Staying Cool on the Day of Your MCAT Exam

  • 11 May, 2016

1. Stay Healthy

Staying healthy is the key during MCAT preparation as well as on the day of your examination. This includes:

  • A good night sleep before the day of the exam - avoid trying to cram months of learning within a couple of hours.
  • Healthy diet - a light dinner the previous night and a healthy full breakfast on the day of your exam is a good way to start the day. While a light dinner helps you sleep better, a full-fledged breakfast is a great way to kick start your day to get your energies flowing.
  • Breathing techniques - deep breathing is a great way to de-stress. Spend a few minutes just before your exam and breathe consciously and deeply. This gets rid of all the pre-exam jitters and will help bring you to a calmer state of mind.
  • Exercise - mental stress often results in body pain. To relieve stress, practice stretches that flexes your body and will help make you feel energized.

2. Revise Only Key Concepts

You might prefer to keep your revision sessions either the night before the exam or early morning next day. Either way, it is best to go through just the key concepts instead of revising all that you set your eyes on. Avoid revising anything an hour or two before your exam. This helps you keep a relaxed mindset when you begin your exam.

3. Read Questions Carefully

Despite preparing well, some people do not score well. A main reason behind this is they fail to read questions carefully. Spending a few more seconds to re-read questions helps you answer them with better accuracy.

4. Manage Your Time Effectively

A good time-management technique is to avoid spending a lot of time on one question. If you find a question particularly difficult, proceed to another question. This technique not only helps manage your time better, but also enables you to cover each section equally. Once you have worked your way to the end of the paper, you can revert to questions that haven't been attempted yet. Also avoid drinking too much water during the exam, which can cause frequent bathroom visits, thereby eating up your precious time. Remember to carry spare material, such as pens and pencils-should one stop functioning, you can always use another.

5. Keep all Your Materials Ready

Prior to the day of your exam, ensure you have all the necessary tools and material ready. These include stationery items, calculators, MCAT study guide, clocks/watches, medicines etc. You also need to start early to be better prepared for situations that can delay your journey to the exam center.

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