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hey guys!

i know that despite the inactivity of this community compared to before, there are still quite a few of you every year who stumble across this website in search of some sort of guidance in relation to applying to medical/dental school in pakistan. there isn't a whole lot of specialised help for overseas students taking the mdcat (we make up a very small % of seats) & a lot of the admissions procedure for overseas applicants has changed drastically compared to when this website was first made so i thought i would post this in hopes that it'll help even one of you prepare for the exam. i hope this will especially help those of you who are repeaters and even if you're a local student, some of this advice could still help you out.

this post will be really long so i'll mark different sections in different colours.

i just want to make one thing very clear before i even begin talking about the actual exam: as i am writing this (february 21 2023) the MDCAT (MEDICAL DENTAL COLLEGE ADMISSIONS TEST) IS MANDATORY FOR ALL MEDICAL & DENTAL APPLICANTS IN PAKISTAN REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE A LOCAL OR OVERSEAS STUDENT. the SAT exams can no longer be taken by overseas applicants in place of the MDCAT in order to apply to medical/dental schools in Pakistan nor is this rule changing any time soon. you may know that certain private medical schools choose to conduct their own admissions tests but in addition to these tests, you must pass the mdcat in order to be considered for a seat. you have to have to have to pass the mdcat 2023 to be considered for medical or dental school in pakistan this year.

2021 (fail)
how much time i had: 2 months
did i register for an academy? yes (kips online session)
what books did i use? sindh, federal, punjab & kips textbooks in addition to material from my own foreign high school/secondary school
what went wrong?
i. wasted. so. much. time. i had more time to prepare in my first attempt (that i failed) than my second attempt (that i passed). the problem was that i didn't use my time efficiently the first time. for every single chapter i did, i would watch 1-2 hour long academy lectures & take notes (extensive note-taking only distracted me from the actual content of the lectures & i never ended up using the notes i made because i didn't even understand them), then i would try to study each and every textbook (4-5 books) in detail for that one chapter. you can imagine how time consuming all of this was & because of this, i never had a chance to practise any mcqs or full length papers or revise (which is so important for this exam). did i finish the syllabus on time? no, of course not, i barely made a dent in it.
2- i didn't actually want to do medicine at the time & i was only giving the exam because of family pressure so i was nowhere near driven enough to even pass the exam because i didn't even know if it was what i wanted. this lead to me procrastinating a lot & avoiding my studies. i think i also avoided studying a lot because of how inefficient and long my study process was for each topic..
3- i spent way too much time trying to understand physics (my weakest subject) even though 2 months is not a whole lot of time to understand a whole new subject and prepare for this exam. this lead to me neglecting biology + chemistry (my best subjects) which cost me in the exam.
4- i didn't sleep the night of the exam because i was so stressed about not studying biology and chemistry enough that i spent the whole night before the exam doing mcqs and cursing myself for not doing anything sooner which made exam day so much tougher than it had to be (you can't do your best in mdcat half asleep let me warn you)
5- (this is more relevant to muslims but please read anyway) i only prayed when it was results day. i never turned to Allah (swt) even once for help while studying nor did i have any tawakkul that what i wanted would actually happen. if you have no faith in God or yourself that what you're setting out to achieve will happen, it really won't.
6- i (again) wasted way too much time planning on studying and researching "the best ways to study" instead of actually getting down to it. i also got way too invested into searching all the ways to apply to medical school after passing the mdcat rather than actually making sure i passed the mdcat. don't fall into this trap, your start doing anything but studying. i knew the whole list of things i wanted for my nonexistent hostel room (like this cute fridge) off by heart but i didn't know one symptom let alone any list of symptoms for any of the diseases we had to study in biology.

i'm sure you're noticing that in relation to this exam, time is very important- not even the amount of time you have left until the exam, but how you use that time to prepare yourself for the exam. this is even more prominent in my second attempt below.

