The first time I took it, my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t understand why I was taking it. I felt like I had been taking it as it was expected of me. My frustration with the examination bled into my relationships, resulting in a stressful loop of discouragement. As a result, my first scored test back in August 2014 was bad. Under average. I really don’t know anyone who could give me a straight face and say “Good job, Nicholas! That’s a good score!” I was NOT satisfied.
Fast-forward a year, I finished my undergraduate studies, claimed my diploma in Chemistry and certificate in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and went back home to Phoenix, AZ.. My dad took me out to lunch the next day summer time, at which I expressed to him my doubts regarding medical school. He calmly looked at me and asked “Would we be having this conversation if you got a perfect score on the MCAT?” I didn’t know how to answer him. In my heart, I felt “yes,” however there was just one way to know for certain – I had to retake it. This time, I had to give the effort I knew I could give – not for my father or anyone else, but purely for the freedom that comes with knowing I did my best. I desired options. If I didn’t go to medical school, I didn’t want it to be because of some evaluation. I felt imprisoned by the examination, and, more than anything, I needed the freedom to choose my own path, not have it chosen for me. Mcat Preparation.
I worked as an analytical chemist during my first year out of school, so I signed up to take the MCAT in the winter of 2016. I believed I could balance a full-time work schedule with MCAT studying along with relationships and activities. Again, I had been making the exact prideful mistake. I was chasing some idealized path instead of walking the path depending upon my own capability. The next time I took the exam, I still was not ready. I took it anyways, didn’t feel great about it at all, and ended up voiding the scores. I had been humbled, frustrated, but determined.
Evaluation #3 – June-August 2016 – two years after the first MCAT. I quit my job in June and studied 10 months straight. I committed 8 hours per day x 7 days/week x 10 weeks = 560 hours of studying. I realistically only put in 460 hours. However, I knew I had to make every hour count AND make it so that I didn’t burnout after week one. I would sleep at midnight and wake up at 6:30am as frequently as I could (sleep was key to ensure I didn’t burn out). I went for a walk every morning. Meditated. Drank a massive bottle of cool water (it had been in the Summer remember). Did pullups about the trees in the neighboring park. Said hi to the old ladies in the neighborhood who were awake walking their dogs. I came back home to shower. My eyes, body and mind were all ready to get to work.
I studied exactly like the real MCAT session, with a 30 minute lunch in between and a couple 10 minute breaks after 90 minutes of studying. (8am-9:30am study. 9:30am-9:40’m break. 9:40am-11:15am research. 11:15–11:45am lunch. And so on). Then I would nap. Then I would exercise. Then I would cook and then cook dinner. Afterward I would chill a bit. Then I would begin studying again in 8:30pm-11:30pm with a 10 minute break in the middle. Then I would spend the next half hour just closing my eyes and thinking and dreaming and maybe talking to loved ones and writing something positive to myself in a little notebook I maintained to maintain my attention and throw away the rest. This guaranteed a good nights’ rest. Lights out at midnight and start the entire thing over again. **Notice the way I “coated” my sleeping – before sleeping and after waking up – with things which are positive and emotionally relaxing (going for walks, saying hi to neighbors, doing pullups, drinking water, showering, meditating, reading, talking to loved ones, writing little notes, thinking, dreaming, focusing) BEST MCAT Prep BOOKS 2018 .
I would practice problems from Day 1. Examine them thoroughly. Every word. Every phrase. Every little detail that I missed. Whether it had been on the AAMC “list of topics to understand” or NOT – I couldn’t care less. If I didn’t understand it, I studied it. And I took a practice test every 3 days or so. In 10 weeks of studying which amounted to I believe 18 practice tests. The 19th test was the true thing. Plus it was like just another day at the office by this point.
I knew I had been free the morning I walked into the testing center for the third time. I knew I put in the work. I knew I did my best, but that day was where I proved myself. I ended up improving my score so much that my percentile group increased by roughly 50 percentile points. For instance, my CARS score increased from 52 percent to 98 percent. Now I had been satisfied.
If this is a story – then who was the villain? Me. What changed? I got out of my manner. I stopped rationalizing. I stopped biting off more than I could chew.
And that I studied to have a fantastic score.
Learn to be more self-aware of if you DON’T understand something
Study those things
Practice more passages to discover more and more and more and more things that you don’t know. Realize and get familiar with the depth of your ignorance. There is no such thing as high yield. Remove that phrase from your mind.
And bear in mind, this is my story. Don’t! Take 15 weeks or 20 weeks! These “schedules” are ARBITRARY. They are COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE to you and your pace.
So yeah, go at your own speed. Practice from day 1. Read gradually (like a 3rd grader – I still read by tracing the words with my finger haha). Discover what you don’t know. Study those things. Speed will come with practice.
Lemme know if you need anything else, I could literally write a book on this. I hope this was useful :-RRB-… I got sidetracked in the office while typing this so I’m sure I might have lost my train of thought.