The MCAT Tutor: The Vital Importance of a Study Buddy

Posted by Mac Staben on 2/9/15 11:30 AM


Everyone needs a buddy

The start of the spring semester can be a great time for students hoping to do well on the MCAT this summer to start studying for the test. At the beginning of a semester, you can start to set the habits that will prepare you to maximize your performance on the test. While I’m not doing private MCAT tutoring in Boston, as a medical student I’m always trying to work efficiently to master complex material. So, in this blog post, I’m going to try to convince you to adopt one of the study habits that I’ve found most useful in helping me academically: Finding a study partner. 

Why get a study buddy?

1.   Accountability

A partner provides a motivation to get your butt in gear and study. It can be hard to work for a distant goal. At this point, the MCAT is months away, and so at the moment, it might not seem so important to work hard to prepare. But, the MCAT (and medical school, as I’m discovering) is really a cumulative test. The sooner you master a concept, the easier future learning will be, so it’s important to start your MCAT test prep in New York early. Having a regular study partner and setting a regular study time makes each one of you accountable to the other. Plus, studying with a friend is inherently more fun than studying alone.

2.   A different perspective.

People learn differently. In a lecture, one person might have a lapse in concentration and miss a crucial piece of information that ties kinetic energy together.  Having two people there is like stacking sheets of swiss cheese together: Each individual sheet might have a few holes, but in a block of cheese, none of the holes occur in the same place. Also, your study partner might know a story or an example that helps explain to explain a difficult concept. By working with someone else, you get to expand your knowledge base from merely what you know, to what both of you know.

3.   Learn by teaching 

Finally, having a study partner will always give you a willing audience. As a private MCAT tutor in Boston, I know that my students haven’t truly mastered a concept until they can explain it. Having a study partner gives you a willing audience that is trying to work through the same material. Processing and shaping knowledge into a form that someone else can understand helps solidify material in your own brain. Even more importantly, when you don’t understand something, your study partner is there to help you work through it. They have the same goal of success as you do, so your partner will be just as motivated as you are to explain and help you along. 

So, as you’re working through the first few weeks of school, start thinking about a study partner to really kick your MCAT review in New York into high gear. Just remember, when you’re a doctor, they’ll be your colleagues.

For more relevant reading, check out these other blog posts, written by our MCAT tutors in New York and BostonWhat Will the New MCAT Look Like?, 4 Last-Minute Tips to Raise Your Verbal Score, and Getting Over Test Day Nerves.And if you need more one-on-one support, why not reach out to Cambridge Coaching? We offer in-person, private MCAT tutoring in New York and Boston, and we’re also happy to work with you online .

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Tags: MCAT