You know the feeling. You’ve just mentally exhausted yourself on one section of the MCAT and you have a short break before you have to tackle the next section. You’re stressed and worried about how you just did and you’re anxious about what the next section is going to be like. So what do you do? How do you refocus yourself so that you can bring everything you’ve got into the next section instead of being worn down by stress? How can you relax and mentally/emotionally prepare yourself to start the next section?
Well, there are a whole series of exercises you can do and we recommend them to students in our courses. A couple of them are really easy to do and we’ll go over them now. They’re called mindfulness exercises and they allow you to quickly get into alpha brain wave states, which really relax you, calm you down, and destress you - everything that you need after finishing one MCAT section and before starting the next.
The first is to sit quietly with your eyes closed and to breathe deeply and slowly. Allow your body to relax as you pay attention to your breath.
Another helpful mindfulness exercise is to just move your body. Get up. Walk around. Focus on a particular point; it may be a corner in the room or where two angles meet. Just move, go to it, focus on it and stop and clear your mind for a moment and then go back to your seat. This physical movement helps to change your mental and emotional state.
There are a lot of other mindfulness exercises you can do both during the MCAT and when studying for the MCAT. We’ll be sharing more with you in future posts.