MCAT Study Skills: Increasing Productivity

October 24, 2014
Patrick Boyle

With the fall semester getting into full swing I am sure that everyone has a lot on their plate. Those “to do” lists start to get a little longer, and there is always plenty of work to get done for classes. As our days get busier, it’s important to ask how we can turn ourselves into productive study machines in order to make more time in the day for our volunteering, research, and social lives. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track.

Deadlines are a good thing! Each class is going to have its own deadlines on papers and projects; those are your long term deadlines. Somehow those dates still tend to sneak up on you though. A great way to help you get more done is to set daily deadlines. You want to break up those large projects into more manageable daily tasks. This is going to ensure that you meet your deadlines and it’s going to help make projects seem easier.
Eliminate distractions. Facebook, Twitter, and Pandora are all fantastic websites, however each of these are distracting to overall productivity. My recommendation here is to go to the library with just your book. You would be surprised how much you could get done in 2 hours when you aren’t updating your status, tweeting about how awesome Kaplan is, or trying to find that perfect Pandora channel to get you in the “zone.” Aim to be at the library for two hours rather than four hours!
Even though things are so busy, you still need to make sure you take breaks. All work and no play will keep your happiness at bay. One of the biggest problems with such a busy schedule is not taking the time to relax; stress starts to build up and can really take a toll on your physical and mental well being. It’s a great idea to always try and take one day off a week – Saturdays can be a great day to do this. You can catch up on some sleep you might have missed during the week and take some time off to do things you enjoy! Taking this mini-vacation is going to increase your productivity during the time you really need to study, so make sure to recharge the batteries.
Physical Well Being
During these stressful semesters in a pre-med’s life, it is very important to listen to your body and make sure that you are taking care of yourself. While there is room to push yourself so that you get your work done, you need to be careful and make sure you are taking care of your body and getting enough food and rest. If you work hard for three weeks for that physics test that is coming up and you end up getting sick before the exam, you are not going to perform at your best even though you put in all that hard work.

Patrick Boyle

Patrick Boyle I am a former Kaplan MCAT student that excelled on my exam through the Kaplan methods and began teaching for Kaplan at the University of Illinois – Urbana – Champaign center. Upon graduation I moved back to the Chicagoland area and became a full time teacher in our Chicago centers. I really strive to bring enthusiasm and energy to the classroom believing a positive attitude sets the tone for success! When I am not teaching the MCAT, you can find me training for triathlons or picking which bow tie to wear next!

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