You want a spot in med school class of 2020. What can you possibly do now? A lot, that’s for sure.
If there was one piece of advice failed MCAT takers wish they had known when applying to med school, it would be to start early. That’s because it is a big task you cannot leave until the last minute. You need to fill out the details of the actual application itself. Add that to the long process of getting letters of recommendation, writing personal statements, and taking the MCAT.
More than what you think, it takes a long time to get the whole application done—and done well. Instead of prepping six weeks before the MCAT, why not start doing it at least six months before the big day?
Here’s why you should:
300 Hours is a Lot More Manageable When You Spread It for 6 Months than 6 Weeks
The average amount of time an MCAT taker uses for study is 300 hours, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). With new content areas on the next one, your study time will take at least twice as long.
Don’t procrastinate and don’t do the preparation only six weeks before the test date. You’ll burn out before the big day. It will be easier if you spread the 300 hours of study time in 6 months, instead of the usual 6 weeks.
In addition to that, you need to remember that slow and steady wins the race. An application slapped together last minute will most likely have errors. Start early to avoid careless mistakes.
Your Recommenders Will Have Plenty of Time
No one likes to write a recommendation letter under pressure. If you want a good and favorable letter of recommendation, give your recommenders plenty of time to write it.
With time by your side, you can also get more letter than you actually need. If you have some extra, you can tailor your applications accordingly for each school. According to Roseman University of Health Sciences, if a school focuses on community services, for example, then you can focus on that with your letters. If the school focuses on research, then send in research-intensive recommendations.
Those are two reasons, but the biggest reason of them all is this: your competition is already preparing right now. Not to scare you, but thousands of students prepare for the MCAT as early as spring and early summer.
Time is running out. Start preparing today.