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MCAT Training: Why You Might Want To Prep Like an Athlete

Studying for the MCAT is no easy feat; it requires rigorous preparation, discipline, and endurance. Does any of this sound familiar to any runners? Some students approach their MCAT prep (or rather, MCAT training) like a sprint, cramming information in a short period, hoping to retain enough to reach their goal score.

But what if I told you that treating your MCAT preparation like a marathon, rather than a sprint, could be the key to success? As someone who has run 3 marathons and applied the same principles to study for the MCAT, let me share how adopting a marathon runner’s mindset can help you train smarter, not harder for the MCAT.

Training for the MCAT Like a Marathon Runner

Set Goals and Plan Your Training Schedule

Just like training for a marathon, preparing for the MCAT requires setting clear goals and establishing a structured training schedule. Start by understanding the exam format, content, and your target score.

Just like an athlete needs to know their fitness status before they begin training, you need to assess your starting strengths and weaknesses before you dive into studying. You can do this by taking a free diagnostic MCAT practice test.

For your MCAT study plan, break down your study material into manageable chunks and create a realistic timeline leading up to the test day. Consistency is key, so stick to your schedule and adjust as needed along the way.

Free Resources

Find out Exactly What’s on the MCAT in This Free Content Checklist
Create a Free MCAT Study Plan Using Our Customizable Study Planner Tool

Build Endurance

Running a marathon isn’t just about speed; it’s about building endurance to sustain performance over a long distance. Marathoners will include a long run every week, pushing the distance further and further until they reach the marathon distance.

Similarly, the MCAT tests your ability to maintain focus and critical thinking over several hours. Incorporate practice sets and full-length exams into your MCAT training to simulate test-like conditions to train yourself to focus for extended periods. Building mental stamina is just as important as mastering the content.

Quality Over Quantity

Running and studying are not just about putting in the hours, but also about the quality of your efforts. Avoid mindlessly cramming information and instead focus on understanding the underlying concepts. Use analytics (like those available to Blueprint students and Free Account users) to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Focus your study time on your weaknesses.

Break down complex topics, engage in active learning strategies like teaching others or creating flashcards, and seek clarification when needed. Remember, it’s better to fully grasp a few concepts than to superficially cover everything!

Further Reading

🎯 Active Learning Tips for the MCAT

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Cross-Train Your Brain

Athletes cross-train to strengthen different muscle groups and prevent injury. Think swimming, strength training, and biking.

Similarly, incorporating variety into your study routine can enhance learning and prevent burnout. Mix up your study methods by alternating between reading, practicing problems, watching videos, joining live office hours, or online classes. Exploring different approaches keeps your brain engaged and reinforces learning from multiple angles.

Rest and Recovery

Rest is just as crucial as training for marathon running, and the same holds true for MCAT training. Prioritize adequate sleep, nutrition, and relaxation to recharge your mind and body. Schedule regular breaks during study sessions, take days off to rest, and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Remember, a well-rested mind is more receptive to learning and retention.

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Visualize Success

Elite athletes often use visualization techniques to mentally prepare for competitions, and you can apply the same strategy to the MCAT. Take time to visualize yourself confidently tackling exam questions, staying calm under pressure, and achieving your target score. Positive visualization can help reduce anxiety, boost confidence, and reinforce your commitment to success. Manifest, people!

Trust the Process

Training for a marathon and studying for the MCAT require patience and perseverance. There will be highs and lows, moments of doubt, and setbacks. Trust in your MCAT training, stay focused on your goals and believe in your ability to succeed. Keep reminding yourself of the progress you’ve made and stay resilient in the face of challenges.

Final Thoughts

By approaching your MCAT preparation with the mindset of an athlete training for a marathon, you’ll improve your chances of success and develop valuable skills that extend far beyond test day. So lace up your metaphorical running shoes, set your sights on the finish line, and embrace the journey ahead.

And remember, the right MCAT prep resources are just as important as a runner’s shoes. Blueprint MCAT has everything you need, from a customizable study planner tool and practice tests with analytics to Self-Paced Courses, Live classes, and personalized tutoring. Our students sprint towards success, achieving an average score boost of 15 points!

You’ve got this!

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