One of the scariest issues that pre-med students need to face is that they need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before applying to medical school. You know you need to take the MCAT, but when is the right time to do it to be the most successful? This isn’t an easy question to answer because the right time varies for everyone. Consider the following factors to determine if you’re ready to take the plunge and sit for the exam.
Proper Prerequisite Courses
The MCAT covers information you need to know before attending medical school. The topics include organic chemistry, general chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics, sociology, and psychology. Having a complete understanding of these topics with a firm grasp of the concepts. Some students like to take the MCAT as soon as they’ve finished these courses when the material is still fresh in their minds.
Others wait until they’ve taken more advanced courses to gain a solid understanding of the basics and build on them through the years with courses such as molecular biology or genetics. The extra preparation and time to fully comprehend the concepts can improve your score. One drawback of waiting is that you might forget some of the basic concepts and need a refresher course or to meet with a tutor to ensure you’re ready to sit for the test.
Do you have time?
The MCAT isn’t something you just walk into and decide you’re going to take on a whim. You need to prepare ahead of time. While there isn’t a set schedule that you need to follow to prepare, but you do have to dedicate time to studying. It might not be feasible to work a full-time job and prepare for the exam at the same time. You’re going to want to study almost full-time to get the best score. Take time to participate in other activities in the evening or on the weekend to give yourself a break from studying and retain some normalcy in your life.
When do you want to attend medical school?
Most students take the MCAT more than once. It’s helpful to take it and understand the material that’s on it and the format of the exam itself. It might be useful to practice online to get a feel for the types of questions and to gauge if you’re ready to sit for the test. It also helps to take your first test a year before you want to apply to medical school. It gives you time to prepare to sit again if you didn’t do too well the first time.
The right time to take the MCAT depends on your circumstances and method of preparation. Evaluate your circumstances and determine when to schedule your exam and how to adequately prepare for it, whether that is through tutoring classes, practice online, or taking an entire class dedicated to MCAT preparation. Once you sign up to take the test, you need to put the time and effort into making sure you get the best score possible through adequate preparation.