Key Characteristics to Develop for a Successful MCAT Score

Obviously knowledge should be developed to do well on the MCAT, but it doesn’t stop there.  Below you’ll find some characteristics that I personally think are critically important to a successful MCAT score.

  • Familiarity
    • In my opinion, this is one of the most important characteristics to develop before taking the MCAT.  Familiarity is directly correlated with knowledge. The more you study the material and learn, the more familiar you become with facts, vocabulary, questions types, meaningful information, etc. Familiarize yourself with the subject-matter and with the structure of the exam itself. Research shows that familiarity with something will increase your intuitive nature to answer correctly. In other words, even if you don’t know the answer, you’re more likely to answer correctly with an educated guess if you’re familiar with the information presented.
  • Confidence
    • This characteristic is strongly correlated with familiarity since the more familiar you are with the concepts, the more confidence you’ll have. However, you should also develop confidence with regular undertaking of practice questions, practice exams, flashcards, etc. When you find yourself getting most of the answers right, your confidence will increase as well. For this reason, people who are prone to anxiousness before tests should avoid going over material immediately before the exam to prevent psyching themselves out!
  • Stamina
    • The MCAT is a marathon, not a sprint! In order to study in the most effective way possible, you should study in blocks (i.e. 45 minutes of studying, 15 min break). However, you should also gradually increase you cognitive stamina by taking practice MCAT exams. In my opinion, the “best” way of doing this is to start by taking only sections of the exam in a single sitting. Eventually begin taking 2 sections in a sitting and work up to taking the entire practice exam in a single sitting.

Note: These characteristics would be beneficial to any form of exam preparation so feel free to apply them to other tests as well! 


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