Something Is Better Than Nothing

April 25, 2013
Emily Hause

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped)It’s one of those days. I am exhausted. My body hurts because I’m so tired. My brain is full. I can’t concentrate and my to-do list is decidedly too long to even contemplate.

With the full schedule of a pre-med student (taking classes, volunteering, studying for the MCAT , working, shadowing and applying to medical school), I have a lot of experience “powering through” and “playing through the pain.” I have made it through the toughness of finals week with mono and the absurdity of finishing a half marathon on a broken foot.  But, there are just some days where even the smallest challenges seem insurmountable.

This may be the reality for a lot of you, intrepid MCAT students. There are just some rough days. I know that we already have blog entries about sleep, motivation and taking breaks, but today I want to focus on a slightly different aspect of studying.

What do you do on those days when you’re straight up exhausted and you have two hours of MCAT studying built into your schedule? A month ago when you created the schedule, those two hours seemed easy- a piece of cake- you thought. Now they seem like torture. You can’t imagine having the wherewithal to complete a topical test or focusing long enough to read a chapter of Review Notes material. So, what do you do?

Well, here’s the deal. Instead of throwing up your hands and giving up on studying for the day, do something small. Do fifteen minutes of flashcards or review some equations. Spend 20 minutes on Kaplan’s Free Test Workout. Work on subjects which are comfortable or friendly. It’s okay to spend half an hour focused on your strengths or forty-five minutes getting faster at completing questions within your comfort zone. I know that as high-achievers, MCAT students think that not using every second to tackle their weakness or the most difficult material is synonymous with failure. However, on THOSE days, any little bit of productive studying you can accomplish is great. Something is better than nothing.


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