This past weekend, I wrapped up 3 solid months of studying by taking the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). It’s similar to the ACT except about a hundred times harder. There are four sections – Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and a writing sample. Physical Sciences covers physics and general chemistry; Biological Sciences includes general human and organismal biology as well as organic chemistry; and Verbal Reasoning involves reading a passage and answering detailed questions that test comprehension and ability to think critically. These three exams are timed and take between 60 and 70 minutes. The writing sample is two 30 minute essays on a given topic.
The most difficult part of studying for the MCAT is knowing that one can know every little detail of the body, every chemical reagent, every formula and every hormone and still do very poorly. The MCAT is designed to test a student’s ability to apply concepts and think quickly and accurately under stress. That fact, obviously, is enough to stress a person even more! As I said before, I spent several hours every week this semester studying for the test, either by taking practice tests, reviewing concepts, trying to understand new concepts and making a giant study guide. And that wasn’t too bad; it was an extra responsibility, an important part of my day, but it wasn’t a major stress inducer. The week before the test, however, I did nothing but study. I went to class, went to the Caf, and studied. It was awful. My brain was so full by Thursday! On Friday, I took it easier and made no-bakes with my friend Rachel to de-stress a bit, which was incredibly nice, as it might have been the first fun thing I’d done all week.
Saturday was test day. I woke up at 5:45 and couldn’t get back to sleep for nerves, so I had an extra early start to my day! When I finally left the testing center, 5 hours after starting my test, I almost cried, I was so happy to be done. I won’t get my scores for about a month, which I’m not such a fan of, but such is life, I guess… Right now, I’m just glad to be done. I feel like I have so much more time in my day now that I don’t have to study for the MCAT!