{shortcode-ea6cda0f368fa598c718a95716ceb110115cce2a}When I — a jaded Harvard pre-med, already in the second semester of my junior year — arrived at the MCAT testing center on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7:34:26 a.m., I observed an array of distraught students waiting expectantly in the check-in room. Quickly, I grabbed my silly little number card and the silly little sheet of AAMC testing rules before joining the crowd and putting on my most distraught face. When my name was finally called, I had already sealed my phone in the silly little plastic bag where it would live for the entire test. Next, the administrator took my picture. This, of course, was for obvious security reasons. What if my identical twin tried to take the exam for me?! Serious threat to potential doctors everywhere! Luckily, I don’t have a twin, so I decided not to worry that she was going to impersonate me and shoved all my personal items into a cute mini locker.

Now, it was time for my pat-down! To be fair, I was wearing a semi-baggy sweat suit, in which I probably could have fit my entire collection of one thousand-page MCAT prep books, but, fortunately, the test center staff investigated my person and proved that I had no book collection in my shirt, no pocket MCAT dictionary in my pockets, no items in my socks, and nothing up my sleeves. I didn’t have anything anywhere, not even in my brain! I’m a test-day angel, I know. To be fair, I paid $320 for this, so I really wanted to enjoy my experience. I got my palms scanned, walked to the testing room, got patted down again, scanned my palms again, AND THEN IT WAS TIME! I sat down in my little cubicle that was audio- and video-recorded (thank god, who knows what kind of hooligans could be trying to get in on this valuable, once-in-a-lifetime experience).

Sadly, I can’t speak of anything that happened from this point forward because of something called jail. Let me explain. If you write about your MCAT on the internet, obviously, no brainer: jail. If you tell all your pre-med friends about your MCAT, so they can study more effectively: jail. Tell your mom who has no relation to anyone else who will ever take the MCAT about the MCAT? Also jail. Think about your MCAT? Yes, that’s still jail. If you don’t believe me, please check the test-taking guidelines. I’d say we have the best test takers in the world because of jail.

Anyway, fast forward seven hours, I went home and cried. Not because I felt particularly defeated by the test, but because I had the most excruciating computer-induced headache and was unable to function as a normal human. As a Harvard pre-med, my ego could not take being questioned by this test, so maybe that was the real reason I cried, but we’ll never know.

At the time, my mind had been reduced to Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (otherwise known as CARS), Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior. What was my best friend’s name? Couldn't tell you. How old was I when I was born? Idk. Could I recite the Krebs cycle in under 37 seconds? Yes. Was anything in any of these four sections relevant to anything I’ll ever do again in my life? I’d like to say no, but in the spirit of scientific inquiry, I will say perhaps. Who knows, what if I have to take the MCAT again? Then every single thing I may or may not have seen (remember, jail) will definitely be extremely useful.

It’s been about fifteen days now. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really hard. I’m still recovering everyday, but I know when scores come out on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at some undisclosed time, it will either be the best or worst day out of a lot of days! I thought the agonizing stress would end when I put my Anki cards away, but here I am, still writing articles that will likely get me scolded by OCS (again) just for the cathartic effect of airing my grievances. If anyone would like an update on my LS2 friend’s journey (described in “The MCAT has Ruined my Life and the Lives of Millions of Others”), she’s working really hard for her March test date. Send us all your good vibes. XOXO, MCAT girl.