You are in the midst of exams and your Google calendar looks busier than a MySpace homepage. Prepping for a test that counts for much more than any you’ve taken in college may sound downright nuts. Yet if you want to go straight to grad school – bypassing a 9-to-5 job or a 6-month trot around the globe – you may want to crack open that LSAT, GMAT, GRE, or MCAT book now.
That is not to say you need to kill your precious T.V. time. But familiarizing yourself with the test now, even if that means spending a couple of hours a week, will help greatly. Then, when summer is near, you won’t be starting from ground-zero prep but will already have a little momentum.
For the MCAT especially, which, of the graduate tests, is the most cumulative knowledge based, the more you can start learning the better. And the MCAT, unlike the GRE, will relate to most the classes you are taking. Both strongly emphasize critical reading skills, vocabulary (especially the GRE) and writing chops (if you’ve been writing 30-page papers the shorts essays shouldn’t be a problem!).
Nonetheless, on the whole all tests reward college students, assuming you have spent the last few years hovered over books and have the GPA to prove it. However, if you are taking the GMAT and the GRE but only took a few math courses back when you were a freshman, you will want to make sure to brush up those quant skills now. And don’t worry – no calculus. Neither test contains math beyond basic algebra and geometry.
As a college student, you also benefit from having many around you prepping for the same test. Form study groups, share prep books, or just commiserate over the scores on your practice tests.
So block out a couple of hours a week, find a study buddy and get started prepping today. When summer rolls around, up your study time to two hours per day. If necessary, take an in-class or online course with a big GRE/GMAT/LSAT company. Come October, when it is time to take a test, you will be ready to do your best!