What to Do the Day Before Your MCAT Exam?

February 2, 2024

minute read

The day has finally come! You are a day away from taking the MCAT. As the exam day approaches, you may be wondering what to do the day before your MCAT to ensure a successful exam. 

While studying ahead of time is a no-brainer, there are several simple things you can take to ensure you do not have any problems on exam day and just to make your life easier. 

This article is here to help you prepare the things you need and share with you what you need to do the day before your MCAT.

Your MCAT Test Day Bag: What’s Inside?

This is another part of planning on what to do the day before the MCAT and is a critical phase in your MCAT preparation. You do not want to wait until the exam day to accomplish this. 

On the day of your MCAT exam, you should bring the following items:

  • A hardcopy of your confirmation email (in case they ask for it)
  • Two acceptable forms of identification (government-issued ID, passport with your signature)
  • Keys and wallet
  • Light jacket/sweatshirt
  • Mobile phone (that should be turned off during the duration of the exam)
  • Any prescriptions you may require (Advil, antacids, etc.)
  • Snacks high in protein (A large lunch can make you sleepy for the second half of the exam, so do not bring/take one.)
  • Water bottle(s)

Your MCAT Test Day Plan

First and foremost: Do not put off thinking about these things until the night before the exam. 

If you develop good habits in the weeks preceding the exam, your future self will appreciate the extra effort on test day. 

Below are the tips that will help you perform best on your MCAT exam day. 

Make Sure You Have an MCAT-accepted ID. 

You will not be able to test if your ID does not fulfill the required conditions. Ensure your ID's first and last names match the information you provided during registration. 

You must amend your registration in the MCAT Registration system ten days before your exam date if they do not match. 

Be at the Testing Location at Least Half an Hour Before the MCAT is Set to Begin. 

Examinees will be checked 30 minutes before the start of the exam by test center administrators. Therefore, it is wise to plan ahead and know how long it will take to travel to your testing center. Before the exam day, you are not permitted to tour the testing center.

Bring Lunch With You.

You are permitted to have beverages and food with you at the testing center. However, your possessions must be stored in a storage locker with a key. 

There will be two 10-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch pause. Bring healthy, substantial food, drink lots of water, and keep some cash on hand for vending machines.

Dress Comfortably.

You will be at your MCAT testing center for about eight hours, and you will not be able to leave once the test has started. Therefore, dress in layers and wear comfortable clothing so you may adapt your wardrobe as the weather changes throughout the day.

Read the Examinee Agreement Carefully. 

On the day of the MCAT, a Certification Statement that reminds you of your Examinee Agreement obligations will be given to you. You will certify that you understand and abide by these duties by going beyond the Certification Statement on test day. When you write the MCAT, ensure you understand why it is necessary and what you consent to.

Maximize the Time You Have Been Given.

You have 8 minutes to read and sign the examinee agreement and another 10 minutes for the tutorial. Take the extra 15 minutes to scribble anything you can on the notepad you have been handed. 

Many students may use this opportunity to make a list of all the amino acids and their qualities. Some people may jot down mnemonics they have memorized for things like development theories. 

In any case, doing so will save you a few minutes in later parts by preventing you from having to recite a mnemonic in the middle of the exam.

Remind Yourself – “You’ve Got This.”

Do not doubt your knowledge and psyche yourself out. 

Keep your stress levels low and your confidence levels high. You have exerted so much time and effort preparing for this day, and there is no way you will fail. Keep telling that to yourself as you take the MCAT.

What to Do the Day Before Your MCAT?

The day before the MCAT is more about rest and rejuvenation than it is about advice and techniques. Yes, you have a massive amount of work ahead of you in just a few hours, but you also need to prepare mentally. 

It is the day to give your brain a rest from anything MCAT related. So, on the day before the MCAT, here are the things that you have to do to ensure nothing goes wrong on your MCAT day.

Make Sure All of the Logistics are in Place.

Anticipatory anxiety, in particular, can be reduced by becoming familiar with what you will encounter on exam day. In addition, you may want to consider driving to your testing center ahead of time if possible/reasonable. 

Acquaint yourself with the routes and try and figure out traffic conditions for the time of day you will be on the road, so you know when you need to leave.

Get Everything in Order.

Set aside everything you will need for test day. Your clothes, car keys, money, food, lunch, and, most importantly, your identification. 

