1. Do Not Worry About The Small Details For The MCAT:
The MCAT is a passage based test; therefore, in order to do well on this test you need to be able to read a passage and answer questions about it. Become familiar with reading and interpreting graphs and charts, traditionally those types of question are famous for showing up on the MCAT.
This is not to say that every question on the MCAT will come from a passage though. The MCAT is not like an exam in college and for this test do not worry about trying to learn every small detail in a MCAT prep book. The test will cover somewhat broad categories of topics that are outlined in the AAMC guide. You can download this guide if you go to our “MCAT 2015” tab at the top of this page and scroll down to the bottom of that page; there you will find a link.
You will have plenty of time to learn all the details of science in your residency as a physician. So if you are “must know all the details” kind of person there is a special place called a medical residency just waiting for you after medical school - you are going to love it!
2. Use The AAMC Practice Questions And Test As A Guide:
To get the best idea of how you will do on the MCAT do the practice questions and test made by the AAMC. Those questions are the ultimate judge for how you will do on the exam. There are lots of MCAT resources on the market that have lots of practice questions some of which are easier and some of which are harder than what you will see on the actual MCAT. For several students these resources are great because they get your mind thinking about many of the subjects you learned in college, but once again the AAMC practice questions should be a must in your prep for the MCAT.
3. Do Not Sacrifice Extracurricular/Volunteer Work For Grades:
Yes, having some hospital volunteer work is important when applying to medical school and yes, extracurricular activities looks nice on a medical school application. However, those should not replace your study time. Many students want to know how many hours they should spend volunteering in a hospital and the answer can be kind of tricky, but in general 1-2 months is plenty. Medical schools just want to see that you know what you are getting into. Going to medical school is a big commitment and they want you to see first hand what exactly you could be doing in the future. You do not have to know the exact field you want to go into as a premed, but it is important to have a general idea of the different work/life balances each field has.
Do not feel that you have to have loads of extracurricular activities or years of doing something in particular to be accepted into medical school. You're first priority should be to focus on grades and MCAT scores. Having those two things will almost always get you an interview somewhere.