The process of preparing for the MCAT is very difficult and time-consuming.
Most students are usually overwhelmed by the amount of material they need to cover for the MCAT.
Some of these materials need to be memorized in order to be put into practice later. Our brains and memory work in a very complex and yet organized way. Which is why Anki cards are a good place to start.
You have probably heard this many times: memory is like a muscle; the more you use and train it, the better it works. There are many techniques and strategies introduced to improve memory and information retention. Some are very useful for students who are preparing to take the MCAT.
How To Use Anki To Study For The MCAT
One of the most useful techniques which has been scientifically backed up is using flashcards.
You have probably heard about the flashcard application called “Anki” which facilitates memorization and retention process effectively. In this article, we are going to briefly review how to use Anki for MCAT.
Anki is a flashcard program that will allow you to review material that you need to memorize, using a technique called “active recall.” As the name indicates, active recall refers to actively summoning information rather than passively looking at it.
For example, you look at a sociology term and try to remember the definition just by looking at the word. It is the process of active engagement that allows you to recall the information later with precision and detail. Passive recall would be just reading the term and its definition.
The Power Of Spaced Repetition
The power of Anki lies in a technique called “spaced repetition technique”. It’s a learning technique where you learn and review materials in spaced intervals which increases over time. This will allow you to work on the retention of information and transfer the data to your long-term memory.
You might see a card every day for a while, but as you move forward, you see the card less frequently until you eventually learn the material by heart. So the next time you see that specific card might be a week later, a month later and so forth. This is very helpful especially for MCAT students because it saves you an undeniable amount of time. You don’t need to review ALL your cards EVERYDAY.
Anki will categorize the cards based on your performance and your need to review the material, saving a lot of time by reviewing what is necessary. This in turn, will leave you with a sense of control over the material that needs to be covered. It might initially feel overwhelming to see how much you have to cover for the MCAT in a short period of time but studying and reviewing with help of Anki can reduce anxiety and help you have a better performance.
How Many Flash Cards Should I Learn Every Day?
This is a very common question among students who use Anki for MCAT.
It really depends on how well you know your information but in order to make sure you are covering enough ground on a daily basis, go to settings after downloading Anki and set new cards/day to 999.
The default mode is set on 20 cards per day. This way, you can make sure that you will study as many cards as needed every day and you are not limited to a specific number of cards per day.
Anki can be a powerful tool that can change the way you are studying for the MCAT. The following is a list of features that can be useful when you want to use Anki to study for MCAT.
Curate or Create
Anki gives you the option to create your own flashcards. You can even put diagrams and illustrations on your cards and personalize them with tags. However, for many students, this process is very time-consuming. The good news is, you can always use pre-made decks shared on the internet.
One of the best qualities of Anki as a perfect tool for practicing for the MCAT is its ability to make use of your spare time. Anki phone app allows you to review the content on the go: while on the bus, in the subway station, waiting for your coffee. You can make use of these little snippets of time to review your flashcards easily.
With Anki and basically any other tool that uses spaced repetition technique, it is crucial that you stick to a schedule and review your cards EVERY DAY. As you know, you can do this basically anytime, anywhere. So your brain has no excuses to procrastinate! You might first feel like this is a waste of time because it’s taking a lot of time for you to learn new cards but take it from us, it’s worth it and it is going to take less and less of your time as you move forward.
Understand What You Are Learning
The MCAT is not just about remembering a random fact or an equation. You need to make use of what you have memorized in order to get your desired score. So make sure you apply what you learn in a relevant context. Otherwise, you feel like what you are doing is not effective at all.
Create Specific Cards
When you want to use Anki to study for MCAT, make sure you use cards with specific information.
The more you break down the information you want to memorize on cards, the better are your chances of learning them. It’s harder for our brains to remember big chunks of information so by breaking them down into smaller pieces, you help your brain out in absorbing them.
Again, you might find this time-consuming but take it from the experts, it’s worth putting that extra time.
Additionally, creating specific flashcards will, on its own, become another opportunity to learn and review the material.
Learn How to Use Anki
Anki is a simple flashcard program but like any other application, it takes some getting used to. Watching some tutorials or reading blogs on how to get started with Anki and use it specifically to study for MCAT can save you a lot of time and frustration.
Anki is a powerful, highly customizable tool for memorization of a variety of content. It can revolutionize the way you are studying for the MCAT if you use it correctly. It’s a great tool for MCAT first because it will help you get organized without having to worry about missing out on some content or forgetting to review some other.
As a result, Anki can help reduce stress and facilitate the learning process. Along with other practice material like Qbanks, exams and other types of practices, Anki flashcards can help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again by reviewing them consistently and making sure that the “correct” information is stored in your long-term memory.
Flash Cards Are Amazing, But They Aren’t Everything
As mentioned above, the MCAT is not just about memorizing information. It requires you to apply the information you have memorized and answer very specific questions.
Gaining ground on your MCAT journey isn’t just about rote memorization, it’s about putting into practice what you learn, and applying it to complex principles. Flash cards alone won’t get you there.
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