Prepare yourself, so you do not have to worry about anything on the day of the MCAT.

Distract Yourself.

You want to divert your attention away from the MCAT as much as possible. Go out and have some fun with your friends or family. Go to a movie, play sports, bake a cake, get ice cream, watch some Netflix – whatever tickles your fancy!

Keep Track of Your Sleep Cycle on the Test Day.

You should have your exam day planned by now, including when you want to wake up, eat breakfast, depart, and so on. 

The day before your MCAT must be an excellent practice run for the big day. Ensuring you sleep on time and get up when your alarm goes off is a big part of this.

Wake Up on Time. 

Set a backup plan for someone to phone you 10 minutes after your alarm goes off the night before your test. 

Have your alarm set in snooze mode and ensure the volume is loud enough. You will not have to be concerned about your alarm going off this way.

Have a Back-Up Plan in Case Something Goes Wrong. 

Have a family member or a friend on standby to bring you to the testing location in the morning if you have car issues. 

Although you will rarely need these backup plans, it never hurts to have one, and having one can make you feel more relaxed and prepared on MCAT exam day.

Do Not Try Anything New. 

The day before the MCAT is not the time to try out that new restaurant everyone is raving about or to go to the gym and try to beat your maximum weight. 

Taking the MCAT with an upset stomach or an injured body is the last thing you want to happen. Keep doing what you are used to and at ease with. You can do those after taking the MCAT.

Relax.

This may seem to be self-evident, yet it is the most crucial. 

Consider the following: You have been studying for several months. You have gone over all of the material there is to go over. What good will it do you to cram for another day or two if not to increase your anxiety? 

Make your body move. Laugh! Fill your life with great experiences and self-care; your efforts will inspire you even more on exam day.

List of Questions for the MCAT Test Location

Knowing and being familiar with the MCAT test location should never be overlooked. And when we say location, it does not necessarily have to be GPS coordinates but the testing center’s facilities. 

Below are some of the points you must consider about the MCAT testing location. 

  • What is the location of the actual entrance?
  • Is there a parking area?
  • What kind of security measures do they have?
  • Where are the restrooms located?
  • What is the size of the lockers?
  • Will you have access to a microwave or a refrigerator?
  • What is the temperature like in the testing center?
  • On which floor of the building is the actual testing room?

The more questions you can answer now, the more prepared you will be for test day, and the less likely you will be taken off guard by something minor. Remember, any tiny mishap can make or break your test-day performance.

Additional FAQs – What to Do the Day Before Your MCAT?

Should I Take a Practice Test the Day Before The MCAT?

As much as possible, no. You should not take a practice test anymore the day before the MCAT. You should try to stay away from anything MCAT-related a day before you have to take the test. 

You have prepared and studied enough. This is now the best time for you to relax and calm yourself before the big day.

What Should I Review a Week Before MCAT?

Since this is the final week of your MCAT preparation, you should only review light materials but focus more on answering practice exams. You can make use of this time to utilize your AAMC practice exams

This week, you should try to complete two practice exams. Then, read over your responses and think critically about the ones you got wrong, figuring out what you did wrong and correcting it.

Should You Study the Day Before Your MCAT?

We strongly advise that you avoid studying and reviewing for the MCAT a day before the MCAT. 

You have studied in the last few months for the MCAT, and this day is for you to unwind and make yourself calm for the test day.

What Should I Do the Night Before The MCAT?

You should ensure that everything is prepared and organized before going to sleep the night before you have to take the MCAT. 

Also, ensure that you sleep early and you have set your alarm. Consider your morning routines when you set your alarm.

How Do You Calm Down the Day Before The MCAT?

You can do many things to calm down a day before the MCAT. 

Spend time with your friends and family. You can go to the park, watch the sunset, get a massage, or even watch a movie. It all depends on what you prefer.

What Should I Do on The Morning of My MCAT?

What you do on the morning of the test day will dictate the outcome of your MCAT, so you have to start your day right. 

Start with a short prayer and mindfulness, believing you will perform well in the test. Then, have a good breakfast and wear clothes you are comfortable in. Do not eat anything you have not tried before. 

Leave your place early and be at the testing center at least half an hour before the MCAT starts. If you arrive too early at the testing site, familiarize yourself with the place. Good luck!

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