2022 (pass!)
how much time i had: 3.5 weeks (i wasn't planning on repeating, it was a very last minute decision)
did i register for an academy? no no no
what books did i use? only the federal textbooks and lots of mcq practise books (i'll list these below but any will do)
what did i do right this time?
1- i
decided that 3.5 weeks was enough time. if i had gotten into a slump about how close the exam was or the fact that i failed last year with double the time to prepare, i would've never been able to pass this exam. i decided that i was going to use the little time i had left to the best of my ability. in the first few days, i only studied about 2-4 hours a day but by the time the exam came around, my daily average was 9-10 hours daily (with breaks obviously). regardless of how much time you have, start now.
2- IT WAS MY DECISION THIS TIME. i wanted to do the exam. i wanted to become a doctor. my mum actually didn't even want me to sit the exam the second time around because of how upset i was when i failed the previous year but i was so determined to prove myself that i did it anyway and even let go of the opportunity to study a bachelor's in english (one of my favourite subjects at school) in london because it didn't feel right. 9-10 hours of studying in one day didn't even feel very difficult because of how set i was on passing the exam & getting into medical school. i also want to point out that i was excited about moving to pakistan. i've been visiting kashmir every year since i was born. it's always been a second home to me, so the prospect of moving to pakistan or kashmir was something i was looking forward to a lot. to anyone who's doing the mdcat this year or any parents who have kids doing the mdcat this year: please, please, please MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD WANTS TO BE A DOCTOR/DENTIST AND WANTS TO LIVE IN PAKISTAN/KASHMIR FOR 4-5 YEARS. please do not torture yourself over something you do not want or even if you want to be a doctor, do not waste your precious life by living somewhere you do not feel comfortable or happy all for the sake of a mbbs/bds degree unless it's something you truly cannot imagine yourself without. pakistan/kashmir can be amazing & beautiful places to live & an exciting adventure if you're open minded and are willing to give them a chance but make sure it feels right.
3- for every chapter, before opening the book or studying anything, i would attempt lots of relevant mcqs & keep repeating them until i got all of them right. this helped as i was already familiar with certain terminology within the chapters before i even opened the book and i knew which topics within each chapter was most important by the amount of times certain mcqs repeated in the mcq banks. you also start noticing how they reword or slightly tweak the same questions over & over again. when i would attempt the same mcqs again after studying the chapter, all the gaps in my knowledge were filled so i could now look at the same questions with more clarity. this method boosted my confidence a lot as it forced me to face mcqs head on, reduced my fear of answering questions & then on the day of the actual exam, the exam paper just looked like every other set of mcqs i had practised at home so it boosted my confidence. i was already used to the language they used in the questions and now knew & understood exactly what they expected me to know.
4- i used only the federal board textbooks which made studying a lot simpler & easier. using multiple books the first time made everything way harder than it had to be. i will mention though that if i had more time i would've studied from both the federal & punjab board textbooks for biology & chemistry. this time, i just made sure to understand everything i read to the extent that i could teach it to a child or someone that knew nothing about science. this ensured that i truly understood all of the content & had a strong foundation/understanding of the basics so the conceptual questions of the mdcat didn't throw me off.
5- i wrote myself questions for each chapter, either on a piece of paper or on quizlet flashcards. i attempted them daily until i didn't get any wrong. i would recommend this method if you have a lot of time, i ended up abandoning the question writing by the last week just for the sake of time but it still helped a lot for the chapters i did apply it to. i basically turned every line in the book into a question so i could apply the content i knew in terms of answering questions rather than memorising statements that i wouldn't know how to use anywhere in the exam, ex. if the book said "the cell wall is present only in plants, fungi and bacteria" i would write q. "in which organisms is the cell wall present?" a. "plants, fungi, bacteria" & practise answering that question regularly until i never got it wrong.
6- aside from mcqs, to further crack down on testing myself and putting myself in exam conditions that force you to think & actively use your brain (which is very important for an exam like the mdcat) i tried my hardest to do as many flps (full length papers) as i could. definitely do these in exact exam conditions (set time & no open textbooks) to get yourself used to the time constraints & relying solely on your brain for the answer. don't be scared of this, i know it makes you feel a little panicked in the beginning because you feel like you know nothing but remember, getting things wrong is actually a good thing as it'll highlight what topics you need to go over again so you'll be prepared for the actual exam. i'll list my flp resources below.
