How to Make the Most of Your MCAT Study Group
NOVEMBER 21, 2015
In order to get the most from your MCAT preparation, you should allow yourself three to six months to study. Some students prefer to study on their own while others prefer the support or solidarity of an MCAT study group.
Studying with an MCAT study group can offer you a lot of benefits including opportunities to: share or learn new ideas, cover more material, lessen the chance of cramming, minimize test anxiety, and give or receive support.
Nevertheless, you should know that not all study groups are effective. Here are some tips you can follow to help ensure study group success:
Tip #1: Arrange a group ─ not a party
Although a lot of students may be interested in developing an MCAT study group, for the most effective studying, you should limit the size of your group to six members or less. Depending on personal study preferences or the goals of the group, you may not want to exceed four members. Whomever you form a group with just make sure the members are committed for the long-term.
Tip #2: Aim for balance
For a good MCAT study group, look for members of different backgrounds and academic strengths so that the “Team” is academically balanced. This enhances the learning process for everyone. Think about it, if everyone you study with has the same arts or science academic background then it is easy to miss out on creative ideas, approaches, or content.
Tip #3: Share responsibilities
Each week, assign a different member of the group as the group facilitator. The facilitator ensures that everyone is prepared, the MCAT study schedule is followed, and non-study related topics are kept to a minimum and discussed only after the study session. This provides everyone the chance to be responsible for and maintain an interest within the group.
Tip #4: Make the most of your time
With multiple people working together within a group, it may be challenging to establish meeting times that fit into everyone’s schedule. Still, in an effort to avoid relying on your MCAT study group too much, limit group study sessions to only two to three hours and make the most of your time by ensuring the group covers all the key MCAT topics.
Tip #5: Study before your group session
MCAT study groups work best when members study on their own and then participate in study sessions by asking questions concerning what they studied and sharing what they learned. Remember to respect your peers’ reasoning and do not interrupt whomever is making a presentation. A study group also helps you develop your communication and interpersonal skills, which are essential in medical school as well as your future medical practice.
Tip #6: Research good MCAT study techniques
Yet another benefit of studying with a group is improving your study habits. Your peers may have study habits that you can adapt. And of course, they can even learn from you.