While it’s always ideal to take off a couple of months to dedicate to MCAT test prep, realistically most students simply can’t afford to do this. There are plenty of people who will try to tell you that you can’t work full-time while preparing for the MCAT, but it can be done! It just requires a little extra preparation and determination. Here are some ways you can nail your MCAT test prep while working:
Schedule Out Everything
When you know your exam date, it gets easier to work backwards and figure out an effective MCAT study schedule. By planning out everything happening over the coming months, you’ll be able to make sure that you cover everything you need to before you sit for the exam. You will need to write out a schedule that covers what material you will work on every single day, week, and month leading up to your MCAT.
When trying to determine whether you need to give yourself 3, 6, or 12 months for your study schedule, it will largely depend on how you plan on studying. Take some time to evaluate your already scheduled commitments like work, school, or a social life to figure out how much time you can dedicate to prep per day, week, and month. You’ll also have to decide whether you want to work with a MCAT test prep tutoring program, as this can reduce the amount of time you need to give yourself before the exam since your study sessions will be more efficient.
Manage Your Time
If you are still in undergrad, your number one priority needs to be your current classes and pre-med GPA. While medical schools do appreciate extra curriculars and work experience on your resume, the biggest determination of your admission will still be your GPA and MCAT test score. That means you need to spend as much of your energy as you need, to ensure that your GPA is the best it possibly can be. While you can always retake your MCAT, it is much more difficult to retake any college classes to boost your GPA.
Figure out the number of hours you need to dedicate to each class in order to achieve an optimal score. You can do this by talking to your professors to get a starting estimate of the amount of work required. After this, you can factor in your MCAT prep and extra curriculars to figure out how much free time you can commit to your job every week.
- If you can, try using all available financial aid options before you get a job.
- Try to find a job that is in line with your MCAT test prep, like tutoring.
- While working, lunch breaks and commutes can be a great time to sneak in some quick studying.
- Talk to your supervisor to see if you can get a lighter work load the week before your finals. Remember, that your GPA needs to come first.
- Schedule your MCAT exam date for some time in the summer when you don’t have to deal with school in addition to work.
Keep In Mind…
As important as your GPA and MCAT test prep are, your health is always a priority. Working so hard that you burn out isn’t going to help anybody, so try to make sure that your schedule consistently allows for at least 7 hours of sleep a night and time to hang out with friends or visit family once or twice a month. Also, make sure that you are getting regular exercise as this helps increase brain activity. Even if you just go for a walk every day, this can help you study better in the long term.