7- I REVISED. after finishing a chapter once, i made sure to revise it regularly so that i wouldn't forget anything i spent so much time understanding. a basic guideline is reviewing/testing yourself on a topic after an hour, a day, 3 days and then a week (spaced repetition- search it on google, it's very effective) but you can change this to whatever timelines work for you.
8- i didn't study physics. okay this sounds crazy but just hear me out. i had around 3 weeks to pass this exam full of two years of content. in normal circumstances i would never recommend skipping any section of the exam as every mark matters. ironically, i would even recommend tackling your hardest subject first in order to get it out of the way and get max time to revise it all before the mdcat. but i had to study according to my time constraints and the sad reality was me trying to understand physics alone would've probably eaten up the majority of my time. only scoring well in physics would definitely not pass me the whole entire mdcat exam so i skipped out on studying physics in order to perfect my better subjects biology and chemistry (i got around 7 questions wrong between them if i'm remembering correctly). i definitely wouldn't recommend skipping out on biology but if you're really, really stuck for time (even if you have just about a month left you should definitely still try to study all the sections if possible, this advice is more for if there's less than a month left until the exam) & you're particularly worse at one subject (i barely got enough marks in physics in secondary school to even apply for medicine) then you need to cut your losses (whichever one of chemistry or physics you're really bad at) and focus on where you can maximise your marks in a short amount of time.
9- even though i didn't finish revising chemistry, i slept the night before the exam. you've heard this countless times but giving your brain rest & taking care of yourself will have a positive impact on your exam performance. those 8 hours of sleep probably helped me far more than 8 hours of cramming chemistry would have- i probably would have been too sleepy during the exam to even apply the knowledge anywhere. make sure you eat right, sleep around a set time everyday for at least 7-8 hours (regardless of how much studying you have left to do) & drink a lot of water throughout your study days.
10- i had faith, tawakkul & prayed regularly both before and after the exam. tawakkul means that you have trust in Allah (swt). you need to believe that this will happen for you & you need to actually trust that Allah (swt) will grant you what you have been working so hard for. never underestimate the power of dua. i actually even learned some new duas during the time i prepared for my second mdcat which gave me a lot of peace & strength to continue. here is one said to grant any wish you have: "Allahhumma Inni As'aluka Bi Anni Asshadu Annaka Antallah, La Ilaha Illa Anta Al-Ahadus-Samadu, Alladhi Lam Yalid Wa Lam Yulad, Wa Lam Yakun Lahu Kufuwan Ahad"i also recommend waking up for tahajjud. it's any 2-13 rakats prayed between the last third of the night & fajr, i used to wake up 30 minutes before fajr to pray tahajjud as it's said that anything you ask for at tahajjud is guaranteed to be yours. i promise it really does make such a huge difference & during that time of the morning, it's so quiet & peaceful that it calms you down despite the mdcat putting you in such a stressful position. make sure to make dua that whatever is best for you happens rather than the exact outcome you want, as you never know what's really going to make you happiest!
11- i didn't browse the internet much or use social media. don't get me wrong, i took regular breaks & i even played pubg throughout my time preparing for the mdcat but i definitely avoided the internet in general. you have to avoid getting sucked up into what everybody else will be saying online: how stressed they are about the exam, how "impossible" they think it is or how much they "know" they'll fail because "there isn't enough time". you don't need to stress just because everybody else is stressing out + all of your favourite things to do online will be right there once your exam is over, they aren't running away anywhere so don't let these opportunities to feel some temporary happiness take advantage of your impulse and make you lose sight of the bigger picture. the massive wave of contentment you will feel after you get into medical school will top any momentary happy distraction a tiktok will give you. there will also be a lot of rumours spreading closer to the exam day about delay the mdcat or cancelling it all together + lots of fake paper leaks- you need to block out all of that noise and prepare for the exam as if it's on the official day that has been announced by the pmc. make sure you only follow official notifications issued by the pmc/pmdc. don't even listen to what certain government officials are saying, only follow official notifications by the pmc/pmdc.

