How I Prepped for the MCAT as a Vanderbilt Student
Being a college student means that life can often seem hectic. Between classes, extracurricular commitments, and friends, these four years take balance and a whole lot of time management. As a junior, one other thing was added to my already-busy load at Vanderbilt: studying for the MCAT. So, I thought I’d share what that process looked like for me.
I actually began preparing for the MCAT over the summer of 2018. I was completing my internship at the NIH (see old blogs posts on this if you want to know more!), and lived in a city where I didn’t really know anyone. Because I had a lot of free time outside of work, I decided I might as well get a head start on studying. I got through two of the seven prep books in the set that I had, did practice problems for each, and made flashcards to go back and review.
Throughout my fall semester, I went through four more prep books, making notes of areas where I had room for improvement and doing practice problems along the way. I was only able to do this by spacing my preparation out over the course of the semester, and tackling the information little by little, doing a couple chapters a week, which actually didn’t seem to take up too much time- 3 or 4 hours a week doesn’t feel like a lot, but it adds up.
During winter break, I did my last prep book and took my first practice test. This was a shock to the system. For those of you who don’t know, the MCAT is an 8-hour computer-administered test, so while it may seem similar to the ACT or SAT on first glance, it’s another beast entirely. I knew I wouldn’t be fully prepared when I took my first practice test, but I did it for two reasons: 1) to get over the initial anxiety of taking a test like this, and 2) to see which books I needed to revisit and which ones needed less attention for future studying.
Based on my first practice test, I went back and re-evaluated some of the material throughout January, and continued to take practice tests and review areas for improvement in February and March. Now, as final exams at Vandy are approaching, I plan to take a bit of a break to focus on those, then will really enter crunch time come May (I’m taking the test on the 24th, so I will have a few weeks to really prepare).
Wish me luck as I get ready to take on this challenge! Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions regarding life at Vanderbilt, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.