Friday, May 20, 2011

MCAT: Tomorrow

I'm feeling excited and eager to take the MCAT, surprisingly enough. I want to take the opportunity to rise to the challenge! This is new for me. Some people get energetic about proving themselves in tests, but I've never really felt that way. Usually I'm somewhat nervous, but I mostly either dread tests, or feel somewhat apathetic about them. I'm not sure what it is about this one; maybe it's because I care more because of the impact it will have on my life. Maybe it's because I've worked so much harder to get ready for it while still doing everything else. Maybe I'm still trying to prove to myself that I have the ability to become a successful physician. Probably a conglomeration of everything.

Regardless, nerve level is currently normal. I've said it a million times: I'm always nervous right before a test, but once I start taking it, I feel fine. Something tells me it's going to be the exact same with this one. I've done some very intensive studying over the past two weeks (I took a break from studying last weekend to avoid burnout), getting in 57 hours and 48 minutes over the past nine days. I'm not one to cram, normally, but I studied a lot during the week last week, then took an old MCAT on Friday, and my score went up two points, which is a fairly big jump.

So, I did the same thing this week, just studying notecards, doing practice problems and reviewing weak areas in the Kaplan test books. Biological Sciences are my weakest areas, which is weird/annoying because that is where most people do the best. Verbal Reasoning and Physical Sciences have been tying as my best subjects, which is again weird because the Verbal Reasoning is traditionally the most difficult for people. It is also considered the hardest to study for, so I guess I'm lucking out. My main issue with Biology is not knowing all the little memorized tid-bits of vocabulary. Sometimes, not knowing one word will make me get a question wrong, and there's nothing I can do to avoid that but go over the material over and over again. I know a LOT more about the nervous system than I did before, since I pretty much spent all day Tuesday learning everything I could about that.

The central nervous system is AMAZING! I also never knew there was so much symmetry and structure to the peripheral nervous system. Did you know that the spinal cord is not just a bundle of distinct cords running through your vertebrae? It's actually very different from that, and more similar to brain tissue, from what I now understand. As I learn more about this stuff, it just throws all my previous ignorance about very general things in much sharper contrast. There's so much I still don't know! I think that's one thing that has been hitting me throughout this process of studying for the MCAT. You have to know SO MUCH MATERIAL to take this test, yet the vast majority of what you learn for the MCAT is not really needed for medical school. I'm never going to have to know the magnitude and direction of a force on a proton of mass m and charge q located a distance r away from a wire of length L carrying a current of magnitude I. That's just to show that I'm capable of the concepts, but will not really be much of an asset to my education later.

Anyway, I will be staying in Grand Rapids with Doug Potter tonight, since he lives about a mile and a half away from the testing center on Burton. I'll get there at 7:20am (ten minutes before they recommended), then start taking the test around 8am. We're not allowed anything with us except our ID when we take the test - everything else gets put in a locker. The website says they will even make you turn out your pockets! Not even a bottle of water or a watch is allowed to come in with you. They provide pencils and scratch paper, and will collect both at the end of the test. If you remove a sweater or jacket during the test, they escort you to a secure location where they make you leave it, but the timer keeps running on your test! That seems a bit ridiculous to me, since the time on the test is so stringent. I will probably wear a t-shirt and if I get chilly, I get chilly. Better than trying to decide between being swelteringly hot and having to lose time that might cost you points...

Anyway, that's that. Pray for me, wish me luck! At this time tomorrow, I'll either be feeling incredibly satisfied and relieved or incredibly apprehensive about getting my scores on June 21st. Here goes nothing!

1 comment:

Jamie said...

just said a little prayer for you! hope it is going well.

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