MCAT Test Prep: How to Remember Everything


MCAT Test Prep: How to Remember Everything

This post originally appeared on the Magoosh MCAT blog.

So you download your MCAT content outlines and immediately start panicking. You had no idea that it was even possible to throw so much information on a single exam! You feel like you will never be able to remember everything once it’s time to take the test. Just like that, your hopes for a medical school acceptance are dashed. I’m here to let you know that it doesn’t have to be that way! You can and you will remember everything you need to know for the MCAT. Here are some MCAT test prep tips that will help you recall it all:

Okay - but how will I remember EVERYTHING for the MCAT?

If you have already started your MCAT test prep, you may have noticed that many of the practice questions don’t require rote memorization as much as they require critical thinking. This works to your advantage because it means that there are fewer facts that you have to memorize. Instead, you will need to train your brain to think about the information you’re given and to figure out the best answer based on what you already know.

In many ways, this is exactly how physicians think when they diagnose patients and decide a treatment plan. While it’s true that doctors have a huge wealth of knowledge, they must know how to apply this knowledge to each patient they see. For this reason, you should not focus your MCAT test prep on memorization, but instead on critical thinking. The best way to do this is to answer practice questions. Doing so will not only train your brain, but you will pick up on patterns and concepts that you may not have encountered otherwise.

What about concepts that I can’t seem to remember no matter what?

The best way to remember things is to connect them with things you already know and then do it over and over again (i.e. answer some more practice questions). Make sure you bake this sort of repetition into your studies. If you are following a MCAT study schedule, this will be included. If you’re not, try reconsidering! Magoosh experts curated a two month study schedule, three month study schedule, and six month study schedule for students, depending on how much time is left to prep.

Here’s an example of learning through connection: if you’re trying to remember the type of sugar found in milk, you might remember the cow cartoon on the lactose-free milk that your parents drink. You now have a way to associate lactose with milk, even though your association has nothing to do with carbohydrates and everything to do with what you had for breakfast. Keep in mind that the MCAT most likely won’t ask you to name the type of sugar found in milk directly (and if it does, count it as a blessing), so knowing this information is good, but knowing how to apply it is even better.

About the author: April is a newly accepted medical student who is passionate about passing the torch to up-and-coming pre-meds who are navigating the MCAT and med school admissions. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Clark Atlanta University and master’s degree in interdisciplinary health sciences from Drexel University College of Medicine. She loves magazines, audiobooks, kid and teen TV, and everything beauty!

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