Tips for a Successful MCAT Test Day – Part 1 Plan for the Worst

March 26, 2013
Emily Hause

Red_AppleMost MCAT students spend their time worrying about memorizing content and practicing their critical thinking skills. They focus on knowing all of the physics equations, general chemistry constants and organic chemistry nomenclature. But, a large part of test day success is not contingent on knowledge and critical reasoning, but careful planning in the weeks leading up to and the day of the test. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you’re 100% prepared for test day success!

  1. Scope out your driving route in advance – Especially as the weather gets warmer, construction projects start to spring up unexpectedly. Drive your exact route at the same time of day you will be driving on your test to make sure that you don’t run into traffic or detours which will add stress on test day.

  2. Evaluate additional variables – Do you usually drink coffee or take a medication at the same time of day? Do you get hungry at a certain time? Make sure that the week before the test, you get into a test-friendly routine and don’t get crippled by a 9:15 caffeine craving.

  3. Prepare for the unexpected- Pack yourself a mini-pharmacy for your test. You don’t want your great score to be derailed by a stomach ache, cough, headache or sniffly nose. Make sure your mini-pharmacy includes Kleenex, Advil, Tums, Chapstick, Robitussin, and Claritin, anything you could possibly need in a during-test emergency.

  4. Plan how you’re going to use your breaks-  When you will use the bathroom and what your snacks will be. A solid break-time routine will eliminate anxiety and stress between sections.

  5. Check your ID and bring a back-up ID just in case – Some students take the MCAT near their birthday which, in some states, is the expiration date for having a valid driver’s license. Make sure your ID will still be valid on your test date and bring a spare ID, such as a passport, just in case.

Using these tips, you will be prepared for the worst case test day scenarios and no unforeseen variables can bring down your rockin’ MCAT score!


Emily Hause Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over eight years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.

About Kaplan Test Prep

We know test prep. We invented it. Through innovative technology and a personalized approach to learning, we’ll equip you with the test insights and advice you need to achieve your personal best. Results, guaranteed*.

Kaplan is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET), a U.S. Department of Education nationally recognized agency. MCAT® is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Kaplan or this website. *Higher Score Guarantee: Conditions and restrictions apply. For complete guarantee eligibility requirements, visit © 2014 The Med School Pulse. All Rights Reserved