Maintaining MCAT Momentum through the holidays

December 5, 2013
Emily Hause

20131204_184639Hello my hard-studying readers. It’s that time of year again! You’re probably slogging away through your finals studying, waiting for that wonderful period of the year known as winter break. I’m also sure that you have lofty goals of getting lots of MCAT studying done during break.

I have seen many an ambitious student, with the best of intentions reach the middle of January and think, “Oh my goodness, where did the time go? How did I get zero studying done during break?”

Fortunately, I’m here today with some tips to help keep your MCAT momentum during the holiday season!

1. Make a schedule! If you make a schedule, you can plan your fun around practice tests and studying. If you simply just say that you’re going to do three practice tests in the next few weeks, you’re more likely to keep procrastinating and not get those practice tests done. Make a schedule and hold yourself accountable!

2. Plan to always get less done than you expect. If you schedule five hours of studying, chances are that you’ll get three done. The reason for this is that fun things happen during break. Friends and family from out of town will stop by, movies need to be watched and winter activities (skiing, skating, general frolicking) need to be accomplished. All of these things are infinitely more fun than studying and will eat away at your study time. Make sure you’re over-shooting your study time so that even if you don’t get as much done as you plan, you’re still staying on track for success!

3. Involve your family and friends in helping you study. Studies have shown that weight-loss programs are more effective if the person trying to lose weight involves friends and family as allies. I can only imagine (without a fully funded study) that the same effect is true with MCAT studying. Use your friends and family to motivate you! They can cheer you on after your practice test, help you with flashcards or you can practice teaching them the information!

4. Get out of the house. During the school year, you may usually study in the library, a coffee shop or somewhere on campus. If you head back to your family’s house for the holidays, it may negatively affect your studying groove. Find an open library or coffee shop so that you can study in MCAT-like conditions and spend some time away from the temptations of home (cable TV, cookies, sleeping).

Hopefully these tips help you stay on track for MCAT success after the holiday/winter break season!
Happy studying!


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.

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