Failure in MCAT (or any exam) is not the end of the world!

 You live, you learn. 
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

By Unsa Athar
There are two things I hate about life. I) It is so Unpredictable. II) It always goes on…!
No matter how tragic the incident was, an incident you had never ever expected, you still have to move on. Now it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll move on like a zinda laash or a like a spirited person full of hopes of a better future. Anum Ahad’s comment about her friend on my article reminded me of so many people who have suffered with the very same incident like her friend. The 14 years of your academic life, from nursery to Pre-medical part 2, moved towards just one thing; Admission to a medical college. The 14 years were perfect, with ups and downs though but no big tragedy. You were brilliant in matric, brilliant in Fsc and then, you just lose it all on one single day; the mcat day! I know how painful it is to match your carbon copy with the answer key and finding wrong answers every now and then. How painful it is to calculate your marks with trembling numb hands. You just don’t understand what to do next. Call a friend? Cry? Stay quiet? What to reply to the uncountable texts of kia bna,kia bna??. After rechecking your copy, you just throw it away and hope and pray that the official result would be different…. Each second passes away like a year.. And then the official result is no different. Even worse…! God, you lose all your senses and are at a total loss to understand anything. “Has it really happened to me?. But I worked so hard.s…Why Me??” And then there comes the season of disappointed teachers, saddened parents and sympathetic friends. Some are lucky to have helpful people all around who console; some have people who do not help and just keep on taunting and teasing.

Well, you can then adopt one of the two approaches. Either blame others for it, let it be uhs or destiny; or take the blame on yourself in a positive manner and find out where did it go wrong.
And as one of the Khulfay-e-rashdeen said:
Agar musibat tumhey Khuda k qareeb kr dey to wo azmaish hai; agar Khuda sei dour kr dey to saza”
So the first thing to be done after such a tragedy is to get closer to Allah. Thank Him for what He has given to you all your life. Secondly, get out of the shock as soon as possible. You are not a worthless piece of junk! You can do wonders in life if you just keep on trying! And if you have been truly working hard, you will reach a place best suited to you. If all your life you were serious about studies, you will certainly go places. Even if not in medicine, in some other great field may be. (yeah, yeah there are exceptions. People can go places without even studying, our president for instance.)

Here I’ll quote the example of three people I know who went through the same issue.
Rida aapi was an excellent student in School. The confident, shining star.  You know that laiq gal with whom every girl wants to be friends. Scoring excellent in matric, and yet excellent again in FSc, joining all the good academies for Mcat. Man, I saw her notes… amazingly wonderful.. All the hard work, the test papers and answer books she has kept save. (She gave them to me this year for help, so kind of her). But she panicked in the mcat. Couldn’t score enough. Still Took a control of her life. Accepted her mistake and realized medicine was just not her thing. Did additional maths that year, took ECAT next year. Went to Computer engineering in UET and graduated from there with flying colours. Was even the finance secretary at Environmental & Horticultural Society there. And is presently doing a great job and says:
“Pehley paisey nahi hotey thei but shopping k lye time hi time hota tha. Ab paisey hain but time nahi milta  ”

The second one is a girl I met in my mcat classes having 1002 in FSc and 750 something in mcat in 2011. She was repeating this year. She says “ I was shocked when I calculated my mcat score. I couldn't believe it for three months. Then slowly I got out of it. I had to. I did not want to turn a year full of regrets into a life full of regrets. So I started studying again.”  She also took a control of her life. She had started to loathe the books but studied them again for her own good. Joined academies, made notes all over again and has been so helpful for all of us throughout the mcat session. She worked hard again and now She has a great aggregate and will be In Shaa Allah in AIMC.

The third one, sigh, is a sad case. She was also repeating this year. Never took responsibility of her life. Kept blaming other things like the sequence of B,C in the mcqs, uhs policies, joining the wrong academy etc etc. Never started studying properly. And in the first or second week of September, texted me to come at her  place for a group study. *Eye brows raised*. Gave the mcat this year and stands at the same place as the last year.

Keeping the above examples in mind and Elaine Maxwell saying:“Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force” , take a charge of things!

Okay now some study talk.

First think you want to try again next year or you want to study in some other field. If you have decided to take admission somewhere else and repeat mcat next year as well, things are going to be a bit tough for you. You will have to study two things simultaneously. It’s up to you whether you want to study both the things every day or give specific days like weekends for revising the syllabus. Make a schedule and Stick to it!! Read the chapters thoroughly. Mark the lines or points you have forgotten. Memorize the facts and figures. Write down the things you have learned in form of points in a register. If you have some unclear concepts ask for help. Try to write down the previous mcat questions that you remember and consult a teacher for the answers..There are even pages at facebook that post mcqs and their answers. You can post the questions you have on them as well.
And then there is this blogger’s community. Always ready to help you out.
And then there is also our facebook page

Chemistry and physics portions are the ones that do the most damage. To ace them, conceptual clarity is very important. Make a list of all the formulae in the books of physics. Make mcqs on your own. For chemistry revise and revise the reactions in part-II daily. Make relations among the reactions. Try to connect the things you are studying today with the things you studied yesterday. And make sure you know which topics do the points in the uhs syllabus refer to. No need to study the rest of the course. Though you can give them a read to make your concepts clearer. For example, in the syllabus only some specific reactions of alkenes have been mentioned but you read out all the reactions of alkenes for a better understanding. But for things that do not relate to each other, no need to waste your time on them. Eg. If the syllabus says to study only the economic importance of flowering families, stick to it. No need to waste your life over the ­French-looking-like-English terms that describe the floral characters!

