For the majority of students, MCAT prep requires hundreds of hours of dedicated review. Often, this study occurs over several months. In addition to lengthy review sessions and practice tests, studying material in short snippets throughout the day can help pre-medical students fortify conceptual understanding and memorize key facts. Thus, incorporating MCAT prep into your daily routine can be a valuable strategy. Below are four ways to incorporate MCAT prep into your daily routine.
Create a set of high-yield MCAT flashcards and review them every night
Though the MCAT is largely rooted in understanding fundamental principles and problem-solving, there are always concepts, facts, and formulas that students must memorize to do well on the exam (e.g. endocrine pathways). When you are initially examining your review material, develop flashcards about these topics. Keep these flashcards on your nightstand and run through them each night before you sleep to easily incorporate MCAT prep into your routine. Add to your stack as you encounter additional information you must memorize, and before you realize it, you will have a better foundation in all the material you once had a difficult time recalling.
Read notes while you exercise
Though workouts can be an excellent way to unwind from the stresses of studying, certain parts of your exercise routine are great opportunities for you to read and absorb information. Consider adding elliptical or stationary bike time onto the end of each of your workouts, and then review prepared notes during that time. If you exercise multiple times per week, this study time can mount quickly and assist you in sorting through a number of topics.
Talk through MCAT topics with your peers during a meal
Studying for months for the MCAT can become a very isolating experience. To combat this and reinforce your review process, try to schedule a daily meal with those friends who are also studying for the MCAT. Use this meal to discuss a different topic each day, like the gastrointestinal system or chemical equilibrium. You will gain from their perspective, solidify concepts, and enjoy the company.
Take advantage of audio learning
There are several commercial products available that narrate MCAT concepts and facts in detail to students. Adding these products to your regular review can strengthen your understanding of material while driving, flying, walking to classes, working out, or doing anything else that allows you to have your headphones on or access to speakers. Though this is a passive method of learning, information you glean from audio learning is a bonus, as the alternative would have been not reviewing at those times.
Incorporating MCAT prep into your daily routine may seem trivial at first. After all, most people often feel that nothing substantial can be accomplished in several minutes. However, over the course of months, those small moments become hours of review and study that you otherwise would not have had. This, in turn, can translate to large increases in your score, or perhaps a bump of one or two points. However, those one or two points could be the ultimate difference in your medical school application.