please know that during both of my attempts i avoided rote learning like the plague. don't bother memorising, making pretty notes or just highlighting a bunch of words in the book, that's all passive studying & once again, a waste of your time. there is no point in you rewriting what it says in the textbook in front of you in pretty colours. testing yourself is the best way to study as you're actively challenging yourself and using your brain more. you're skipping the unnecessary middle step of transferring what's in the textbook onto a piece of paper & instead, direct all the information from the book straight to your brain (which is what you will be relying on in the exam anyway). ironically, you'd probably use less time on each chapter by actively studying them on the spot rather than going through the whole planning every detail of the day, making pretty notes that make you switch between like 11 different pens and memorising for hours and hours way. here is ali abdaal's video about active vs passive studying.

the pakistan medical & dental council is in charge of overseeing the mdcat/medical admissions and deciding/releasing the mdcat syllabus every year. here is their official website. you may see pmdc being referred to as pmc (pakistan medical council) in some places, but don't worry about that because they're both the same thing with different names. the mdcat syllabus for 2023 has not yet been released but here is a link to the mdcat syllabus for 2022 (which is very similar to the syllabus for 2021). as you can see, the mdcat 2022 had the following sections (this will probably be followed closely for mdcat 2023 but i'll update this post as soon as the new syllabus is released if i remember to):

biology (68 questions)
chemisty (54 questions)
physics (54 questions)
english (18 questions)
logical reasoning (6 questions)

in regards to books, it's a little hard to take guidance from previous years as the mdcat rules & structure seems to change every year. it used to be held provincially, as in each province of pakistan (balochistan, khyber pakhtunkhwa, punjab (who also conducted the exam for azad kashmir + islamabad) & sindh had their own mdcat syllabus and their own separate mdcat exams on different dates. back then, choosing your textbooks was straight forward enough: you used whatever textbook board was local to your test centre's province.

the mdcat was then made into a national exam in 2020 which meant that every province of pakistan had the same mdcat syllabus and same paper on the same day but many students noticed that the questions on the paper seemed to be easiest for those using the punjab & federal (islamabad) textbooks.

you're lucky in that i was unlucky enough to have to do the mdcat twice, so i can now tell you that in 2021 the pmc made a giant computerised question bank using a single nation-wide syllabus (with a lot of the questions favouring the punjab/federal textbooks according to students) & each student had a unique randomly generated exam from that question bank on a digital tablet on the day of their exam. in 2022, punjab & federal board students seemed to be on the safer side of things again during a paper-based mdcat exam- this time we had one single syllabus for the whole country but every province had a different paper according to that one single syllabus.

that was all probably really confusing to read, but my point is that if you're starting your mdcat prep right now (february 2023) or right after your high school/secondary school exams (july 2023), study BOTH the federal & punjab textbooks for biology & chemistry books and then the punjab textbook for physics. you do not need to use your overseas/a-levels books for this exam (in fact i would advise against using them at all). this might not make sense as science is science regardless of the examination board or textbook, which is true, but unfairly sometimes the mdcat asks about specific scientific examples that are seen in certain textbooks (usually punjab/federal as you can see) rather than general scientific questions a person with any textbook can answer. if you are short on time, i would stick to any one of federal or punjab for chemistry & use both for biology. if you're super stretched for time, i would use any one of federal or punjab for all of the subjects depending on what the structure of the mdcat is this year & whichever you find easiest to study. [i will try to update this post once the structure of the mdcat 2023 has been released & give my advice about which of the two boards you should stick to in case some of you find yourselves short on time but once again, if you have a lot of time, i highly recommend going through biology & chemistry once with federal and then once with punjab]. i personally only used the federal board books for chemistry & biology and the punjab board books for physics because i was so short on time. you can either buy the textbooks physically from any bookstore or find pdfs:

federal biology 1st yr | federal biology 2nd yr
federal chemistry 1st yr | federal chemistry 2nd yr
(i didn't link the federal physics books because i didn't like them & used the punjab ones)

punjab biology 1st yr / alt version | punjab biology 2nd yr / alt version
punjab chemistry 1st yr | punjab chemistry 2nd yr
punjab physics 1st yr | punjab physics 2nd yr

note: i'm aware that the syllabus lists certain chapters and then certain topics within the chapters to focus on but honestly, they always end up giving questions outside of the listed topics so if you have time, study the full chapters they mention & all of the topics in them (some people go as far as studying the whole book with all the chapters that aren't even listed, but this is unnecessary in my opinion). if you're stretched on time then sticking to the exact topics is fine (that's what i did).

don't register for an academy. i know, shocking, everyone tells you to apply to kips online session or go to stars academy down the road or move into torcia hostels & i'm sure they've been helpful to some people but in my experience they're way too overpriced & just eat up your time. they throw way too much information from outside of the syllabus at you to learn just so you're extra, extra prepared but in my case (as someone coming from outside of the pakistani education system) it just created confusion. in my case, my comprehension of chapters was shallow when i relied on just academy lectures versus having to dedicate a lot of time & effort into getting through a chapter on my own. academy teachers even tell you that you cannot ignore the textbook just because you are watching lectures, you still have to refer to the textbook so why not cut the middle man out all together? it definitely takes you longer to fully get through a chapter if you completely self study it but the struggle itself really aids in securing the information in your head once you are finally done. of course you should aim for the highest score possible & use as many resources as you can to get there but you do not need to waste your study time watching hour long lectures that just word-for-word repeat everything in the textbook in my opinion. i also found that the english was a little difficult to follow at times and sometimes they would randomly change the teacher and his style would be so much more different than the last guy you just got used to which would just throw you off. perhaps teachers & lectures make you feel secure but you need to be self-assured and confident in your own self study.

