Things NOT to do while taking the MCAT

So on one of those retakes I’ve had in the past, I took my sweater off during the verbal section. BAD IDEA!!!

The proctor came in and told me to put it back on due to the MCAT rules about removing clothing. And because he scared the $hit out of me, it took me ALL of 15 minutes to get over being mad as hell at him for interrupting me, to get my heart rate back down to normal, and to get my focus back.

And while my score wasn’t significantly affected, I KNOW I could have done at least 2 points better than I did since I lost so much precious time.

So PLEASE don’t remove ANYTHING while you’re taking the test.

And please feel free to add any other helpful tidbits!

Yep. I saw the sweater thing happen during my exam as well - was glad it wasn’t me.

Tip: the exam DOES NOT BEGIN ON ITS OWN after breaks.

If there is a line to get back in to the room after a break, don’t stress. The exam “waits” on the first section page, waiting for you to tell it to begin.

It MAY have some backstop/trigger after a very long interval, but I took at least 5 extra minutes between each section to do a bit of meditation and positive thinking, and absolutely nothing happened.

Tip: So many people talk about creating a “dump sheet” of equations, etc. during the tutorial. I think this is all wrong, and sets you up for an entire exam’s worth of anxiety. The mindset of the dump sheet is, “OMG. There is SO MUCH INFO. And if I don’t write it down right now I AM GOING TO FORGET IT ALL!!”.

Not true. By the time you sit down to take that test, you know it or you don’t.

Much better to take the time given to you for the tutorial to do something that will calm, focus, and center you for the task at hand.

Personally, I had a ritual of rewriting that organic transformation that appears in the tutorial of each practice test (no surprise here, it’s shown during the real tutorial as well). It got me thinking about things relevant to the test, was a way to slow down and pay attention to details, and allowed me to do something constructive (if menial… I didn’t understand the transformation very well, so was essentially just copying it) that was of no consequence to my score.

After that, I just took a moment to think about how hard I’d worked to get to this moment, and what a true privilege it is to have a life that allowed me to get there.

I don’t get my score until the 29th (at the earliest), but I can tell you that I felt great during the exam - not absolutely shell-shocked, like most people I saw during breaks.

tl;dr - find your focus, be calm.

Thanks for your great posts, Esperen.

Your excellent perspective and advice on this process is greatly appreciated.