Ready to Take the MCAT?
For today’s post we want to take less in numbers and more about another big question:
If you push back your Test Date, what’s going to change?
Usually when panic sets in, there’s a temptation to reschedule the test just to buy yourself more time. It’s certainly an understandable feeling, but it’s also a big mistake.
If you’ve set up a particular study schedule and kept to that schedule then chances are you should simply take the test when you were originally registered for it. Two more weeks of the same sorts of study habits are just going to get you the same results. So when considering whether to push back Test Day, ask yourself that question, “If I have three more weeks, what’s going to be different about the way I spend those three weeks? Why do I think I’ll get different results with a bit more time?”
Phrasing the question this way forces us to look very carefully at specifics about how we’ve been studying and what we could do differently. Here are a few of the most common examples of the sorts of situations that would merit pushing back the test:
1. I was sick and lost three weeks of study time (or something else unexpected happened).
2. I was spending lots of time studying as if it was a science test, but not taking enough practice exams.
3. I’ve been working through my MCAT books but still have 10 chapters to review – I haven’t read them at all!
4. My scores on practice tests have been low enough that even if I have my best day ever, I wouldn’t bother applying to med school.
5. I’ve really been slacking off and I’ve only gotten through like 50% of my study plan.
By contrast, you should not reschedule just because you’re feeling one of these:
1. I went through all the chapters in my MCAT books, but I just want to go through them all twice
2. I still feel really uncomfortable with buoyancy (or electrochemistry, or nephrons, etc.) even though I went through that chapter.
3. My practice test scores are okay, but still a couple of points shy of what I want.
4. I get test anxiety, and I’ve been feeling really, really nervous about the exam.
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to take the test is a pretty big one and the most important thing you can do is get advice from knowledgeable folks, consider that advice, and make the decision that you know is right for you. If your gut instinct is telling you, “DO NOT DO THIS” then you’ve gotta listen to your instincts. But don’t mistake test jitters for real gut instinct.
Good luck! 🙂