logical reasoning
don't make the mistake of ignoring logical reasoning, these 6 questions could be the reason you get into medical/dental school later. the key to logical reasoning is to dedicate a set method to use for each question type which are as follows: critical thinking, letter and symbol series, logical deduction, logical problems, course of action & cause & effect. honestly, the questions themselves aren't too difficult (at least they haven't been so far as it's quite a new section). i just did a bunch of practise questions daily using the methods outlined in the practise books (and got full marks):

1. kips logical reasoning practise book
dogar smart brain national mdcat 2022 book
3. meco publications latest iq series-logical reasoning mcqs for nmdcat 21-22 (this one had a lot of questions that were the exact same as the ones in the kips book so i would go for just the kips book)

if you have a lot of time, i would definitely recommend finding any mdcat vocabulary list online or from an academy (i used the english vocab from the kips english book) & learning a few words daily but aside from that, i only ever remember using the kips english practise book to practise questions (also if you don't want to buy the full kips set i'm pretty sure you can go into any kips academy and buy individual books or find pdfs online- you do not have to spend money on your mdcat prep). i don't think the english section is too difficult for overseas applicants so don't stress about it, you could probably get full marks without studying for it but practise is good to avoid stupid mistakes.

  • attempt a bunch of mcqs until you get them all right before and after studying a chapter.
  • when you find mcqs that are out of the syllabus in either the official past papers or official practise papers, make sure to go over that topic so you'll be prepared for next time. don't let it throw you off, ultimately the amount of out of syllabus questions on your actual paper will be minute but it's always good to be prepared. if you notice a certain out of syllabus mcq being repeated a lot, just remember what the answer is & it'll probably come in handy if they decide to be extra mean when making the question paper for this year's mdcat.
  • when reading a chapter, make sure you understand everything enough to teach it to somebody else or a teddy bear. if you're struggling to understand, watch a youtube video about it or buy a lecture about that specific topic on neerpeer (who let you pay for a single lecture instead of a big long course that you don't need, i never personally used this but i have heard that it is helpful). you could also read about the topic on this website that i found really helpful.
  • do not rote learn.
  • i know biology's content is quite easy but this section is merit-defining & they ask questions in great detail so you cannot neglect or underestimate the time you put towards studying this subject.
  • do not take notes. there is no point in you rewriting what is already in the book in front of you. you just need to make the information in the book go into your brain using whatever active study method is easiest for you.
  • use a retrospective revision timetable.
  • sometimes i used to read the chapter, close the book and write as much as i could remember about it to see what i found difficult to remember/what i need to improve on. you could do this in neat writing/nice pens if you find it difficult to let go of note-making completely. at least this way you'd also be testing yourself & learning the information better.
  • quizlet (some people prefer an app called anki) for making flashcards + self-testing using quizlet's learn mode.
  • converting every piece of info in the textbook into a question. as i mentioned earlier, you can write out the chapter as a bunch of questions on a piece of paper or a microsoft word document and solve them everyday. you can highlight the ones you get right in green, the ones you half know in orange & the ones you get fully wrong in red. repeat this process daily until all of the questions are green. i'll link ali abdaal's video fully explaining this method here.
  • make sure you are learning every sentence/word on the page, even the ones in examples/on diagrams & pictures. don't ignore a single box, introduction or label. learn specific values too. they'll ask about anything (even where certain scientists are from despite it being irrelevant to the actual science of the chapter)
  • i used mnemonics to remember certain facts ex. alkaline earth metals on the period table = Be Mg Ca Sr = that boy messed up my car's stuff (+ make sure you know which numerical values & other info you absolutely have to memorise for the exam eg the first however many elements of the periodic table & their values)
  • attempt flps on a regular basis in order to review what topics you need to revise again & also make sure your scores gradually increase. if your marks aren't slowly increasing with every paper, you're probably doing something wrong and need to change something about your study methods or exam technique (having an exam technique is important, more on this later)
RESOURCES (favourites in bold) i will try to update this list with more & more resources as i come across them
1. pmc paid tests topic wise & chapter wise pdf (bom) - these are all organised topic by topic which is super helpful. this pdf was probably my most useful resource for mcqs & the mdcat as a whole, a lot of questions on my 2022 paper came from this practise question bank that the pmc uploaded for the 2021 mdcat. a lot of the questions on the 2021 mdcat papers were also derived from this same question bank. if the pmc uploads 2023 practise tests (which i will try to link if i remember to), definitely purchase them or find their pdfs online as these will be most similar to the actual test questions. there are a lot of other mcq & flp pdfs you can download from this link too.
2. kips biology, chemistry & physics practise books - relevant & challenging mcqs, i 100% recommend purchasing the practise books or finding their pdfs online! (there might be new versions coming out for 2023)
3. dogar smart brain national mdcat 2022 book - again it has a lot of relevant mcqs for you to solve with explanations for each answer, a lot of mdcat students love this book (there will probably be a new version for 2023)

