Hi everyone! The past three weeks have been hectic for me, and it all revolves around the fact that I finally took the MCAT. The relief I’ve felt ever since I took my test is unexplainable. I can finally breathe, sleep, eat, and feel like myself. I’ve been holding my breath for four months and I finally let it out. So today, I’m going to share a bit of what my journey has been over the last five months.
Before the MCAT
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take the MCAT following the normal schedule (taking it before the cycle opens). It had been a while since I took my pre-reqs, and I needed time to study. I decided that a June date would be the best for me. Yes, it would be after applications opened up, but I felt it would still be enough time to be considered early. I registered for my MCAT in January after returning from Nigeria. I also signed up for NextStep’s Online Course. Many people say you don’t need a course, but I knew I did. I was retaking this exam and needed all the guidance and support I could get. Also, I’m not very good with standardized test and I knew I would need help reasoning out the test. I heard about Nextstep from a podcast by Dr. Gray called The MCAT Podcast, and I felt they would work for me. If you are like me (non-trad, need help with standardized tests, need personalized content, etc), and also have some cash to spare I would say to check them out.
So I took my Diagnostic test at the end of January, and officially started studying in February. I had a rhythm. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays were my study days. I studied in my office on campus, to mimic a test environment. Everything was going well, until Covid-19. Once the lockdown started, I no longer had a place to study. My apartment didn’t have a desk and my motivation was at a all-time low. I also had online classes and work. I was overwhelmed. MCAT stuff took a backseat for about three weeks. I still tried to study, but my productivity levels were low.
Towards the end of April, I started having more energy, more motivation and started focusing more. I finished content review and got into the practice tests. I took three NextStep tests and all four AAMC tests. I didn’t have time to take the sample test. I also utilized almost all the AAMC material. There were some things I couldn’t get to at the end.
The week before my test, I started breaking out. Big painful pimples that I’m guessing were caused by stress. I couldn’t eat. I had difficulty falling and staying asleep. I had vivid dreams about the exam. I would wake up around 3am sweating and scared for no reason. Even my mum and my sister had difficulty sleeping. It was like they were going through the emotions with me. It honestly made me feel better, less lonely almost!
The day before my exam, I woke up at 4:45am and did a dry run. I showered, dressed up and drove to the center as if it was the actual exam day. Funnily, I missed a turn close to the center. I’m very glad it happened on the day before. Doing this gave me a bit of confidence. I didn’t do any MCAT work. I called my family and friends and spent most of the day gisting with them. I went into my test feeling very loved and supported.
During the Exam
That morning I woke up at 4:30am. My sister was awake with me and stayed on a call as I got ready. I felt quiet calm and glad cause I knew it would be over soon. The drive was uneventful and consisted of me playing Nigerian music to calm my nerves. We had to use the stairs to the fourth floor which had me winded. I was annoyed because there was an elevator in the building, but the test was very early so that part of the building wasn’t open. I calmed myself and tried not to focus on my racing heart while I waited for the center to open. I ended up being the first candidate of the day and eventually the first person to start. I had practiced with 7 minute breaks so I ended up having leftover time during each break. I didn’t eat anything before and during the test. I think better when I don’t have the itis; but I had a good dinner the night before, so I wasn’t hungry. The test felt comparable to my practice exams. Yes it was difficult, but it wasn’t unexpected. I really hope I do well.
After the exam
I started my test at 6:15am and was done at 11:45am ish. Once I got in the car, I called my sister, then my mum. My mum kept saying, ‘I’ve been waiting for this call since morning. I can now rest.’ lol. She had been so anxious for me and was almost as glad as I was to be done. My sister hadn’t been able to fall back asleep and was also waiting for my call. Everyone was tired and I don’t blame them. They have been my support system throughout the process so all the stress has also been stressing them too. I picked up some seafood boil after and ate to my heart’s content.
Overall, studying for and taking the MCAT during a pandemic was stressful. This exam was hard of enough to prepare for without the added stress of a virus trying to kill us. But I’m glad I had people in my corner. My family and friends checking in on me, especially since I lived alone. Also knowing that I had already paid for the course was an incentive to keep pushing through. I’m glad it’s over and I hope for good results
- All my transcripts have finally arrived AMCAS. Hopefully, I will finally be in line to get verified.
- I have received 2 secondaries, and have started working on them.
- I am trying to create my school list still.
Please like and comment. Let me know your thoughts. Is anyone else stressed right now? What questions do you have about this exam? Till next time, Bye!