It can be discouraging and frustrating when you keep studying diligently without getting the score improvement you are working so hard towards.
Even more, it can be pretty scary to see your MCAT test date approaching, yet you keep falling short of your goal score.
Are you not ready to take the exam? Should you consider pushing your MCAT date further?
If you are in this panic mode, wondering how to improve MCAT score in time for the actual exam, slow down and take a deep breath.
This comprehensive guide will outline everything you need to know and exactly what you need to start doing to work towards a score improvement.
- The MCAT is very different from other undergraduate exams, so you cannot pass this test by merely using conventional study methods.
- Acing the MCAT will require a combination of content mastery, mental fortitude, physical stamina, and critical reasoning skills.
- Understanding what makes the MCAT fundamentally different from other exams will help you adopt better study methodologies and strategies for MCAT success.
- The key aspect to boosting your MCAT score is to do lots of practice using questions and full-length exams. There is no shortcut around this.
Improving MCAT Score In Each MCAT Section
The MCAT is very different from other undergraduate exams, and if you are struggling to improve your score, you may have realized that already.
This exam isn’t harder just in the breadth of information covered (read more about how hard the MCAT is). Rather, the MCAT is also challenging owing to the length of the exam and the way the passages, questions, and answer choices are created.
The challenge is how you are required to think to arrive at the correct answer with speed and accuracy. So first, let’s look at how you can improve your score in each MCAT section.
How To Improve Your Chem/Phys MCAT Score
One of the reasons why the Chem/Phys section is so difficult is because it integrates a broad range of subjects. This section requires you to have knowledge in General Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.
Furthermore, the Chem/Phys section demands that you possess complex reasoning skills. It’s not merely knowing the science content. Rather, the numerous passage-based questions require reasoning skills.
You may be required to think about experimental design and how it could be altered. Or perhaps look at data and figure out what conclusions you can or cannot draw from the provided data.
Another great reason why the Chem/Phys section is difficult is the math.
There are not only equations and constants that you need to memorize off-head, but also the time-crunch means that you will have to be very good at making fast calculations without the help of a calculator.
So how can you overcome all these challenges and secure a top score in Chem/Phys?
1. Get The Basics And Foundations Down
You cannot apply what you do not understand. So the first thing should be to make sure you memorize enough information to have a basic understanding of the concepts tested in this section.
Firstly, make connections.
Physics is applied Math; Chemistry is applied Physics; Biochemistry is applied Organic Chemistry etc.
All the sciences are incredibly interconnected, and drawing connections by applying elaborative interrogation, will help you understand how each variable connects to the others.
Secondly, know your formulas.
The Chem/Phys section requires you to know and use many physics equations. While some may be provided on the exam, it is not guaranteed. So you need to be well-versed in any equation you may encounter on the test.
Pro Tip: During MCAT prep, try to do 45-60 minutes of Chem/Phys content review every other day.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice!!
The Chem/Phys section requires critical thinking skills and not just content mastery, and it takes time to build these skills. So start early, and make liberal use of practice tests and practice questions.
Learn to do basic math without a calculator. Practice unit conversions, working with equations, dividing and multiplying scientific notations, rounding, etc. Just practice as much as you possibly can.
As you work on practice questions, make a note of every equation you encounter and practice using these equations so you can apply them efficiently in consequent practice questions.
Pro Tip: In most Chem/Phys passages, you can get away with simply skimming through for relevant information rather than reading too much into the passage. Only focus on the graphs and data if the questions ask you to.
3. Use Untimed Tests
This may seem counterintuitive, but here is the thing: you need to learn how to solve problems accurately before you can master the art of doing so quickly.
Take your time going through each practice question, and make an honest attempt at reasoning out the answer without panicking about time running out.
As you get better at critical reasoning, your confidence will increase and you will be able to get the right answers faster. Then you can switch to timed tests to work on your pacing.
Pro Tip: Shoot for 30-50 Chem/Phys passage-based practice questions daily.
4. Perform Effective Post-Test Reviews
Reading the answer explanations will help reinforce your rationale, allowing you to learn better and be able to critically look at how you approached the question.
Don’t only focus on the wrong answers, rather, also take time to look into why you got a certain answer right.