4. redspot a levels mcq books - these mcqs are a lot more challenging than what you'll be facing on the exam but for that reason a lot of people tend to recommend solving them so the actual mdcat will seem a lot easier
5. meco publications pmc/uhs mdcat past papers unit wise 2008-2020 - helpful to do past paper mcqs topic by topic according to whatever chapter you're currently studying. you could always find a pdf online for free that organises the past papers unit wise for you, buying a physical book isn't necessary but it's helpful
6. meco publications my question bank 2021-22 - this book was alright but i'd only recommend buying it if you've finished all the other mcqs & you still have a lot of time left.
7. - i know of a girl who said solving some of these mcqs daily for sciences & english helped her do really well on the exam (she said a lot of the questions on her exam were actually similar to the ones here)
8. anees hussain practise mcq books - i've heard that these mcqs are really helpful to solve, i've never tried them personally but there's no harm in trying them out for the sake of practise.
9. uhs mdcat unit wise past paper mcqs - this is a really good resource for topic wise mcqs. (i prefer the uhs/islamabad entrance test past paper questions for practise as they're the most helpful for prep in my opinion)
10. etea mdcat unit wise past paper mcqs - i would definitely solve these mcqs if i had the time just because they're official past paper mcqs (but again i would prioritise uhs/islamabad material)

you definitely don't need to do all of these mcqs, just make sure that you're constantly doing mcq practise throughout the duration of your studies.

fmdc entry test past papers / fmdc 2012 past paper - these papers were actually quite challenging so don't get worried if you struggle a little.
2. meco publications mdcat past papers 2008-2020 - you don't have to buy this exact book, just find any set of the mdcat past papers made by the university of health sciences, lahore as they'll be the most helpful in your practise.
3. pmc paid practisetests pdf - these are the full practise tests that the pmc released for the 2021 mdcat. there's a total of 30. this is a really useful resource, again- most of the questions on the actual mdcat will resemble the questions here!
4. nums past papers with keys - the nums (national university of medical sciences) test is another entrance test for certain medical schools in pakistan. the papers are easier than the mdcat ones but they're really good practise so i would definitely solve these.
5. pmc paid practise tests pdfs -
these are the practise tests that the pmc released before the 2022 mdcat. there are a total of 5 of them. please solve these, any questions/tests directly released by the pmc/pmdc are some of the most important resources you have!
uhs mdcat paper 2022 - this was the best version of the paper i could find. it was arguably the most difficult paper out of the 5 papers set that year. this paper had a mix of content from the punjab & federal board textbooks.
7. szabmu mdcat paper 2022 -
this was unfortunately the only proper version of the paper i could find online. this was my exact paper & it was arguably the easiest paper out of the 5 that year. this paper was made purely from federal board textbooks but anybody who studied from punjab board textbooks could've easily solved it.
8. duhs mdcat paper 2022 - the pdf quality is terrible but this was the mdcat paper given in sindh test centres.
etea mdcat paper 2022 - this was the mdcat 2022 paper for kpk test centres.
10. etea mdcat past papers 2005-2019 - i never personally solved these but they're a good resource for official past papers.
11. sindh mdcat past papers (2010-2022) - i never personally solved these but they're a good resource for official past papers.
12. if you can & want to, find the bumhs mdcat 2022 paper (it was the mdcat 2022 paper for balochistan test centres, t's the only paper from that year i couldn't find online but it's honestly not too important to look over)

i would also recommend downloading/buying practise tests from academies like kips & stars for practise if you have the time, but i would prioritise doing past paper & official practise paper questions first. as you can see, mcq & flp practise should be your #1 priority while studying for the mdcat, not reading your book over and over again.

