Don’t Count the Hours. Make the Hours Count!
Many people wonder “How many hours to study for MCAT.” Everyone learns differently and at a different pace. So, what you accomplish in two hours might take someone else one, four, or even six hours to accomplish. I know it is hard to not compare yourself with others regarding how “hard” your friends are working, but you have to try to tune out all that noise. Someone can walk into the library and say, “I studied 12 hours yesterday and woke up at 5 am again this morning to continue studying”. I am not saying that they may be lying intentionally (although that is possible too), but your brain cannot physically function that long and be productive. Your mind will take mental breaks, whether you want it to or not. A tapering in productivity where it no longer becomes worth your time to stay focused anymore. So, although they may think they studied 12 hours, they may have only really studied for 8.
Your job is to figure out when your productivity tapers off and to cut all studying after that. It is not worth it to force yourself to keep studying at your desk when you could just start fresh the next day and get the same amount of work done because you are recharged. Relaxation is necessary! You will be a lot more productive if you know you get to do something fun afterward. You need to parent your self, and any successful parent knows that you need to give out lots of rewards! So, treat yourself to ice cream, a walk, or whatever is fun for you after you have gotten your studying done for the day. It is incredible how much you can do when you are completely focused and energetic. For most people, they can productively study for 6-8 hours a day. Some may be able to do slightly more, and some slightly less. It may take even very person to person and day to day. Some days you may feel extraordinarily productive and study for 8, and some days you may be feeling less into it and only get in 5 hours.
However, don’t get caught up in counting the “How many hours to study for MCAT.” It is essential to know how much time you have per day so you can budget your to-do list with reasonable goals for the day, but beyond that, the number does not mean anything at all. I can assure you; it is not going to make much of a difference in your score whether you study for 6 hours a day vs. 8 hours a day. However, what makes a difference is if you are focused and making those 6 hours highly productivity powered hours. That is where you will see a difference in two student’s scores. Many people sit at their desk with their books open for hours on end, yet they end up needing to retake the MCAT. Don’t be one of those! Moreover, if you are, don’t worry. Just make sure you adjust your study habits, so it does not happen again.