Did you get an answer wrong because you misinterpreted key information in the passage or question, OR did you get it wrong because you improperly applied a concept or equation? Or did you not know the equation altogether?
You need to have concrete takeaways from the practice exams, identifying exactly where you went wrong and what you can do better next time.
How To Improve Your CARS MCAT Score
One thing that makes the CARS section challenging is that there is no content knowledge required.
With there being no prerequisite science knowledge you are supposed to know, the challenging bit is that the section tests your ability to read and interpret the passages while thinking critically about what arguments the author is trying to make.
In addition to making sense of the complex written material, you also need to figure out what information, if introduced, would affect the author’s arguments.
As you may already know, this is not an easy thing for a student to do.
Furthermore, it can be pretty difficult to obtain the critical analysis and reasoning skills required to ace this section. You will need to put a good amount of time and effort into learning these skills.
Another challenging aspect of this section is that the passages cover a variety of disciplines in Humanities and Social Studies.
So that being said, how can you guarantee a high score in the CARS section?
1. Read, Read, Read!!
Read Dickens, read plenty of opinion essays, read nonfiction books on how tractors work, read the New Yorker magazine, read news magazines that analyze the news, read opinion-based articles, and everything in between.
Read everything that’s good, even if it’s boring to you! You’ll have to read passages you hate on the actual MCAT, so you might as well get used to it in real life!
Reading vastly will help train your eyes to be able to absorb a ton of text at once. While still quickly understanding what the author is saying.
The point isn’t so much how well you understand what you are reading. Rather, it is all about how well you can think critically about what you are reading.
As such, while understanding the discussions going on and the arguments being made, read like a skeptic, trying to form counterarguments in your mind.
Pro Tip: Set aside at least 30 minutes daily to read classics of literature, literary articles, journals, and other scholarly materials. Alternatively, you may also opt to complete 2 CARS passages per day.
2. Practice Active Reading
In addition to what material you are reading, how you read is equally important when preparing adequately for the CARS section.
Here are a few pointers you might want to apply when it comes to active reading:
- Stop after each paragraph and identify its main point.
- Highlight any keywords or sentences within the paragraph that you find important to the overall message of the paragraph.
- Make sure you know what the highlighted words and concepts mean, looking them up if you need to.
- Understand what each paragraph is contributing to the passage at large.
- After reading the entire passage, but before reading the questions, use your own words to identify the main point or the core concept of the passage.
Learn how to analyze the tone of each passage. What’s the author’s stance on this particular topic? Are they serious or laid back?
Pro Tip: Approach passage reading as if the author is a liar who just wants to convince you of their ideas, and it’s your job to prove them wrong. This will help you be more critical of the arguments being made by the author.
3. Beware of Trick Answers
Generally, there will be an answer that is too broad, one that is too narrow, one that is just right and one that is completely wrong.
Of course, it is easy to eliminate the answer that is completely wrong but how do you decide between the 2 or 3 answer choices that look good, keeping in mind that there is only one correct answer?
It is tempting to choose the broad answer because it sounds deep and swapping. It is similarly tempting to choose the narrow answer because it usually directly incorporates exact words from the passage. Do not fall for these traps!
Pro Tip: The correct answer may sound good, but it will not sound as great as the trap answers, hence making you second guess yourself.
The only way to get around this is to do as many practice tests as you possibly can to build your confidence and improve your focus for this section.
How To Improve Your Bio/Biochem MCAT Score
The Bio/Biochem section covers a broad range of topics, which is one of the things that students find challenging when it comes to preparing adequately for this section. Furthermore, within each of the 4 subjects in this section, there are a ton of content topics that are tested.
The other thing is that rote memorization simply won’t cut it. You are still required to apply a complex set of reasoning skills, including having to reason about the design and execution of research.
The complex research passages within the Bio/Biochem section can be particularly challenging for most med students who lack research experience dealing with peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.
So how can you ensure your lack of research background doesn’t get in the way of you obtaining stellar MCAT scores in this section?
1. Get Better At Analyzing Scientific Literature
In a research paper, some of the most important information is often in the figures, graphs and tables, each corresponding to an experiment the author has conducted.
So while reading these passages, for each figure, try and summarize the associated experimental setup, the independent variable, and the dependent variable, and while looking at the graph at a glance, are there any results that stand out to you?