it's not uncommon for a lot of the answer keys in these pdfs to be wrong so don't stress if you're 100% sure about an answer & it's wrong. keep your book with you when correcting your mcqs so you can double check to see if you were really wrong or if there's an error in the key. even looking through the a book for the answer to a question has been said to solidify your learning.

for finding more mcqs, flps & any textbooks/practise books online (you honestly can find most things online & don't necessarily have to spend any money on your mdcat prep at all)

forest app - this app does cost money but it was so helpful in terms of my motivation to keep going, making sure i wasn't using my phone & tracking how many hours i was studying. studying is more about the quality of your study rather than the amount of hours (it's better to study really well for two hours rather than lazy about your desk for 10 hours) but it's always nice to see all your hard work add up at the end of the day (+ cute trees!) - explains topics really well when you're struggling to understand
quizlet - great for making flashcards, using the learn mode was really helpful when learning large bulks of material. i might try upload some quizlet decks for mdcat very soon.
anki - you have to pay for this on your phone but for desktop it's free, i personally didn't like this flashcard app as much because it's kind of hard to use but a lot of medical students use it & love it.
notion - used this to organise myself & list out what topics i wanted to finish by the end of each day.
ali abdaal - he's a really great youtuber who taught me a lot about how to study efficiently, you should definitely watch his videos to understand why certain study techniques work better than others. i have linked his study tips playlist & would honestly recommend watching the majority of the videos in it before starting.

if you were a local student, i would tell you to aim for 200/200. the local merit list is crazy, people miss seats by 0.02%. the overseas merit is very different compared to that. it's definitely competitive now more than ever with more & more dual nationals around the world considering pakistan for medical & dental studies. scholarship schemes for dual nationals such as ptap are also becoming harder & harder to get into. despite all of the competition, ever since the mdcat was made mandatory for overseas applicants, our entrance test scores have been a lot lower in comparison to those on the local merit lists, so our aggregates & cut off scores are also considerably lower. this is because the mdcat proves to be a lot more difficult for people coming from outside of the pakistani education system. there are many opportunities for overseas applicants to get seats in medical/dental colleges in pakistan (i'll talk about this in a future post) so you could just barely pass the mdcat & still very much have a chance to get into a government college (of your choice even) depending on your matric & fsc equivalence marks. if your marks are a little on the lower side, you can always get into a private medical college (which does cost more than government colleges) on overseas/foreign merit as long as you pass the mdcat & meet all the other requirements set by the pmc. just aim to give it your all in the time you have & try to improve your test paper scores as much as you can before the big day. don't be too disheartened if you don't reach a certain score in practise before the official mdcat, you could surprise yourself on exam day.

