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Blog / Balancing Work And MCAT Prep Strategies For Success

Balancing Work and MCAT Prep: Strategies for Success

Written by Seza on Nov 6, 2023

Balancing Work and MCAT Prep: Strategies for Success

Welcome to the world of juggling, where you’re trying to balance work and MCAT prep like a pro. Congratulations on embarking on the noble journey of becoming a medical professional! However, we all know that the path to success is not paved with roses but with endless hours of studying, caffeine overdoses, and occasional existential crises. 

If you need help balancing your work and MCAT prep, fear not! In this blog, we’ll share some sassy strategies to help you slay your job and MCAT like your ultimate boss. 

So, buckle up, grab your favorite energy drink, and let’s dive into the world of balancing work and MCAT prep!


Why Balancing Work and MCAT Prep Is Important?

The MCAT is a rigorous and challenging test that requires months of dedicated study, but it can be difficult to find the time to focus on it when juggling the demands of a full-time job or other responsibilities. 

However, by committing to finding a balance between work and MCAT prep, individuals can ensure that they can give their best effort on both fronts. A balanced approach allows for efficient use of time, helps prevent burnout, and promotes a sense of well-being and confidence that can ultimately lead to greater success on the exam. 


4 Smart Strategies for Balancing Work and MCAT Prep

#1 Create a Schedule and Stick to It

Dedicate specific blocks of time to studying for the MCAT to make sure you’re making steady progress toward your goal of achieving a great score. Additionally, having a clear schedule can help reduce stress and allow you to focus on both work and studying without feeling overwhelmed

How to Create a Realistic MCAT Study Schedule

Creating a realistic MCAT study schedule can be challenging, but with some tips, it can become much easier to balance work and study. Here are some suggestions to help you create a realistic schedule:

  1. Start by identifying your work schedule and other commitments: Knowing your work schedule and other commitments, such as family events or social engagements, will help you better plan your study time.
  2. Set specific and achievable goals: Determine what you want to accomplish and break it down into smaller goals that are attainable. This will make it easier to track your progress and adjust your schedule as necessary.
  3. Block out dedicated study time: Schedule regular blocks of time for studying, and stick to them as much as possible. This will help you develop a routine and ensure that you’re making consistent progress.
  4. Be flexible and realistic: It’s essential to be flexible and realistic with your schedule. If you miss a study session due to unforeseen circumstances, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just adjust your schedule and get back on track.
  5. Take breaks: Don’t forget to take breaks! Regular breaks can help you stay focused and energized.
  6. Use MCAT prep resources: Use MCAT prep resources to help guide your study sessions and make the most of your time. There are many great study materials available, such as practice tests, study guides, and online resources.


#2 Maximize Your Time

Identifying time-wasting activities is a smart strategy for balancing work and MCAT prep that can be incredibly beneficial. Evaluate how you spend your time to free up valuable hours for MCAT studying. Not only does this help us make the most of our time, but it also allows us to feel more in control of our schedules and less stressed.

Be mindful of how we use our time to get a better work-life balance and set ourselves up for success in all areas of our lives.

Read More: Time Management for MCAT Prep


How to Utilize Downtime for MCAT Prep

Make the most of the time that would otherwise go to waste to use these moments to reinforce your knowledge and skills effectively reinforce your knowledge and skills. This approach not only helps you to stay on track with your study goals but also maximizes your productivity, allowing them to make the most of your available time.


#3 Take Advantage of Online Resources

With the rise of online learning platforms, you can now access a wealth of resources that can help you succeed on the exam without compromising your work commitments. 

These resources include online study materials, practice tests, interactive tools, and even virtual study groups. Use these resources to create a flexible and personalized study schedule that fits your busy lifestyle. Then, with dedication and hard work, you can confidently prepare for the MCAT and achieve success on test day.

Read More: Best MCAT Study Option

List of popular MCAT online resources

It’s a popular MCAT prep company that offers a variety of resources, including an online course, practice questions, and flashcards. The Jack Westin MCAT Online Course is a comprehensive course that covers all four sections of the MCAT. The course includes video lectures, practice questions, and a personalized study plan.

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization that offers free online courses in a variety of subjects, including the MCAT. The Khan Academy MCAT course is a self-paced course covering all four MCAT sections. The course includes video lectures, practice questions, and explanations.

This one is a must-have resource for any MCAT student. The guide includes practice questions, explanations, and information about the MCAT format and content.


How to Choose the Right Online Resources

Here are some key factors to consider when selecting an MCAT online course:

  • Course Content:

Look for a course that covers all the necessary MCAT topics, including biology, chemistry, physics, and critical analysis and reasoning skills. 

The course should provide comprehensive study materials, practice tests, and interactive tools to help you fully understand and master the material.

  • Reputation and Reviews:

 Do some research on the course provider and read reviews from past students. Look for courses with a strong reputation for quality instruction and student success.

  • Cost and Value: 

Consider the cost of the course and compare it to the value it provides. Look for courses that offer a good balance of affordability and quality content.

  • Flexibility: 

Choose a course that fits your schedule and study habits. Look for courses that offer flexible study options, including self-paced learning, live online classes, and on-demand video lectures.

  • Support: 

Consider the level of support the course provides, including access to instructors, study groups, and tutoring services. Look for courses that offer personalized support and guidance to help you succeed.