Generally, just try and summarize briefly what each figure is trying to tell you, using a pictorial representation of the information.
That being said, the one exception to this would be when you are presented with a figure that’s dense in data, like a table with 7 columns of information, for instance.
In this case, understand what the experiment is and what the treatments are, but put off analyzing the integrity of the data until after encountering a related question asking about a specific part of that table.
You may often be presented with complex pathways that you are not expected to know going into the test. Rather than getting intimidated by the many abbreviations used, these passages are best approached by drawing a signaling pathway.
These signaling pathways will help you easily and quickly map out what turns on what and what inhibits what.
Pro Tip: Having one mini drawing per paragraph will help you see the system being described in chronological order. This will help you easily see the big picture at the end of the passage.
2. Apply High Yield Study Strategies
You must commit to memory the frequently tested concepts such as amino acids, metabolic pathways, Biochemistry laboratory techniques, etc.
There is so much information that is tested on the Bio/Biochem section, so you need to apply effective study strategies to enhance your long-term retention.
For all the 20 amino acids, make a point of knowing their one-letter and 3-letter codes, structures, and chemical properties. Also, be familiar with all the Biochemistry experimental techniques from PCR all the way to Gel electrophoresis and transduction.
As for metabolic pathways, you do not necessarily have to memorize every enzyme, reactant, product, and their structures.
Instead, make a point of answering the following questions for each metabolic pathway: what are the non-reversible enzymes, and how does the body regulate these enzymes to regulate our metabolism?
How To Improve Your Psych/Soc MCAT Score
The Psych/Soc section contains many vocabulary terms and names that you would need to memorize. This may not in itself be a major challenge, but it is because this also happens to be the newest section of the MCAT.
So the only reliable practice exam questions you can use are those provided by the association of American medical colleges, based on previous MCAT exams. As a result, it can be a little challenging trying to figure out exactly what terms and names you need to know in readiness for test day.
The other challenge comes in whereby, once again, you are faced with research-based passages from scientific journal articles.
Lastly, being the last part of the 7.5-hour MCAT exam, you are bound to encounter exam fatigue while trying to tackle the Psych/Soc section, which can also negatively impact your performance in this particular section.
So how do you overcome these challenges?
Unlike the other MCAT sections, Psych/Soc is high memorization-based, so it will serve you well to make some flashcards and have them on you at all times, whether you are commuting on the train or walking from one point to another.
This will also allow you to review the terms and names regularly, keeping you on track with your content review.
2. Understand Experimental Design
Treat Psychology and Sociology as hard sciences because that is exactly how the MCAT tests them.
If you do not have research experience from working in a lab or taking some research-based classes, you will need to familiarize yourself with analyzing experiments.
Understand how research design works, looking at their results, tables and figures, and figuring out how you can dissect those in a way that makes sense to you.
Work on your figures and data skills so that you can be on the lookout for all possible trends available to you in the passage.
3. Beware of Trap Answers
One common trap in the Psych/Soc section is that some answer choices may not contain real terms, and this is where that rote memorization truly comes in handy.
It may be easy to assume that the foreign term is the right answer, but that is almost always wrong. Put a good amount of time and effort into ensuring you have all names and terms memorized very well.
4. Know The Influential People in Psychology
Make sure you can identify names, major experiments and findings and what school of psychology they fit into, perhaps Cognitive, Behavioral, Evolutionary, Biological, Psychosocial, Functionalist etc.
How To Improve MCAT Score: Step By Step Guide
Is it possible to drastically improve your MCAT score? Yes, it is, but it will require plenty of time, effort and dedication from your end.
Here’s the thing: getting a better MCAT score isn’t just about studying harder, especially if you want to improve your score drastically.
Performing drastically better on the MCAT would require you to change your entire approach in terms of your content mastery, mentality, confidence, focus, and all aspects of your study discipline and MCAT preparation.
You would basically need an entire morphosis of not only your study tendencies but your behavior as well.
How To Increase MCAT Score By 20 Points
Doing well on the MCAT is all about preparation, and making a drastic improvement by 20 points will require great diligence and discipline. There are no shortcuts here.
As long as you do the intense work required, devote the necessary time and effort, and apply the provided MCAT study strategies, you are sure to get the results you want.
1. Take Lots Of Practice Tests
The only way to get better at the MCAT is to take the exam over and over again, and the simplest way to do this is to take lots of MCAT practice exams.
Not only that, but make sure the practice exams you go for closely match the real MCAT in terms of format, structure and the material tested.
These will help you quickly identify your strong areas and which subjects and topics you may need to focus on a bit more. Additionally, taking plenty of practice tests will quickly reveal to you the high-yield and low-yield topics. Hence, you know where to direct your study efforts for more efficient MCRTA preparation.
By understanding what kind of questions are going to be on the MCAT test, you will be in a better position to recognize trap answers so you do not end up being surprised or confused when facing the real exam.
Pro Tip: Besides taking exams provided by 3rd parties, ensure you take every AAMC practice test available.
2. Efficiently Review Practice Exams
Taking plenty of practice tests is one thing, but that alone will not guarantee you a score improvement. How you review the practice exam afterwards accounts for about 70% of whether or not you are likely to see an improvement in consequent tests.
You need to space the practice tests widely enough, so you leave enough room to digest each practice test and review it thoroughly before embarking on the next test.
Take time to learn from your mistakes, and understand why you got the wrong answer. However, also take time to review the questions where you got the correct answers. Did you arrive at the right answer because you understood the question and content tested, or was it sheer luck?
An efficient post-test review is all about understanding where your content gaps lie and addressing your areas of weakness.
Pro Tip: Aside from going through the answer explanations, analyze each practice test by evaluating the following: your timing, thought process when approaching each question, favorite questions, stress level, mental endurance, and improvement strategies for each question you got wrong.
3. Activate Your Long-Term Retention
Student A studies for 6 hours per day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Student B studies for 3 hours every day from Monday to Saturday. Both students study for 18 hours per week, but who is more likely to get the higher score?
Here’s the answer: Student B.
There is something called the ‘Spacing Effect’ whereby spreading out your learning allows you to retain more information instead of studying in clumps. This simply means that cramming just won’t cut it when it comes to studying for the MCAT.
Working on your recall skills is another way to optimize your long-term retention, and this can easily be done by regularly taking practice tests and questions.
The teaching tactic is another effective strategy you can use. If you can teach or explain clearly everything you study without needing to refer to any notes, then that means you have the content committed to memory.
4. Build Your Mental And Physical Stamina
The endurance required to sit through the 7.5-hour-long exam is a significantly underestimated skill set many test-takers overlook while preparing for the MCAT.
If during your practice exams, you find that you are struggling to finish the exam on time or finishing specific MCAT sections in the required time, you could blame this challenge on stamina.
You need intense stamina training to guarantee you can sit through the MCAT, using your brain effectively in test mode for 7.5 straight hours. You need to train yourself to become a test-taking machine.
The first way to do this is to use full-length practice exams effectively, simulating the real test-taking conditions you are likely to encounter on test day. Never stop the timer.
The second way would be to analyze your practice exams for deficiency in stamina.
During your post-exam review stage, break up your practice exam into hourly phases and try analyzing in which phase of the exam you get the most number of incorrect answers.
If you are getting many incorrect answers during the first hour, your problem may be anxiety or that you were unable to get comfortable in your mental zone before starting the exam.
If you are getting the most incorrect answers between hours 4 to 7, your problem may be that you are losing focus during the exam, most likely because of being burnt out at this point.
This is why it is important to stimulate exact MCAT test-taking conditions during your practice tests. You will get to know yourself better, effectively identifying what works for you and what throws you off.
5. Focus On High-Yield Content
Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry and psychology take up roughly 80% of the entire MCAT exam, which makes them the high-yield subjects you need to pay particular attention to.
Just as well, there are certain topics that are more commonly tested on the MCAT, and so mastering these will present the best opportunities for score improvement.
These high-yield topics include Amino acids, peptides and proteins; Acid/base chemistry; Mendelian concepts; Fluids; Emotion; Transmission of genetic information to the protein; Prokaryotic Vs. Eukaryotic cells etc.
How To Improve MCAT Score In 2 Weeks
If you are 2 weeks away from your MCAT test date and are still not scoring as well as you’d like to in the practice tests, do not despair just yet. There are still things you can do to salvage your score.
After all, it is never over till it’s over. Keep your chin up!
1. Change Your Mindset
Half the MCAT battle is just mental toughness.
