramas during the month of my MCAT studying–but I do have some ideas on ways to keep you motivated. (By the way, Secret Garden is a great drama)
MCAT motivational tips
If you are like any normal human being, you like how it feels when you succeed at something and hate it when you fail. With the MCAT, failure is a great motivator. So, go take a timed practice test! Kaplan sometimes holds free practice tests at BYU, and I would encourage you to take every single one of them. Even if you aren’t taking the MCAT this spring. I guarantee that your score will be below what you want to achieve on your real MCAT. In fact, I bet it will be WAY below. My MCAT score improved 15 points from my first practice test.
If you don’t have time to take a full-length practice test, do a timed section test. Doing a lot of practice sections will definitely put you into panic mode when you see how much you need to improve in such a short amount of time. I remember on one practice section, I only got three questions right. You bet that freaked me out and made me want to study more.
Bribing yourself can help for some people. Think to yourself, “If I score well on this practice test or study really hard for three hours, I will treat myself to a smoothie.” However, this could also backfire if you decide to just quit studying and go for the smoothie anyway! I bribed myself in a big way with an iphone if I did well on the MCAT.
Finally, setting goals helped to keep me motivated and focused. I always set my goals high. When I scored my first test over 35, I was exhilarated. I then aimed for 40. When I reached that, I finally felt confident that I would do well. Set reasonable goals, and once you reach those, reach higher. Set a goal for what you want to score overall, and then break that down into what you want to score in each section.
If these tips don’t help you and you still aren’t motivated, just think about how miserable you will be if you don’t score well on the MCAT and have to take it again. That would totally ruin your summer! Trust me, the MCAT is a test you only want to take once!
See my MCAT page for more tips on studying for the MCAT.