With 3 MCAT Start times, how do you ensure that you're awake AND alert for the entire duration of your MCAT?
I've heard from many well prepared students how they fatigued towards the end and sacrificed the psych/soc section,
and other students who were so tired at the start of their exam, they can't remember reading through the chem/phys passages.
After all that studying and prep, can you afford to lose points just because you were tired?
I don't think so!
Trying to ‘go to sleep early' the night before your exam won't cut it.
Even going to sleep early the week of your exam may not be enough ‘transition' time.
The last thing you want is to lie away tossing and turning for hours, stressing about your MCAT tomorrow.
This video will show you how (and when) to modify your schedule so that you're not only awake, but also fully alert on test day.
Mentioned in this video: https://Leah4sci.com/wakeup for how to Wake Up To A Better MCAT Score
Your MCAT Focus Window
Your ‘awake' window should range from 4am – 2:15pm
With 9 hours of sleep and a 4am wakeup time, consider a 7pm bedtime.
This may sound rough and feel brutal, but you CAN train yourself to operate in this window.
Get yourself a decent eye mask (I use something like this) and perhaps a set of comfortable ear plugs to help tune out the fact that the world is still awake.
This feels like the most reasonable testing window given that your ‘awake' window of 10:15am – 8pm overlaps with the average daily schedule.
The key in this situation is NOT to wake up TOO early where you have a few hours to stress about your exam.
Instead, aim for just enough time to complete your morning routine, perhaps with a light workout or stretching session to jump-start your system.
Consider setting your alarm for 9 or 10am, and going to sleep at midnight.
The challenge with this exam is less about the start time, and more about the END time.
- We naturally tire when the sun goes down
- The later you start, the more opportunity for pre-exam mental distractions.
When I took the old MCAT, the day AFTER getting off of military active duty, I had enough time to pack up and check out of the military base before driving an hour to the testing site. With so much morning activity it was hard to focus on the exam itself (thinking about my 8hr drive home after the exam didn't help either).
(This was the old shorter exam. I tried but was banned from taking the new one.)
If you're testing at 6pm, your ideal ‘awake' window is from 4pm to 2am.
However, with 9 hours of sleep a 2am bedtime still has you waking up at 11am. That's 7 hours to kill (and build stress) before your exam.
For this reason I challenge you to wake up later and later,
Where even a 5am bedtime +9 hours of sleep for a 2pm wakeup suddenly is perfectly justified.
Just make sure you can actually REMAIN ASLEEP until 2pm and will not be woken up by family/roommates, pets, outside noise or someone knocking on the door.
See sleep mask and earplug recommendations above.
I want to hear from you
Using this information, what is your new target bedtime? Let me know in the comments below
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