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I’ve been extremely lax about updating this journal. My only excuse for that is my excuse for pretty much everything right now: MCAT. (DUN DUN DUUUUUN)

A year ago the mere thought of taking this test was enough to send a shiver of fear down my spine. I imagined that those five hours would be nonstop torture. Yet as the day draws closer and closer, I find myself far less terrified than I had anticipated.

I think the main reason I’m not trembling at the prospect is because, unlike any other test I’ve ever taken, the MCAT has given me ample opportunity to practice. Oh sure I’ve done preparatory questions for the SAT, and the GRE (which I never actually took) and for every physics, chemistry or biology exam. I even took full practice exams to get ready for a few. But the MCAT is different. By the time I sit down to take the actual test, I will have taken at least eight full practice tests in as close to testing conditions as I can manage. They say practice makes perfect, and even though a million sample MCAT tests won’t grant me a perfect score, there is a measure of confidence to be gained from the repetition. It’s reassuring to know that when I finally sit down at the testing center on Thursday, the screen in front of me will be something familiar.

That’s not to say I’m not still terrified. The exam date is less than a week away and I feel like I’m stuck on a cartoon conveyer belt headed toward clamping metal spikes.

But I also feel like I can do this. I feel like I have some measure of control, and that is something I never expected. I never thought I would feel ready to take the MCAT, but I find myself looking forward to the test date and the enormous weight that will be lifted from my shoulders.