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For many premeds, studying for the MCAT means countless uninterrupted hours of studying.
But you know what’s not right?
Way too many premeds sacrifice their social life, medical experience, and all other aspects of their life for just this one test!
Yes, the MCAT is an important exam and there are good reasons for you to want to spend a lot of time making sure you do well, but it shouldn’t consume your entire life.
It’s important that you still have a life outside of the MCAT!
And that’s what this post is all about!
Your MCAT Mastery mentor, Ariana has seen too many premeds forget to prioritize other aspects of their lives when preparing for the MCAT and wants you to know that this lifestyle isn't necessary.
Instead, you should use these tips to learn how to both score well on test day and not feel overwhelmed during the prep phase.
If you’ve been working yourself to a pulp with MCAT prep, take a well deserved break and watch Ariana’s video to learn the importance of living out the rest of your life during MCAT prep
Your Mental Health Matters
Let’s face it: It’s inevitable to be stressed while studying for the MCAT. The best solution to combat the stress and anxiety is to reward yourself with something you like.
During one of your study breaks, go for a short walk. Go out with your friends on Friday night after a week of studying. On Saturday, visit the beach. Spend time with your family on Sunday. For every 4 hours of focused review, watch an episode of your favorite TV series.
Take some time to enjoy other activities, because this keeps your mind clear, which will help you retain content for this difficult test better.
You'd be surprised just how much getting out of your MCAT bubble will drive away the anxiety you have for your MCAT and it'll ultimately improve your studying.
It Trains Your Time Management Skills
When you schedule other things alongside your MCAT prep, you actually also improve your time management skills.
That might sound obvious, but finding time to do other things while you study is absolutely crucial even further down your journey to becoming a doctor! You'll be juggling a large number of responsibilities while you are in medical school and even more so when you become a doctor!
Developing strong time management also forces you to study smarter.
It lets you evaluate how to prioritize your tasks and become more efficient when studying and focussed on your MCAT prep. This also becomes useful in the future and in life.
Remind Yourself Why You're Doing This In The First Place
Your 'why' is what will drive you and keep pushing you forward through the hard blocks towards your goal.
Why are you going through this difficult process of writing the MCAT and want to become a doctor?
Having a life outside studying for the MCAT can still be fulfilling. You can still focus on why you want to be a doctor by volunteering in an institution to help patients or through shadowing a community doctor.
Ariana has already discussed the importance of ‘why’ in our what you should know before taking the MCAT blog, knowing why you want to become a doctor will help you get into a good place for when you are struggling during your MCAT prep and push you into achieving your goals.
For Ariana, it was her father’s diagnosis of a terminal cancer that motivated her into working hard and getting into her dream medical school.
Writing down and seeing the reasons why you genuinely want to become a doctor will help you whenever you feel frustrated and discouraged because it will motivate you to keep going.
Through spending time outside of her MCAT prep to volunteer helping patients, Ariana was able to work harder to reaching her goals.
Medical School Is Hard!
The MCAT is not the only exam that will stand in the way of you becoming a doctor.
If you're living in the United States, there’s the USMLE STEP 1, STEP 2, STEP 3 and other exams that you will need to write throughout your journey in medical school (some even after medical school)!
And to our Canadians premeds out there, you're not quite off the hook either there are Canadian equivalent exams like the mccqe.
And some of these exams are also 7 to 8 hours long!
Studying for the MCAT is also preparing you for this. If you can build the right study habits for these kinds of tests now, you will be in a much better place in the future since you already know how to study and you have built the stamina to conquer these tests.
This is all just to say one thing...
The MCAT isn't as important you think!
If you can't juggle other responsibilities and commitments now with MCAT prep, you're going to have an even harder time in medical school.
Remember, the MCAT is created to help you evaluate your readiness for medical school. MCAT Mastery wants you to conquer this test and set you up with a training ground for medical school and reach your goals beyond the MCAT.
What you do now is an investment for your future self so you know how to study smarter and do well in medical school, get into residency, and ace your fellowship with all the things you have learned while preparing for the MCAT.
So Remember To Take Breaks From MCAT Prep And Keep Pushing Forward!
We sure wish we had advice like Ariana's before going through our own MCAT prep because a lot of your MCAT Mastery mentors are guilty of making the mistake of making the MCAT your entire life.
So be sure to make the most of these insights and make your MCAT prep as easy as possible!
If you're looking for even more top strategies from top MCAT scorers, check out both our strategy courses and affordable 1:1 private tutoring options.
We know that MCAT prep is important and you should definitely be spending adequate time to study but...
Studying for the MCAT doesn't mean overworking yourself and abandoning the other important things in your life.
Promise us that you'll take care of your well-being during this stressful and demanding point in your life.
If you take care of yourself during your MCAT prep, we know that you'll have the right mindset and approach to reach your goal score on test day.
You got this!
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors