Get studying tips

Close out the tabs on your browser

Yes, even Facebook. Resisting the urge to check social media and email is really difficult, so don’t even try it. Instead, close out all your open tabs before you start studying. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to think about one thing at a time, and at how quickly you can complete tasks. Pro Tip: You can even download anti-distraction apps like Freedom and SelfControl that block social media distractions and prevent you from going on sites like Facebook and Twitter for set periods of time.

Turn off your phone

This seems like an obvious one, right? But honestly, how how many times have any of us actually turned our phones off to study? Well, it’s time to start! Your friends and family will understand if you go AWOL for a couple hours. (Just make sure you let them know beforehand so they don’t freak out when you’re not responding.)

Stick to a schedule that works for you

Don’t add unnecessary stress to your life by cramming study time in whenever possible or by putting it off until the last minute. Be deliberate and work significant chunks of study time into your daily or weekly routine. Then, repeat. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where it feels natural to study at a certain time and unnatural to skip it. With a regular and frequent study schedule, you’ll find it’s actually easier to learn in the moment and recall memorized information later on. We’ve even created study guides for some of our exam so you know exactly how much time to dedicate to each section depending on how much time you have to study! You can check those out here:

  • GRE Study Schedules
  • TOEFL Study Schedules

Seek out good study vibes

Where you study is extremely important. Don’t sabotage your study time by trying to do it in a place that’s not conducive to focusing (a.k.a. in front of the TV or in a room full of friends). Find a quiet area or nook in a library or quiet cafe. Then, try out a few different spots until you find something that works. Come back to this place often to be able to jump right into that good concentration flow.

Change the way you think about studying

A little change of attitude can go a long way. Many people think of studying as a necessary evil — a horrible thing they need to get through in order to get to the greener grass on the other side. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Researchers have found that how you approach a task is just as important as how you do the task. If you can flip that switch in your brain that takes you from “ugh, studying…” to “hey, look at all this stuff I get to learn!” you’ll set yourself up for studying success. But it’s not always as simple as that, is it? So here’s some advice on how to improve your mindset before studying.

  • Don’t put yourself down: Remind yourself of all the things you’ve done successfully in the past, even if they’re small! Think positively and remind yourself that this study time is completely in your control. Own it and make it work for you.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others: Who cares if you heard about that friend of a friend who studied for one week and got a perfect score? What works for that person or anyone else won’t necessarily work for you. Find what time of day, length of study time, etc. works for you and study at your own pace. There’s no shame in that!
  • Avoid thinking in absolutes: If you mess something up it’s not the end of the world. Instead of thinking “oh, I got that wrong — I’m so bad at life,” think: “hey, I messed that up, now how do I fix it and learn from it?”

Confirm the course’s technical requirements

The main difference between studying online and studying in the classroom is that you’re responsible for the learning environment. You provide the place to work, the computer, and any other items you need, including a machine with the necessary technical requirements. In most cases, any computer with internet access will suffice. However, some courses involve more serious hardware. For instance, let’s say you’re taking an online course in video editing. You’ll need a computer that has sufficient memory and a strong enough graphics card to handle video-editing software. Additionally, you’ll need the software itself, which might come with a hefty license. Try not to sign up for online courses until you know the technical requirements. If you can’t meet them yet, put off the course until you can buy or borrow what you need. Some classes might require headphones so you can listen to audio presentations or a printer so you can make hard copies of documents. Whatever the case, if you start the course without the necessary equipment, you’ll quickly fall behind.

Avoid overloading yourself

Most of the students studying for the MCAT are undergraduate students taking up a pre-med program. If that’s the case for you, it is important for you to not overload yourself by taking too many classes. If possible, try to lighten the workload in your undergraduate classes. This way, you will be able to spend some time studying for MCAT. Also, you don’t want to take your prep as an additional burden to your already existing responsibilities as an undergrad. Try to balance it out.

Do some research on med school MCAT score requirements

Your MCAT score is one of the biggest factors medical schools will consider in evaluating your admission. That is why it is important for you to be aware of the MCAT score requirements set by the medical school you are applying to. If you know that specific requirement, you can use that as a baseline or a target score as you prepare for the test. Also, knowing the MCAT score requirement for the school of your choice will keep you motivated in preparing for the test. If you keep that requirement in mind, you can map out your actions and preparation towards achieving that goal. However, your MCAT score is not the only requirement for admission to a medical school. In fact, it’s just one of the five most important factors. So make sure to achieve a good balance between preparing for the admissions exams and taking care of other requirements.

Group Similar Tasks Together

If you have similar tasks to complete, group them together to keep your mind fresh and active on the subject. As an example, if you have a geography project you need to work on, and a history project that incorporates elements of geography, try grouping those 2 tasks together. Another example is if you have to write a science report and a book review. Since both those tasks are about writing, you can group them together to get yourself in a writing flow.

Prioritize Your Tasks

When using a to-do list, you’ll want to prioritize your tasks so that you aren’t wasting time on school work that doesn’t need to be completed right away. Look at the deadlines for your homework, projects, and assignments and figure out what will take the longest to complete and what needs to be completed soon. For more on prioritization check out tricks 4 and 5.