Hey y’all. I know there are lot of people who are thinking about being pre-med at Rice and I want to give some advice about taking MCAT courses during the school year.
First, if you can take the course over the summer when at least you won’t be trying to balance your school work with the demands of MCAT homework, that would be ideal. If you are unable to do that, as I was, and have to take it during the year, please consider the following advice.
DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO TAKE A PREP COURSE: Rice Pre-Med society auctions off Kaplan and Princeton Review discounted prep courses. I highly recommend the courses as they will really make you progress in your studying over the school year. If you do not choose to take a course, pay even more attention to the next piece of advice.
MAKE A PLAN OF ATTACK: look at your school schedule and determine when your tests and major projects are due. Make sure you keep this schedule in mind while you plan out how to fit in all the MCAT homework/completion of practice tests. It is easy to get behind in your homework schedule unless you do a little bit every day. Doing smaller portions at a time versus large chunks of studying will also improve your retention of how to go about problem solving and remembering details.
DO THE HOMEWORK/PRACTICE TESTS: this is so important. I have spoken with many students in my MCAT class right now who are taking the exam for the second time. Many of them have said they did not practice enough problems or take all the practice tests and they believe this was their biggest fault.
TAKE TIME TO RELAX: all Rice students need time to relax, regardless of whether or not they’re prepping for the MCAT. There are plenty of fun things to do at Rice and off campus in Houston. Go out to eat with friends. Go to the gym. Do not lock yourself away in the library or your room for the entirety of your studying period prior to MCAT test date. I have known a few people who’s relationships with friends suffered because they never took time to relax and socialize. You will be much happier if you take a day off every once and awhile, and perhaps more productive overall.
Finally, if you do not have a car, don’t fret! While Rice does not have prep courses taught on campus, there is usually a class you can find in the near vicinity. I walk or bike across the street to the med center where my classes are taught in a hotel conference room.
Good luck to you in your pursuit of applying to med school!