#4 Leverage MCAT Study Groups

These study groups provide a supportive and collaborative environment for students to learn from each other and share their knowledge and experiences.

Join a study group to benefit from the shared resources, insights, and perspectives of other students, which can fill in gaps in your understanding of the material. 

Moreover, the social aspect of study groups can help to alleviate the stress and isolation that often comes with the demands of work and studying for the MCAT. 


How to Select the Right Study Group

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a study group:

  • Size: 

Look for a group with a manageable number of members, usually between 3-8 students. This ensures that everyone can participate in discussions and that there is enough time for everyone to ask and answer questions.

  • Skill level: 

Find a group that is at a similar skill level to you. If you are just starting your MCAT prep, you may want to avoid more advanced groups or vice versa.

  • Availability: 

Consider the group’s schedule and availability. Make sure that the study group meets at a time and frequency that works for you.

  • Group dynamic: 

Observe the group’s dynamic and ensure it aligns with your learning style. If you prefer a more structured and focused study approach, look for a group that follows a strict agenda. If you prefer a more relaxed and casual approach, look for a more flexible group.

  • Location: 

Decide if you prefer an online or in-person study group. Online groups offer convenience and flexibility, while in-person groups may provide a more personalized experience.


Case Studies

Case 1: John 

John was a 25-year-old pre-med student working full-time as a waiter while preparing for the MCAT. He had always dreamed of becoming a doctor, but he knew that the MCAT would be a challenging exam. 

John decided to start studying for the MCAT six months before the test date. He used various resources, including books, online courses, and practice tests. He also created a study schedule and stuck to it as much as possible. 

Hefound that the most important thing was to be disciplined and to stay focused on his goal. He also made sure to take breaks when he needed them and to get enough sleep. In the end, John achieved his goal of scoring high on the MCAT and was accepted to medical school.


Case 2: Sarah

Sarah, a single mother who worked full-time as a nurse, had always aspired to attend medical school. However, she put her dream on hold to raise her daughter. It was not until her daughter started school that Sarah decided to pursue her ambition of becoming a doctor. 

She was determined to succeed despite the challenge of balancing work, school, and parenting. She began studying for the MCAT six months before the exam and used various resources, including books, online courses, and practice tests. 

Sarah created a study schedule and prioritized time management and organization to stay on track. She also took care of her physical and emotional well-being by ensuring she got enough sleep. In the end, Sarah succeeded in achieving a high MCAT score and was admitted to medical school.


Case 3: Michael 

As a 30-year-old veteran working full-time as a security guard, Michael had always dreamed of becoming a doctor, but had put his ambitions on hold to serve in the military. 

After leaving the military, he pursued his goal with determination, despite the challenges of balancing work, school, and being a veteran. Michael began his MCAT preparation six months before the test date and utilized a variety of resources such as books, online courses, and practice tests. 

He created and adhered to a study schedule, prioritizing motivation and focus while also ensuring adequate sleep and self-care. In the end, Michael’s hard work and dedication paid off, as he successfully scored high on the MCAT and was accepted to medical school.


Unique Challenges Each One Faced and How They Overcame Them

  • John: 

He faced the challenge of balancing work, school, and MCAT prep. He worked full-time as a waiter, so he had to work long hours and often late into the night. He was also taking demanding pre-med classes, which required a lot of time and effort. 

In addition, he was studying for the MCAT, a challenging exam that requires months of preparation. John overcomes these challenges by creating a strict study schedule and sticking to it as much as possible. He also made sure to get enough sleep and take breaks when needed. He was disciplined and focused on his goal, and he achieved his dream of becoming a doctor.


  • Sarah: 

She had to confront the daunting task of balancing work, school, and parenting. Being a full-time nurse meant that she had to work long hours, including weekends. Moreover, as a single mother, she had the added responsibilities of looking after her daughter and taking care of her household. 

Additionally, she was preparing for the challenging MCAT exam, which requires months of dedication and focus. Nonetheless, Sarah managed to overcome these hurdles by being organized and efficient with her time. 

Sarah devised a study schedule that suited her needs and followed it as much as possible, all while ensuring she got adequate rest and took care of herself both physically and emotionally. With her resolute determination to succeed, Sarah ultimately fulfilled her dream of becoming a doctor.


  • Michael: 

Balancing work, school, and the demands of being a veteran was a formidable challenge that Michael faced. As a full-time security guard, he had to work long hours, including weekends. As a veteran, he had to deal with the physical and emotional challenges that come with military service. 

Additionally, he was studying for the MCAT, which is an arduous exam that requires several months of preparation. Despite these obstacles, Michael was determined to succeed and stay focused on his goal. 

To achieve his aim, he created a study schedule that suited his needs and followed it as much as possible. Besides, he ensured that he got enough rest and took care of his physical and emotional well-being. His unwavering commitment to success paid off as he achieved his goal of becoming a doctor.



In conclusion, balancing work and MCAT prep is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s achievable with the right strategies and mindset. Whether creating a study schedule, taking regular breaks, leveraging MCAT study groups, or seeking professional help, there are several ways to succeed in both aspects of your life. So why wait? Start implementing these strategies today, and with hard work and dedication, you’ll soon be on your way to achieving your goals. 

And for those who need extra support, we recommend getting a Free Consultation from Jack Westin, a leading expert in MCAT prep. Let us help you come up with a winning strategy that works for you and puts you on the path to success.

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