By: Maeve Clair
The AAMC, which is the organization that designs the MCAT, recommends dedicating 350 study hours prior to Test Day. If you were to treat studying for the MCAT like a full-time job, this means you would have to block off about ten weeks of prep to meet the AAMC’s recommendation.
If you are already taking classes and looking for a part-time job where you can earn extra money, it may seem difficult to make this commitment—but it is certainly possible. All it takes is a little planning and some serious time management. Studying for MCAT Test Day and working a college job is well within your reach.
Make a study schedule and stick with it. The best way to consistently adhere to your prep plan is to fit it into your schedule in one way or another—structuring your studying around other time commitments like exercise, academic work, or socializing.
In other words, make studying for the MCAT a habit. On top of building in structured study time, incorporate prep into time that would otherwise be wasted. One creative way to do this while still making a little extra cash in college is by seeking a part-time student job that provides opportunities to hit the books.
There are many jobs out there in which you’ll be given a good amount of downtime between essential tasks that you have to complete. Many such jobs can be found right on campus—so you won’t have to spend time commuting to and from work.
Consider working at your campus library or technology center, for example, or try working in a clerical position as an office administrator. Any part-time positions that might involve some amount of idle time would be good options and can most likely be found on your university’s human resources or job openings page. Not all of these positions will afford spare study time, so it is important to be open with your future employer and tell them you have a busy schedule and are looking for a job where you can study.
Some examples of off-campus jobs that offer downtime might include working the front desk at a hotel, being a security guard, or serving as a lifeguard. Similarly, some retail positions won’t require constant customer service and will allow you to study at the front desk or checkout counter.
Do your own research and reach out to local employers to find other part-time jobs that would allow you to study for the MCAT while on the clock. Just be sure to verify that any position you find is study friendly before you commit.
Preparing for Test Day? Add a free MCAT practice test to your study schedule.
Maeve Clair is a recently graduated Biology and Psychology student from the University of Pittsburgh.