T-minus 2 Days before Test Day
The last day I could study. I went to my Biochemistry II class at 8:30am (I know right, it’s too early in the morning for the 2nd level of Biology AND Chemistry together..), which I didn’t really pay attention to because I was too anxious to get out and start my MCAT studying for the day. After Biochemistry II, I attend my Business Communications class and ride it out for an hour and a half. I eat lunch and wait for my best friend to get out of her classes for the day, so we could begin our final 10-hour MCAT study session ever. To our dismay, our school library was packed and we could not find a peaceful empty table, so we drive to our local community college’s library instead. So, it begins.
First, we finish studying the last 16 pages of the famous 86-page Psychology/Sociology Word document linked on Reddit.
Note: I usually do NOT recommend studying random stuff online, ESPECIALLY for the MCAT; HOWEVER, this document has gotten a lot of good reviews from other pre-meds who have taken the MCAT before, and since Psychology/Sociology section is actually pretty hard, we gave it a shot.
Secondly, we study all of our flashcards – Amino Acids, Enzymes, and Hormones.
Thirdly, we go over ALL of our The Princeton Review notes, page by page, which, may I say, took FOREVER…but it was so worth it.
Last but not least, we attempted to do at least one passage from each section from AAMC’s free passages online, courtesy of The Princeton Review.
What time did we finish studying? 1:30 am. We officially violated the “stop studying when the clock hits 12 am on the day before your MCAT exam” rule.
We also didn’t care.
T-minus 21 hours before Test Day
I reluctantly go to my Genetics class. At this point it is absolutely killing me not to study for a WHOLE DAY. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t use my brain for a whole day, I unconsciously begin emptying my brain through my ears.
So, I did 3 CARS passages and studied my formula sheet after class. Sue me.
Once I finished, I instantly felt relieved. I felt ready. I felt excited to take the MCAT. Excited to get it over with, excited to reap the benefits of all my hard work, excited to overcome one of my first milestones on the path to my medical career.
I took a nap, went to the mall and bought my little sister a birthday gift, watched Black Mirror, meal prepped for Test Day, took a long, hot shower, and put on a face mask.
It’s 9:00 pm. I am ready for bed, but I am restless. You want to know what time I finally slept?
No idea, but it was way after 9:00 pm. I was so mad at myself for tossing and turning for only-God-knows how many hours.
5:00 am. LET’S DO THIS.
I jump up, go through my morning routine, and meditate. My mentor recommended a meditation app called Headspace, and it has helped calm my MCAT anxiety so much since I began using it everyday two weeks before Test Day.
Breakfast: Filipino-style eggs and tomatoes with rice and hot water.
A piece of advice, go to the bathroom and do your business the MORNING before your test. You do not have enough time to cater to your bowels during the exam.
The last thing I did before heading out the door was 2 CARS passages – just to wake my brain up.
I was the first one at the testing center- I arrived 45 minutes before registration began. The Pearson Center was on the 8th floor of a beautiful 12-story office building with a soothing indoor waterfall.
I enter the building, get checked in, and head up to the 8th floor. The registration process really showed me that the MCAT does NOT play games. They took my picture, my signature, my PALM VEIN PATTERN – yes, you read that right. They don’t even bother to take your thumbprint because apparently thumbprints are so 2010. They take both of your PALM VEIN PATTERNS. Then, they make you roll up your sleeves, put your pockets inside out, and pat you down.
AAMC goes hard.
After they take my cellphone and seal it in a bag, I put my things in my locker, enter the room, and the rest is history.
- Eat a light dinner the night before. Preferably fish with vegetables and carbs, but if you’re vegetarian, eat wholesome vegetables with lots of carbs.
- Plan to hit the pillow an hour before you would like to sleep.
- RELAX the day before. Try not to study.
- Have someone drive you to the testing center. Trust me, people do not want you on the road in that mental state.
- Get to the testing center 30 minutes earlier than when registration begins. The earlier you register, the earlier you take the test. The earlier you take the test, the earlier you finish.
- Take off all your jewelry. They do not even allow religious jewelry.
- Pack a LIGHT lunch filled with protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates to prevent a food coma.
- Stretch and eat fruit during your 10 minute breaks.
- Tell yourself you can do it, and believe it.
- Take at least 5-10 practice exams during your MCAT preparation so that your real MCAT just feels like another practice exam.
- Do at least two CARS passages everyday.
- Do NOT underestimate Psychology/Sociology.
- Create a master formula sheet.
- Pick a letter of the day for the questions you have no clue over.
- Do not leave anything blank!
- Surround yourself with support and positive aura. No room for negative vibes near your exam.
- This is not the hardest test you will take. Remember that.
- Fight your demons, every single day. YOU are in control.
- Treat yourself after the exam. There’s no better feeling than leaving the Testing Center knowing you gave it your best shot.
From the seven months of my MCAT preparation, I’ve learned that there are three definite rules of life in which governs growth:
1. If you never chase after your goals, you will never reach them.
2. If you never ask, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not step forward, you will always be stuck in the same place. Comfortability is the ultimate big, bad wolf in disguise.
I just want to thank everyone who supported me through this journey. Thank YOU for reading and not giving up on the fact that I was going to come back to write again. These past seven months have been brutal but so enlightening. I never knew I had it in me to overcome this challenge after losing my great-grandmother to heaven two months ago. I truly could not have done it without all the love I continuously got from my support circle. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.