How To Time Breaks For The MCAT

The MCAT wants you to focus like your running a "brain" marathon for 90 minutes straight. You may think that is simple, but a normal attention span cuts off at 20-40 minutes! Even when studying or reviewing, practice these strategies to improve your discipline and "mock" the MCAT daily (even when you aren't taking practice FLs). Start at the day that reflects your current break time and move down from there. Side note: Stop googling and searching SDN during your break (still great site for AFTER you are done studying for the day). Please! Your brain needs to actually relax. Set a timer and get back to work ASAP. If the breaks seem too short, you are not relaxing hard enough. Go have a dance party in the bathroom stall (its okay, no one will know) to relax more. If you cheat yourself into taking longer breaks, consider asking friend to keep you accountable by texting them the start and end of your break time. Even the best mcat tutor can't help you stay accountable if you cheat yourself! But, you can also set up a fun punishment such as donating $1 to your favorite charity every time you miss your break mark.  Make yourself bored, it makes the break "feel" longer. 
Day 1

20 min study session
10 min break (relax)

Day 2

30 min study session
10 min break (relax)

Day 3

40 min study session
10 min break (relax, eat)

Day 4

50 min study session
20 min break (relax, eat)

Day 5

1 hr study session
20 min break (relax, eat)

Day 6

1 hr & 10 min study session
20 min break (relax, eat)

Day 7

1 hr & 20 min study session
20 min break (15 min eating, 5 min sitting thinking about next study session)

Day 8

1hr & 30 min study session (Goal!)
20 min break (sit and think, don't do anything else after eating just try to think about the next study session for 10 min)

Day 9

1hr & 30 min study session (Goal :) )
15 min break (eat fast then sit & think for 10 min)

Day 10

1hr & 30 min study session (Goal! Stay on it)
10 min break (Goal!) (eat fast then sit & be relaxed for 5 min)

Last note: If you think this exam is stressful, you WILL be stressed. Don't love your breaks too much, it means you aren't enjoying studying enough. Yes, you can enjoy studying. Think of breaks as a boring, forced time where you just sit there and think about how well you will perform during your next round of MCAT review. If you still don't know where to start, consider getting a private MCAT tutor. Our next blog will show you the tutoring services out there. 

Amareen Dhaliwal