April 18th

What is the scariest thing you have ever done in your life? Gone skydiving? Performed in front of a large audience? Rode an insane ride at the amusement park? Well the scariest thing I will do in a while is next month: The MCAT.

The MCAT is the Medical College Admission Test. Starting in April, a new version of the MCAT is being released. This new MCAT is going to be a grueling 7 and a half hours long compared to the old MCAT which was 5 hours long. On this new MCAT, they have added a Psychology and Sociology section as well as a Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section that has science based passages.

What makes the MCAT so scary is how large of a part it plays in admission to medical school. We can say that about any standardized test: the LSAT, GRE, PCAT, DAT, etc. It is an easy way to compare students on a standardized level. I am particularly scared about taking this MCAT because I will be part of the first batch of students taking the new exam on April 18th. They did, however, offer a $200 amazon gift card incentive for anyone taking the MCAT in April- not sure how I feel about that.

I have a month to remember just about everything that I learned in my undergraduate education. I could have sworn that I saw my door as a cyclobutane molecule when I walked into my house today- the studying is definitely taking a toll on me. But what are some important things to remember when doing something scary like taking a standardized exam?

Remain calm and have confidence. Standardized tests can be scary but freaking out will only make you do worse.

Make a Study Plan. Calculate how many total hours of study time you think you will need and fit it into your schedule. Make sure this plan is something you will be able to handle so that you do not end up getting rid of the plan later on.

Take Study Breaks. You will burn out if you do not take a break once in a while. I usually take a short break every ½ hour to an hour while studying for this test.

Stay focused on your goals. Taking breaks and rewarding yourself is important but do not completely forget your goal. If your friends are going out and you are behind on your study plan, do not go out. Your friends will understand and you will not regret anything later on.

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