Some ghosts are friendly you know. This one is a friend to some and a foe to most. But you can’t blame the ghost of MCAT for haunting people, because it’s actually quite a handsome ghost; people make it scary for themselves. If you tell a kid that there’s a creepy ghost upstairs, and you keep telling him that for months and months, or for years, then he’ll make up a ghost even if there isn’t one. And if the kid was to go upstairs someday, he would be scared of literally everything, even his own shadow. Students are told the stories of MCAT failures as if they were the brightest students to ever have lived, yet the ghost of MCAT got them. And they are told the stories of the students who passed MCAT, as if they were superhuman. The result is that they lose all self-confidence, and start seeing the ghost of MCAT, as if it were the ghost of the Grudge series.


Also read: “Fear of Failure”


But it’s not all superficial you know. The ghost of MCAT is actually very scary for some people, even if they’re not influenced by the demotivational speakers. However even in this case, you can’t blame the poor old ghost. In this case, the problem is deep inside the student’s brain.



It all started long ago, when he was just a kid, and used to cry when sent to school. When he would get homework, he would come home, and would find the lesson hard to understand. The “why” and the “how” was disturbing. He couldn’t move forward without answering those questions, he couldn’t learn the lesson, without fully understanding what he was learning. But he had no one to ask, and his teacher was no good either. So his grades fell, and his parents were cross.


His mother decided to teach her child herself. Now, she would make him learn the lesson, whether he understood it or not, because after all, she was no teacher. The child got used to it, learning, without understanding what it was that he was learning. This is where we shall use a different term for what he used to do. This is where we replace the term ‘learning’ with ‘cramming’. He grew up, and since cramming would get him good grades, in all external effects, he found nothing wrong with his methodology, and especially in the educational system that he was in, cramming was quite normal. He entered matriculation, and was told: “the way to score in matric, is to cram the wording of the book. Concepts are a good thing, you can have them if you like, and we’ll try to give them to you, but if you don’t get them, then ignore them, because they don’t matter that much.” That was reinforcement for him, and his methodology that he had developed through years of practice found stronger ground. Then he entered F.Sc. and suddenly, he noticed a change. There was a stronger emphasis on something strange, something he hadn’t heard much of through his educational career to that point, something called ‘concept’. Now, he was told:

“You can pass F.Sc. without much concept, but after F.Sc, you’re going to have to pass MCAT, with distinction, and that requires some pretty solid concepts. Did you not hear of Huzaifa? He topped in his matric, and got 1000+ in his F.Sc, but he got miserably humiliating marks in MCAT. Why? He used to cram everything, without clearing his concepts. And did you not hear of…”



And the examples continued. Now, he was scared. He tried to acquire concepts, and he got something, but it was way too cloudy. How could he, suddenly, shift from cramming to pure concepts, in such little time, when it took him a decade to nurture his cramming technique? He was stuck! And every time, they gave him the example of a Muneeb, of a Waqar, of an Ahmed, who failed MCAT due to lack of concepts and excess of cramming, his heart would sink deeper with every instance.



And then came the ghost of MCAT, and he was pale in its face. But if you were to see the ghost from your view, you would not see it to be that scary, yet he did. He couldn’t help it, and even though the test was easy, even though he could’ve scored close to 1000 with the hard work that he had done, he failed miserably, because he was told that just because Huzaifa failed, just because Muneeb failed, just because Waqar failed, and just because Ahmed failed, so would he, because he was no different, no better. But who knows? Maybe Huzaifa, and the others failed, because they were given similar examples? Alas! It was too late, and he walked out of the hall as if he had lost the battle of his life, tearing his copy of the bubble sheet in despair, and cursing himself for having crammed all his life.


Also read: “The Warrior”


But it is to be asked, what could he have done to prevent what happened? Was there anything that he could have done?


Yes, there was. And let me say it out and clear, for anyone who is scared of the ghost of MCAT: “it’s a game of nerves.” The ghost is a mirror. It reflects what you have on your face. If you walk upstairs with fear, he will be just as scary as you thought he would be. But if you walk up there, hard as a rock, confident as if you’re his father, and you look the ghost in the eye, and you say to his face, “Nah! You’re not that scary. Though I wish you were, for I would’ve liked this to have been harder.” You will see, that the ghost of MCAT will bow before you, kneel down, and will surrender. Then, you will have total command on what happens in that room, and then you will walk out, victorious!


P.S. The name of MCAT has been changed to MDCAT. It sounds deadlier that way.

Written by: Muhammad Rohan Hussain

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