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Blog / Best Time Management Strategies For MCAT Students

Best Time Management Strategies for MCAT Students

Written by Nassim on Jul 5, 2022

Are you an MCAT student struggling to manage your time effectively? Are you worried you won’t be able to complete all the necessary studying in time for the test? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many students find themselves in the same position. Luckily, there are a few time management strategies that can help. This blog post discusses the best time management strategies for MCAT students and how to improve your MCAT time management.

How to Set a Winning Strategy for MCAT Time Management

Preparing for MCAT is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each student studying for MCAT approach the exam with their own plans based on their strengths and weaknesses. Students have different schedules. Some work part-time, while others try to maintain a balance between their life and studies. However, it is possible to balance these multiple responsibilities, and it is essential to develop a time management strategy to help you with time management.

How much time do you need to spend a day preparing for MCAT? The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has determined that, on average, students will study for about 260 hours. However, it is important to remember that this value is an average and the average MCAT score is currently 501.5. Therefore, some students may need to learn more, depending on the basics and score goals.

The best indicator of how long it takes to learn is understanding your strengths and weaknesses. As mentioned, each student comes to their own study plan with their unique background. To determine where you should focus your time and energy, and MCAT diagnostic is needed. Once you establish your areas of weakness you can then determine how long, and which sections you should focus on.

If you’re looking to get started, CLICK HERE to take Jack Westin’s FREE MCAT Diagnostic.

MCAT TIP: The most important thing to remember is not to exceed your limits. Burnout is real. Therefore it’s important to incorporate balance into your study schedule. 

There are two secrets to a successful learning plan. Understanding that planning is dynamic (that is, changing during the learning process) and thinking about the ability to be productive. Here are five beliefs about today’s effective time management that you can use to prepare for the MCAT:

Know Your Personal Style and Achilles Heel

To make a learning plan, you need to know yourself. If you are procrastinating, consider allocating a few extra weeks to your MCAT schedule, considering learning time discrepancies. If you are a visual learner, put your visual resources at the top of your learning plan. If you have weak physics and strong biochemistry, spend more time on physics in the early stages of your preparation.

To-Do Lists Must Be Fluid

Like we mentioned earlier, your schedule needs to be flexible, however an MCAT course is an excellent way to keep you on track. If one day or you miss a module, don’t be upset. You have the next few days to catch up. It’s important to remember that taking the MCAT is just as much about reviewing content as it is preparing for the exam itself. It’s better to miss a day and take your time catching up than it is to cram as much information in as little time as possible. Therefore keep your to-do lists flexible. The best place to start is a Jack Westin MCAT Course.

Focus on the Top 3 Every Day

At the end of each day, take the time to reflect on what you have learned. As you study, you will discover strengths and weaknesses that you are not familiar with. Remember that you don’t have unlimited time to study, and you want to focus your energy where you need it most. So instead of listing out the thirty things you need to learn tomorrow, focus on three of the most important topics to cover. By breaking up your to do list in smaller, more manageable chunks, you will be less likely to succumb to MCAT anxiety and overwhelm.

Break the To-do List into Separate Steps

Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses, identify the specific actions you can take. For example, suppose you practice physics the day before and realize that the Doppler Effect is a weakness. In this case, you can change the to-do list for the next day by reviewing the Doppler Effect module or rereading the relevant MCAT content sections.

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

Build a system that suits you. For example, some people prefer to take notes online, while others prefer to write on paper. If you want to keep track of your progress somewhere, it may also be helpful to have an MCAT journal that keeps track of important information. Create spreadsheets, index cards, and other documents to help organize your content.

Take Scheduled Breaks

We all know how important it is to take breaks. Scheduled breaks help us recharge and refresh so that we can come back to our work with new energy and ideas. But did you know that scheduled breaks can also help improve your performance? A recent study found that students who took scheduled breaks during an exam performed better than those who didn’t. The study found that the scheduled break allowed students to clear their heads and refocus on the task at hand. So if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, make sure to schedule a break. You’ll be glad you did!

Stay Organized

It’s no secret that preparing for the MCAT exam is a daunting task. With so much material to cover, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and struggle to keep everything straight. That’s why it’s crucial to stay organized throughout your studies. It is recommended to use separate notebooks for each subject and color-coding your flashcards to help you keep track of different concepts. Also, create a study schedule and stick to it as best. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day to studying, and make sure to take breaks when you need them. By staying organized and keeping on top of your studying, you’ll be more likely to succeed on the MCAT exam.

Use a Timer to Stay Focused

If you’re studying for the MCAT exam, you know that it’s essential to stay focused and on track. You can use a timer for it. Setting a timer for each task or study session can help ensure that you stay on track and make the most of your time. Additionally, using a timer can help to increase your focus and concentration. When you know that you only have a certain amount of time to complete a task, you’re more likely to focus your attention on that task and not allow yourself to get distracted. Timers can also help break up large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that you need to study for the MCAT exam, consider using a timer to help keep you on track and focused.

Strategies for Speeding up the MCAT Science Section

The MCAT Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology sections test your knowledge of scientific topics and your ability to analyze them, apply them to external data, and synthesize various data. Relying on important remembered concepts is not enough to understand these sections. Science passage-based questions require you to apply content that you may already know in unexpected ways. If you’re working on different types of questions and don’t know the right strategy to identify the answer, you’ll have difficulty completing these sections promptly. Here are some section-specific strategies you can use to improve speed:

Active learning for MCAT Science

MCAT consists primarily of passage-based questions that require you to use the information presented in the passage to integrate what you already know and apply your skills to find the answer. The science section also contains individual questions that test your ability to recall background information quickly. However, even with these questions, it is not enough to immediately recall or remember the main concepts of the MCAT. Instead, focus on active learning while preparing for MCAT. How well do you know the science concept? Did you just memorize what you need to know, or do you truly understand it? By taking the time to actively learn the concept behind a particular topic you will be better prepared come test day.

Strategies for MCAT CARS

Unlike the other sections, MCAT CARS does not assess the student’s existing knowledge in a particular field of study. Instead, you will be presented with informed sentences and questions that require you to use critical thinking, analysis, and reasoning skills. All information to answer the question is provided in the passage. This will allow students to believe that this is a simple MCAT section that does not require much preparation. That is not true. It takes weeks, if not months, of preparation time to develop the critical thinking skills needed to tackle CARS questions. Due to their unique requirements, many students find this section the most difficult. One of the biggest challenges is finding the right MCAT CARS strategy to answer your questions on time. The best way to prepare for MCAT CARS is to get help from qualified tutors. At Jack Westin we host a FREE CARS Live Session each week. Be sure to sign up by clicking HERE.


The MCAT is one of the most important exams you will ever take. Developing a time management strategy that works for you and allows you to take responsibility for your own success is essential. This may require some trial and error, but it is well worth it to achieve your goal of becoming a doctor. Check out our other blog posts for more tips on preparing for the MCAT.

If you’re looking to get started on your MCAT journey, be sure to get connected with a Jack Westin Academic Advisor. This one-on-one session is completely free and will help you understand where you need to start your journey, the best resources to take advantage of, and how you can best prepare. CLICK HERE to get started!

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