You must be confident that you have what it takes to perform spectacularly in the exam. You need to be confident that you know all you need to know to ace the exam.
Most med students put so much stress on themselves that letting go of this stress can be the first step in improving your MCAT score. It’s a bit counterintuitive that removing that pressure about performance actually helps improve your score.
Believing that you can do this will go such a long way! Be confident.
2. Test – Review – Drill Repeat
You should plan to take 3 full-length practice tests and dedicate yourself entirely to this in the 2 weeks you have left.
A good plan would be to leave 2 or 3 days between each test so you can be done about 2 days before your MCAT date. Do not take an exam right before the real MCAT. That will just be pointless because you will not have sufficient time to review it.
Just as well, intense content review at this point would be pointless. Rather, learn from your review of the tests, and cover your weaknesses by focusing on the highest potential yield topics.
Learning how to effectively maneuver the passages to arrive at the correct answer quickly will be a huge score booster.
How To Improve MCAT Score In 3 Weeks
With 3 weeks to go, your first plan of action should be to set up a detailed MCAT study schedule comprehensively outlining exactly what you need to get done within the given time frame.
1. Complete at least 5 full-length practice tests, leaving out about 3 days between each test.
2. Use a spreadsheet to analyze your test results, clearly outlining your weaknesses, highest yield topics and strategies for improvement.
3. Train yourself to analyze passages and questions and learn how to sift through answer choices to quickly eliminate trick answers.
4. Work on your timing, and learn how to move on if you find you’re spending too much time on one passage or question. If it takes you more than 1.5 minutes to answer a question, take note, and move on to the next one.
How To Improve MCAT Score When Re-Taking The Exam
Having to resit for the MCAT can be pretty heartbreaking, and you may even feel like you cannot master the strength and mental fortitude to do this again.
You were diligent in your content review, and you know all the material, but somehow, you still failed to get your desired score, and you have no idea how to get started prepping for this exam yet again.
Breathe. It happens to the best of us, and there is nothing wrong with having to take the exam a second time.
So how can you ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself this time around?
1. Analyze What Went Wrong The First Time Around
If you cannot identify what went wrong the first time, you cannot fix it to better your chances at a better score. So the first step would require you to be brutally honest with yourself, analyzing how you went about in your previous MCAT prep.
How was your initial MCAT prep approach? What did your old study sessions look like?
Here’s a list of possible reasons for what may have gone wrong:
a) You didn’t have great study habits.
Maybe you neglected your studies. Maybe a lot was going on, and life simply bogged you down. Maybe you didn’t have a good study strategy. Maybe you were simply reading and taking notes without practising active studying.
b) You were not in the right mental headspace during the test.
Did your anxiety flare up the minute you stepped into the testing center? Maybe you were constantly distracted and unable to maintain focus during the exam.
Whatever the reason may be, you are now aware of the challenge and should apply yourself to overcome these challenges moving forward.
If you studied alone the first time around perhaps, you should now consider joining an MCAT study group to help keep you on track with your studies.
If you were struggling with anxiety on test day, then perhaps you should push yourself to take more practice exams under test-taking conditions so you can be more comfortable with the MCAT structure, format and duration.
2. Confront Your Weaknesses
Which subjects or topics did you perform poorly on? Are there any obvious content gaps you are aware of? These are the areas you need to focus on first.
This does not mean that you should neglect your strong areas, though. If you never study the subjects and topics where you are knowledgeable and confident, you risk forgetting some details and turning these into your weaknesses instead.
Did you have an issue with timing and time limits? Then you need to practice more with time limits, so you can work through passages with both speed and accuracy.
3. Develop A Better MCAT Prep Strategy
a) Increase your study time.
b) Have dedicated daily study time blocks, and stick to these diligently.
c) Get better or more effective study materials and resources such as books, study guides etc.
d) Consider getting coaching or guidance from a former top-scoring test-taker.
e) Take many challenging practice tests, both timed and untimed.
f) Explore various studying methodologies, including notes, flashcards, highlighting, recording and listening, etc. Keep it fresh by mixing things up.
g) Change where you are studying by sometimes studying in the park, library etc.
h) Keep healthy physiology by exercising, eating right, getting sufficient sleep, socializing, indulging in nature, etc. Let your mind relax.