1- you have to stay calm. you have to act like this is the easiest thing ever & it is so doable & you have it all under control. if you start psyching yourself out or beating yourself up before you even give the exam, you're robbing yourself of your chance. you cannot go into the exam thinking that you will fail & be shocked when you don't perform as well as you wanted to. stop stressing about problems you do not have yet & believe in yourself!~ whatever is meant for you will be yours no matter what. don't stop yourself from trying.
2- if something you are trying doesn't work for you & you're noticing that it's not making you feel confident for the exam or helping you improve, change it. don't keep repeating the same mistake twice, be it something you're doing while attempting past papers or a new study method you've taken up. it's okay to change techniques even in the last week of studying (i did this in 2022 when i found a better way to tackle certain topics). it'll definitely make you feel like you wasted a bunch of time doing that other thing you did before but you don't realise how much information your brain has truly absorbed even when you were using that less helpful technique until you go into the exam. remember: newly discovered techniques that help you study better than whatever you were doing before just make the learning process easier for you, it does not invalidate the study you have already done & it is okay to let go of that older method if it's no longer serving a purpose for you, even if it works for everybody else.
3- do not be a perfectionist. don't trick yourself into thinking you need to read every book that exists, buy every academic course available and solve every mcq on the planet in order to score well on this exam. all you need is confidence, determination, some practise questions and a single set of textbooks that suits you. don't expect yourself to study from the moment you wake up to the moment you sleep or study while you eat or shower or whatnot. you'll only make yourself feel worse for not meeting those unrealistic expectations despite the fact that you're already working so hard. you are allowed to feel happy & at peace during your mdcat preparation, it does not have to be a war in your head all of the time. of course you should work hard & understand how important this exam is, but acknowledge when you are working hard ENOUGH instead of pushing yourself constantly to the point of burn out.
4- stop daydreaming. stop rushing ahead and researching colleges when you haven't even passed the exam. stop wasting your time thinking about everything you'll do during university or what you need to buy or imagining the blessed day you'll open your 200/200 result card. aren't you tired of living in your head? make your imagination and your dreams your reality. you are allowed to achieve big things even if you haven't before & you most definitely have the potential to do so even if you never realised it until now. who you are now is not who you always have to be & where you are right now is not where you have to be stuck forever.
5- you need to have an exam technique. get there early (a lot of students literally don't even get there on time & miss their exam) & find the entrance to make sure you actually enter the building before they close the gates (some students missed the exam because they didn't keep an eye on the gates & the test centre closed before they could make it inside). i personally did the sections in order of what i found easiest & only answered the mcqs i was 100% sure about. then i went over the whole paper again answering the questions i skipped that i was almost sure about but not completely after thinking over them carefully. i repeated this again for questions i had a general idea about but was not completely sure about and again for questions i had to wild guess until i had an answer for every question on the paper. you cannot change your answer once you have marked the answer bubble. so many people also make a mistake marking one bubble which ruins their entire paper so practise your bubble filling skills before the exam day & be careful. timing is honestly not a huge issue in the mdcat so think hard before you finalise your answer for each question.
6- the last thing that i really want you to know is that i was/am not an extraordinarily academic person. up until i was about 15/16, i was pretty good at school & got good grades without thinking about it much. unfortunately, due to a lot of circumstances & my own foolishness at the time, my grades plummeted majorly by the time i got to the final two years of secondary school/high school and i was severely underperforming to the extent that i wasn't even passing some classes (i'm looking at you, maths). i decided that i no longer cared about school, my life & with that, my future. the pandemic hit in my final year of secondary school & as you can imagine, my predicted grades weren't the best so i even had to repeat my final exams after originally graduating in 2020 just to qualify for medicine (actually i'm still surprised i even passed maths in the first place). who i am now is very different to who i was back then. i went from someone who never got into trouble & effortlessly got good grades but wasn't very empathetic or knowledgable about the world to someone who started bunking class & skipping exams and hated everything she knew about the universe & the people in it to someone who learned & grew from her past experiences, started to understand & connect both of those versions of herself & became someone new. during my first attempt of the mdcat, i was still shaking off the effects of what happened to me in secondary school. i was transitioning, albeit slowly, from being someone who didn't care about anything at all to someone who wanted to be someone again. i'm almost glad i didn't get into medical school the first time because by the time i gave the exam again in 2022, i had grown & changed & found myself again- a new, better version of myself. a version of me ready to face the world, meet new people, see new things & go on adventures without feeling out of place or insecure. i wasn't ready for any of that in 2021. you can't feel confident when you have nothing to be confident about. when you aren't working towards what you want in life, you can't truly feel secure because you have nothing to stand for. i was not/am not a perfect student or person, for that matter. maybe this seems irrelevant to a lot of you, but i know some of you find comfort in knowing that not every person that passes entrance exams & gets into college or achieves any sort of goals they have is some super organised, mega-talented model student who has always had a spotless track record & has always known exactly what to do in life. i'm saying this because i also used to think that only certain special kinds of people got special things & had special lives. i don't know about you, but i'm no academic prodigy and i'm certainly not above anybody else in any way. i just worked hard for something i (very last minute) decided i wanted & didn't let myself give up. if i could do it, there's no way you can't do it too. i know some people who (in my opinion) probably deserved a place in medical/dental school more than me judging by their academic records but they weren't able to let go of their rote learning habits for a conceptual exam like the mdcat or they didn't believe in themselves enough despite being so smart & capable. your study techniques & your mindset matter. you need to believe in yourself, your duas & your determination. you need to know that what is written for you will be yours forever & always. if something goes wrong, it's actually going exactly the way it was supposed to. what you think to be the best outcome is a lot of the times a lot less than what you deserve, so please do find contentment in the thought that whatever happens is genuinely for the best & all you need to do is take advantage of these opportunities life presents to you & work your absolute hardest so at least you can say that you tried & don't regret anything later. if your situation is very unique or difficult & you've never seen anybody get out of a mess quite like yours, you can be the first to show that it's possible. stop looking for success stories that match your exact position in life so you can validate what you're trying to achieve in life. you can be the first one to show that it is possible to go from wherever you are now to some place better.

(this was all very long & all over the place but i hope it helped some of you ++ sorry for any mistakes ++ please feel free to message me if you need any help!)
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