Preparing for MCAT
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a competitive exam like STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Test) and UMAT (Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test) in Australia. MCAT is for those who want a medical career. In the US, MCAT is regarded as important. The MCAT score considered like a GPA. It is part of the admission process.It is not an easy test to crack and requires intense hard work and dedication. MCAT is made up of problem-solving and critical thinking questions. Some colleges have it as a standardised, multiple-choice exam. This exam is a prerequisite for students seeking admission into medical colleges in Canada and the US. Students enrolled into MBBS are eligible to take the exam along with those who are applying for health-related programs such as veterinary, osteopathic, allopathic or podiatric, etc. It is noted that every college has a different requirement for their admission process. The test for administered by Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
What is the Content of MCAT?
The test is divided into four sections. It includes:
i. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
ii. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
iii. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
iv. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour
It also includes a writing section which consists of two essays. The essay makes the test interesting as it asks students to write about their interest. Students can select the questions they want to do. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), students only have to answer 59 questions in 95 minutes. This new change benefits students as they now have more time to solve the questions they want. It also gives students more reading time, selecting questions and making decisions. Overall, the content is all about the 3Es - explaining, elaborating and evaluating.
Tips to Help in Preparation MCAT
Like every other thing, tips or pointers often helps students prepare for the test. Such guidelines are also needed to crack MCAT. This include:
- Mock tests: these always come in handy. It helps the students prepare for the big day. Like preparing for a major football or basketball game, students also need lots of practice for MCAT. The scores on the mock test show the students where they stand and in what sections they need to improve. Mock tests help students in assessing their preparation.
- Don't cramp up: it's not advisable to memorise everything by heart. In fact, this leads to more confusion and stress on the mind. There are sections in MCAT, which need to tackle with a good learning process and understanding. Evaluation and reasoning are required. It cannot be in achieved overnight.
- Text Books: hit the library. Grab college textbooks and sit down. Go through the pages. Scribble notes. Take help from a peer, tutor or guide if one is having difficulty. Overall, textbooks contain all the information that one is looking for and proves very much useful.
- Get a coach: study guides have always proved their worth. They can help you strengthen your weaknesses and polish your strengths. Guides, tutors and coaches have years of experience in MCAT.
- Flash Cards: students can write formulas or small notes on flash cards. It can be used when one is walking or taking a break. Students can also put the flash cards aside once they have grasped the concept.
- Sleep: students should not deprive themselves off sleep. The mind and body need rest so it's important to sleep for a few hours then start again.
- Smile: remember to smile. As it relaxes the tensed facial muscles. Plus, it brightens up the mood.
- Friends take a few minutes to greet friends and family. A change in routine always works out positively. Then one can get back to their books.
- Diet: students should not forget to eat. The body and mind need fuel, and this is where food comes in. Avoid fast foods and carbonated drinks. Opt for sandwiches, teas, water and juices.
- Walk: students should take out time for a walk. Sitting at the desk all day with piles of books makes the body tense and sickly. To be on the safer and healthier side, take short walks. It will get the blood flowing and no swollen ankles!
- Short Breaks: It's important for students to take short breaks to stretch their muscles and get fresh air. It relaxes and brightens up the mind.
- Don't panic: remain calm and continue with the preparation. Students should not panic themselves by looking at and stressing about what others are doing and how they are organising themselves. This leads one to panic. Studying and achieving is important, but there are also other things in life. So it's best to keep the live balanced.
Preparation makes the students comfortable with the test. But it sure doesn't relax them. In fact, it has been observed that students sitting for MCAT are nervous and jumpy. They are not confident at all even though they have been preparing for months. This happens to everyone no matter what exam they are sitting for. It is the mind and body's defence mechanism. After the exam, there is a sense of calmness and accomplishment that at least they got it as far as sitting for the test! MCAT score is important. Many students couldn't make it in the first attempt, but that doesn't mean that they stopped trying. They went through tutorials, more months of grasping and finally they grasped it. So, a student should not get depressed or start thinking of oneself as a failure. Go for the exam again and ace it. Practice makes a person perfect; that's why the emphasis is placed on mock tests and exams. It helps polish the individual and helps in achieving their goals. Nowadays, there are lots of books available with previous questions. The internet is also helpful, but books regarded as better tools.