And for the people who are from Urdu medium backgrounds and get worried about the English portion, revise the English grammar rules you have studied in FSc from some good book like Wren and Martin’s or any mcat English book by kips or pgc. After reading the rules, start solving the exercises. I know people who knew the rules but never practiced  how to use them in practical. So practicing is very important.
For the vocab, do 10-15 words daily. As you will have a year’s time, so the best way would be finding out all the possible meaning of a word, making sentences on your own for it and learning 3,4 synonyms for it. Make out your own mcat vocabulary notes and after clearing your mcat, you can even get them printed as a small book to be given at your college to the upcoming mcatians! It requires hard work, but when you are done with it, you won’t forget the words ever.
But if you feel easy with learning words out of already made notes, remember one thing. Do not learn them in one particular order. If you have finished learning them A to Z, revise them Z to A now. Otherwise a particular pattern would be saved in your brain and not the meanings. And most importantly, you must know the meaning of the word in Urdu as well.
And when next year the mcat session’s start, try some other place then your previous one. Study with a sincere heart and keep praying for the best!

For the practice tests, Keep one thing in mind. They are designed for your practice and not for you to get too overjoyed and  too depressed on good and bad scores respectively. Keep on learning from them and take them positively. It applies to every stage of your educational life. I used to worry too much about my not-so-good score in Islamiat because of my writing. I worked on it and got a 50/50 in the board exam. But for Urdu, I always used to get the second-highest score in class tests but in board… :’( can understand.
During the mcat prep. I score 856 in the test I gave two weeks before the real one. I took it positively and kept on working and believing and so, the outcome was great!

And some of you must be mumbling “easy for you to say all this.” Well yes, it is easy said than done. But one day or another you will realize you have to do it all by yourself. You’ll have to give your best to get the fruit named “Satisfaction”
And remember the wise words of Arnold Bennet:
“The real tragedy is the tragedy of the man who never in his life braces himself for his one supreme effort-he never stretches to his full capacity, he never stands up to his full stature.”


  1. This was amazing. Especially the three examples about the girls you quoted were admirably encouraging! :)

  2. well done girl...keep it up

  3. you made us proud Unsa :)

  4. Great work Unsa! :)

    But wanting to sound like a bad person but it does have teeny tiny mistakes in it. ^__^

  5. thats just so Sarah-ish comment :P

  6. Realy amazing unsa :) n it will b very helpful for the studentx who gona repeat dz year.... n i wish ZARYAB MIRZA shud read dz article bcz its real suportive :) well Done unsa again :)

    i think i shud also try to encourage those who were unable to get admision in UET dz year....i wudn't call dz their failure but itx not a gud experience i can say :)

  7. Muhammad Dawar AzharDecember 2, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    I would have to repeat too,Well I am not down or something,i got down by english i attempted 10 wrong and let my marks much down.I have not much good command on english grammar rules RELATED TO MCAT,Can you guide me in this, Jazaki Allah Khayran.

  8. Muhammad Dawar AzharDecember 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    And Thanks alot for this much beautiful article May Allah KAreem reward you the best :)

  9. Well.. Yes.. get a good grammar book of a good academy like kips or pgc.. har topic k rules ko achi trha parh k exercises solve krein ziada se ziada.. fsc ki books k chapters b parhein , roz ka aik and try to understand k kon kon sei rules apply ho rahey.. kisi achey sei teacher sei b classes le lein.. n jab relax krne ka mood ho to achey sei novels b parha krein.. for general improvement in english

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  11. Got 903 marks in fsc,scored 881 in mcat..didnt get in last year. Repeated a few subjects got 933 in fsc this 905 in mcat..still didnt get in...
    What next? Its like u are being forced to stop being hopeful

    1. =< Trust Allah.. Fsc ki bjae mcat pe focus krein ziada sei ziada,if you really think u still want to be a doctor.

  12. Asalam o Alikum Unsa!
    thank you so much for such a encouraging article :)
    well i need a bit help from you . i appeared this yr in MCAT but unfortunately could not make a good i"l be improving my chem and biology marks by giving improvement exams..
    but my ultimate problem is BIOLOGY from 9th class my result always gets down cox of bad score in this subj. its not that i don"nt have interest in it or i do"nt try..please help me in this regard since i have this last option to improve my fsc mks..i try to learn things by doing written practice too but in vain :(

  13. hey shumyma! m not unsa, bt i think i can help u..i have improved mcat this year (2013) and alhamdulillah scored 976,, btw i hv also improved bio and english now my fsc score is 957 (formerly it was 901) ok now come to the point,, i always got less marks in biology than that of phy and chem, though my concepts of biology was not weak hmm so in my view,, biology needs more concentration and revision than other science subj. though we consider it easy... And the last days before exams are even more important,, laern the whole book thoroughly and agian,, with lot of concentration..... i did the same and got 78 in bio 1, and 82 in bio 2,, which were previously 66 :( and 72 respectively. whish u all the very best :)

  14. I guess Shumyma you should follow Noor's advice.. :)

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  17. i failed in mcat exam.. please koi mujhe guide kare ke mai interior sindh and punjab mai kin universities mai apply kar sakten ho for mbbs?

  18. Thanks for you sharing this article. I found this article more information of writing. I agree with you correct sentence writing valuable content is very important every writer. Also more helps correct my english sentence


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