Preparing for the MCAT is definitely an exhausting task. Some days you’ll probably feel so tired of studying that you’ll be thinking that you just can’t wait to get it done with. Other times, however, you’ll probably have moments of panic when you think about how your time for studying is running out day by day. Fortunately, regardless of how you’re feeling about taking this monumental test, there are definitely a few tried and true ways to nail down your preparations in the month leading up to your test date.
Strengthen Your Weaknesses
Even though a month might not seem like a lot of time left, in reality it really should be plenty of time for you to focus on strengthening your weakest areas. By this point you should have already worked on trying to keep yourself well-rounded in all subjects of the exam; having one section in which you do extremely well probably won’t help you out too much if you are weak in all other areas.
However, using this last month of MCAT preparation time to build up your weakest areas is definitely an ideal game plan in order to both maximize your scoring potential while also keeping yourself as even as possible between all subjects. Feel free to spend a little bit of time brushing up on topics that you already know well, but resist the temptation to spend any significant amount of time on them during this last month of preparation. Do yourself a favor by focusing on your weakest areas, thereby bringing them up to par with your stronger subjects.
Build Up Your Endurance
The MCAT is typically described as being a “marathon” exam, and depending on how fast (or slow) you might run through 26.2 miles, this could really be an accurate description. For many premed students, just having the endurance to patiently sit through an exam of this magnitude and duration can be extremely exhausting; in fact, for some, it is the length of the exam that is the hardest part about it. Use your last month of MCAT prep time to increase your test-taking endurance by forcing yourself to sit through at least several full-length practice exams if at all possible. While taking practice exams might sound like a terribly boring way to spend your Saturdays, you’ll probably be glad you did by the time your actual test date rolls around.
Find Your Pace
In line with building up your test-taking endurance, spend this last month of MCAT preparation finding your ideal test pace. Each subject in the MCAT has a predetermined amount of time during which it must be completed; train yourself to keep an ideal test-taking pace as you work through your practice exams. This way, your endurance will be strong, and you’ll also find peace of mind in knowing exactly what pace you need to work through each section in. If possible, try to leave yourself at least five minutes of “wiggle room” within your test pace during each section so that you can have extra time to review any particularly challenging questions if you need to. Dealing with the stress of figuring out the correct answers to test questions on the day of your MCAT can be challenging enough. Don’t let worries about being able to complete sections on time add to your stresses; be prepared by working out your test-taking pace ahead of time.