Study Tips To Boost Your MCAT Score
MCAT Mastery goes far beyond your ability to have the content memorized to a T. This intense exam heavily relies on strategy and stamina. As you may have already discovered by now, conventional study methods simply won’t cut it.
Here are a few tips to guarantee you a score boost.
Tip 1: Switch Up Your Study Methods
Rather than just relying on your notes, try out other study materials such as flashcards, video lessons, study guides, etc. Keeping things fresh will make your MCAT prep more engaging, keep your mind sharp, and prevent burnout.
Tip 2: Familiarize Yourself With The Test Format
Knowing the structure of the test, the types of questions asked, and how these questions are posed will help you perform better on the exam.
Tip 3: Practice Extensively
Work on untimed practice questions, and take numerous timed practice tests by AAMC or other 3rd parties such as Kaplan, Examkrackers etc.
Practice builds stamina, confidence, and mental strength and familiarizes you with the exam format, content and structure, so you are better poised to face the real thing.
After taking a practice test, review it efficiently, so you benefit fully from what the test has to offer.
Tip 4: Understand Scientific Reasoning
You cannot do well on the MCAT without understanding scientific reasoning in the context of research experiments. So if this is something you are struggling with, you really do need to put in the work because there is no way around it.
You have to be familiar with experimental design and clinical research; and learn how to interpret data tables containing standard deviations, confidence intervals and correlation coefficients.
The good news is that you will not have to know any advanced statistics. But you do need to understand the general meaning of these terms and know their numerical and symbolic representations.
You will constantly be required to apply critical thinking to novel information introduced in certain passages, and the only way to harness these skills is to do tons of practice.
Tip 5: Know How To Analyze MCAT Passages And Questions
The one thing you need to remember here is this: don’t get lost in the sauce.
When it comes to the Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem sections, you need to be able to read the passages without getting lost in the sauce, or rather, not dwell too much on all the nitty gritty details.
Always remember that the MCAT tests on the big picture, so the general idea is to test whether you can see the underlying concepts and ideas, even when the passage or questions appear convoluted.
Highlight keywords and phrases and attempt to make a brief summary of each paragraph informed by what information you think that paragraph is communicating to you.
Tip 6: Process Of Elimination
If you find that you are struggling to land on the correct answer, then try eliminating the wrong answers instead. Then you can reason your way through the remaining answer choices.
If that still doesn’t seem to work, know when to skip questions and move on to the next one.
Remember that all the questions in the MCAT are worth the same number of points, so you would be better off working on the easier ones first before returning to the harder ones.
FAQs About How To Improve Your MCAT Score
Why Is My MCAT Score Not Improving?
The reason why your MCAT score is not improving may be due to a number of reasons, including:
a) You are using inferior quality study materials and resources with shallow information.
b) You are not disciplined enough to remain consistent in your studying.
c) You have not fully grasped the basic content and concepts.
d) You are studying passively, not actively.
e) You keep falling prey to trick answers.
f) You haven’t done sufficient practice questions and exams.
g) You have a negative mindset about the MCAT.
Once you have identified the exact problem, you can then apply the appropriate MCAT strategies to improve your score.
Can I Improve My MCAT Score By +10 Points In A Month?
Yes, you can improve your MCAT score by +10 points in a month.
The key here is to do plenty of practice, so you are well versed on what’s tested, how questions are asked, and how to improve your timing and stamina.
Secondly, you really need to remain dedicated to your MCAT prep schedule, avoiding all distractions and training yourself to remain focused while studying or working on a set of problems.
What Are Some Last-Minute Tips To Improve My MCAT Score?
One last-minute tip to improve your MCAT score would be to change your mindset. Your mental fortitude is such a key aspect of taking the MCAT that simply changing your attitude instantly poises you for success.
Stop having a defeated mindset. Eliminate incessant doubt, and stop second-guessing yourself.
Instead, believe in yourself and the knowledge you possess, having the confidence that you will ace the exam. Getting in such a headspace will not only ease anxiety on test day, but it will also boost your recall of what you studied and how to apply it appropriately.
Another tip, depending on how much time you have before your exam date, is to practice as much as possible.
Lastly, remember to relax your brain by meditating and getting some exercise. When preparing for the MCAT, downtime is just as important as time spent studying.