This post is dedicated to all the people who are about to write their MCAT and may be feeling the stress of needing to do well.
Last summer, I was always procrastinated and distracted from studying for the MCAT. I worried that I would bomb the test and have to retake the MCAT the next summer. I was stressed out that there wasn’t enough time to cover all the material. I doubted my own abilities. With about one month left to go, I had a sudden turn around. One night while studying at the library, I took a break and stumbled upon an interesting titled book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I found the title strange but applicable to my situation so I decided to read the first chapter. The following excerpt from the book spoke volumes to me and changed my attitude about how I was to prepare for the MCAT.
“In the spring of 1871, a young man picked up a book and read 21 words that had a profound effect on his future. As a medical student, he was worried about what to do, where to go, how to build up a practice, and how to make a living. The 21 words that this young med student read helped him to become the most famous physician of his generation. He was even knighted by the King of England. when he died, two huge volumes containing 1, 466 pages were required to tell the story of his life.
His name was Sir William Osler. Here are 21 words that he read – 21 words from Thomas Carlyle that helped him lead a life free from worry: Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at the hand.“
As a premedical student, it’s so easy to get caught up with the final goal of getting into medical school that you lose focus on the task at hand. When you should be studying for the MCAT, your mind drifts off to the application process or interviews or even your grades. You lose focus and studying gets hard. If Osler lived by doing at what lies clearly at hand, perhaps you should too. Taking baby steps and breaking up goals into compartments make difficult tasks manageable. Whenever I began to worry about not passing the MCAT or not finishing on test day, I just reminded myself to do what was in front of me. If there was a passage to study, I did that. If I needed to finish a practice test, I did that. Somehow, it worked. It worked for Osler, it worked for me, and I’m hope it will work for you too.
I highly recommend everyone to read Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying, along with his other classic How to Win Friends & Influence People. These books have really helped calm my nerves down not only with the MCAT, and school grades, but with life in general. Later that night, I stumbled across a second quote that I frequently use now to prevent myself from complaining / freaking out/ worrying.
“Life is too short to be little” – Disraeli
Suck it up, bite your tongue and do what you need to do. In the grand scheme of things, the MCAT is such a small part of being a doctor. Don’t stress out and worry over something so small. Medicine is much bigger than the MCAT. Best of luck to everyone writing their MCAT