The One Thing You Must Do After Taking The MCAT

RELAX. I took a two-week vacation right after my MCAT. Taking time to not think, or speak, about the MCAT is important for self-renewal. Once the exam was over, I went through the questions I was unsure of in my head and made a declaration to never think about them again. This is important both for your sanity and for the binding-non-disclosure policy you sign when you take the MCAT. What happens during that day is between you and the MCAT lords and never to be discussed or spoken about again. So, after your MCAT take a moment to go through everything you questioned (if you remember those questions like I do) and then flush them away for good.

While relaxing, catch up with friends, family members, emails, Netflix shows, exercise, or anything else you’ve put on pause for the past few months during preparation. The night before my exam, my boyfriend surprised me with a family dinner to calm my nerves. Seeing my family and having their support reminded me of the confidence people have put in me and my abilities to succeed. So, after you complete what you consider the biggest exam of your life (right now at least) call and thank those that have battled this journey with you.

Relax – but not for too long. If you are applying this cycle, the AMCAS application opened May 1st and could be submitted May 31st. After your MCAT, it is important to quickly begin and start filling out the medical school application as soon as possible. I’m going through this process right now, too, but I’ve heard and read from members of admissions committees the earlier the application the better. If you’re like me, you may get psyched out easily, so I decided not to look at median/mean school statistics until after I took the MCAT. One great resource to evaluate these metrics is the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) by the AAMC. This has all of the eligible medical schools in the United States listed with the details of the student composition, location, and statistics. Download this (not free however) to start mapping out what schools you want to apply to.

Finally, enjoy the journey and your summer. In the midst of studying, applying, preparing, working, and thinking about your future don’t forget to enjoy the present. Go for walks, kayaking, swimming, exploring. From what I hear, medical school is no joke, so enjoy the time now you have for leisure and relaxation. Life is all about balance, and to teach our future patients this concept we must first learn it ourselves. Congrats on being done with the MCAT – that’s an accomplishment of itself!

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Mary Barber

Mary Barber studies Chemistry and English Literature at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. An average day for her includes running from microbiology lecture to having discussions on the writings of Nabokov to designing experiments in the lab – she says it’s a little crazy but always fun. Her passions (currently) include studying cardiovascular disease caused by cancer therapies, writing, and monthly dates baking cupcakes with cancer patients. One day when she grow up Mary hopes to be a physician researcher, treat patients with heart problems, write books, and do yoga every day.