For anyone choosing to follow the “pre-medicine” path of life during their college career, they are definitely choosing a college experience full of difficult classes, late nights spent studying, and long hours worked in a laboratory setting. For most people, academic studying generally ends once the school year is completed-unless they are enrolled in summer session courses. However, for many who have chosen the pre-med way of life and desire to someday become medical doctors themselves, ceasing to study during the long, sunny months of summer may not be the best formula for success. In fact, it will most likely be in your best interest to continue your academic pursuits on your own initiative during the summer months.
By now, you should have completed at least three of the four science courses that you will be tested on during your MCAT exam, which you will most likely take towards the end of your junior year or shortly after completing your junior year. Spend this crucial summer refreshing your mind on the courses that you’ve studied over the past couple of years. It may have been a full year since you’ve completed general chemistry and basic biology-take this summer to grab an MCAT preparation book (or several of them) and review these topics. You’ve most likely just completed your studies of organic chemistry; focus a lot on reviewing this subject also during this summer, as it should still be fresh in your memory. If you have also already finished your physics courses, review this topic during this summer as well.
Since you will most likely be continuing to review and study all of these topics throughout your entire school year in preparation for your MCAT, don’t worry too much about re-learning everything right away. Realize that you have plenty of time to master these subjects, as long as you are diligent about your studying. I would focus on reviewing basic topics during this summer and focusing more on specific problem areas during the school year. For example, try to cover the basics of acid-base reactions and PV=nRT as well as some of the other equations for general chemistry. For physics, also try to focus on memorizing useful equations; also work on doing all your calculations without a calculator, since you won’t be allowed to use one on the MCAT. For organic chemistry, focus on the basics of different nucleophilic and electrophilic substitution and elimination reactions. Biology studying can be spent on what most of biology is anyways-lots of memorization of terms and function cycles. Spend this summer memorizing equations; focus on how to use them during the school year.