The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is certainly no walk in the park. The MCAT is a comprehensive exam that measures your critical thinking skills, existing scientific knowledge, problem-solving ability, and more. In order to have your choice of the best medical schools, you will need to do well on this exam. Here are five ways that you can prepare for this rigorous exam.

Determine Your Baseline

Before you dive headfirst into the studying, you need to determine your baseline MCAT score. To do this, you need to take a full-length practice test. Take this test cold with no prep so that you can determine your baseline.

From there, you will know what you need to focus the bulk of your study efforts on in order to see the most success. You do not want to waste valuable time studying for areas of the test that you would do well in without a lot of prep. Instead, you want to focus on your weak areas.

Hire a Specialized Tutor

A specialized MCAT tutor is an invaluable resource for nearly any aspiring medical school student. When it comes to an exam that is as comprehensive and complicated as the MCAT, it is best to lean on the professionals to guide you through the test prep process. There are many nuances to the MCAT. A tutor will be able to provide you with the best advice and guidance as you prepare to sit for the exam.

When you hire a tutor, you will also enjoy a highly customized approach designed to fit your specific needs for the test. The professional tutor can help you to design a study plan that addresses your weaknesses so that you feel confident heading into the exam. This confidence is invaluable.

Focus on Building Stamina

The MCAT takes over seven hours to complete. This is not an easy feat for even the best of students. You will increase your chances of success if you work on building your test-taking stamina in the weeks leading up to the big day.

To best prepare for the challenge ahead, you should work on building up to the longer passages to increase your stamina. Once you can concentrate for a few hours at a time with the allowed short breaks, you will be ready for what the actual test will feel like. Do not expect to be able to work under these circumstances without readying your mind for what the duration of the test will mimic.

Practice Makes Perfect

One of the best ways to prepare for the MCAT is to take as many practice tests as possible. Not only will this prepare you for what the content will look like on your actual test, but it will also help you to build stamina for exam day.

You should space out your practice tests by not taking them more than once per week. Doing too much will have a negative effect on your test prep efforts. You want your brain to be ready to take on each practice test so that you are able to get a better idea of what you can expect on test day. It is also important to review the scores of each test score so that you can determine where your prep should be directed. After a few practice tests, you will likely see a pattern start to emerge.

Prepare for Test Day

Once you have all of the studying under your belt, it is time to focus on the logistics of test day. It is recommended to do a practice drive to your testing site if you are unfamiliar with the location. Make sure that you know where to park and where the entrance to the exam is located.

It goes without saying that you need to get a good night of sleep prior to the exam. Eating a good breakfast is also key. Do not try eating something new that your body is not used to on the morning of the test.

These five tips will ensure that you are ready to face the MCAT. The more prepared that you feel, the more confident that you will be when you sit for this important test.