As you know, we love talking about the unconventional concepts; those ideas that other MCAT prep companies never address.
We know that these are also essential pieces of the puzzle that will lead to your MCAT success, that must not be ignored.
In this article, we want to talk to you about the beliefs of top MCAT scorers.
Part 1: How To Break Detrimental MCAT Beliefs Through Logic
First we'll begin with understanding what a belief is:
A belief is an acceptance that something is true or exists.
When your mind accepts your opinion about yourself and your test taking ability, it 'believes it', and thinks that it is a hard fact.
It's like we forget that opinions are malleable, they're subjective, and never hard facts.
When you carry a negative belief about yourself, your mind automatically wants to prove itself right. It's looking for confirmation everywhere to the point that your mind influences your actions and your way of thinking (subconsciously) to prove itself right.
Now imagine you have beliefs like...
"I'm not good at standardized tests."
"The MCAT is too hard for me."
"No matter how hard I study, I can't get my score to improve."
"I can never finish the exam on time."
"I'm not smart enough to score over 510 on the MCAT."
Any of these sound familiar? These are just a few examples. There are so many more.
We're here to open your eyes and show you that these negative beliefs you have about yourself have the potential to literally prevent you from achieving your med-school dreams.
Over the years, we can't tell you how many times we've heard students outwardly say these exact phrases to us, literally expressing (and further embedding into their mind) their limiting and negative beliefs about their MCAT or standardized test taking abilities.
We always try to call them out on it.
Now you might be thinking that these beliefs are formed for a reason - you experienced a situation and the effect was the creation of this belief. For example, you don't usually do well on tests so you now believe that 'I'm not good at test-taking'.
Fine, this belief might be the result of a real life experience, but why does it have to be such a 'hard fact'?
So many of these beliefs can be broken with some logic. For example, "I'm not good at test-taking", when looked at logically and broken down by thinking something like...
"I know I haven't always had the best performance on tests, but that's no different than not having a great performance doing anything else. If you screw up a dance performance for example, you just learn from your mistakes and do it better next time. In the same way, test-taking is a skill, and if it's a skill, that means I can improve it and learn to do it better.
I know I'm good at learning. I've been learning things all my life. I know how to improve and get better at different skills, and if I don't know, I can always see how other people improve and learn from their mistakes.
So it's not really that I'm not good at test-taking, it's just that I haven't taken the time to improve my test taking skills, and I can change that. If I can change that, I can actually become good at test-taking and this skill will also serve me for the rest of my med-school life! Okay, I can do this. I have what it takes to be a good test-taker."
Notice how you can use logic to completely demolish an old negative belief, and get yourself feeling better? What if you spoke to yourself like that?
You started with where you are ("I'm not a good test-taker/I know I haven't always had the best performance on tests") and went on a 'logic journey' ending up in a much better place ("I can do this. I have what it takes to be a good test-taker.").
You need to go on the logic journey for all the beliefs that are holding your score down. Once you have done this, then the second step is to solidify the new more positive belief in your mind, so it replaces the old one. We'll talk more about that later but first, let's give you another example so you can really understand how to do this...
Sometimes you need to be a little aggressive, bring out your confidence and get arrogant. For example, a belief like "the MCAT is too hard for me", can be logically broken down like this...
"It's true that right now I feel like the MCAT is hard. But I can bet that there were so many 90+ percentile scorers who also found the MCAT hard.
I've made it all the way here, to the point where the MCAT is the only thing standing in between me and med-school. I'm in the same position as everyone else, which means I'm just as qualified to beat this test, as any top scorer was.
I'm just as smart as anyone else. Plus, the MCAT isn't even a test of 'smartness', I just need to think in a certain way to do well and that just takes practice.
Which means I probably just need to practice a lot and make sure I'm practicing in the right way and I know if I can do that, and get the hang of it, then the MCAT won't feel as hard. It'll feel much easier.
I can get to the point where the MCAT is easy for me. In fact, it's already feeling a bit easier because I know what steps I need to take. I can do this."
Do you see how going on a 'logic rampage' like this has the power to break down your negative beliefs?
You need to take some time out to identify your negative beliefs so you can logically break them down. Close your eyes for a few minutes and ask yourself...
"What do I believe about myself when it comes to the MCAT?"
"What do I keep thinking about test-taking and the MCAT that's holding me back and weighing me down?"
"What fearful thoughts do I have about the MCAT?"
When you ask questions like this, the "problem thoughts and beliefs" will reveal themselves. Then, you acknowledge them. Don't judge them. Don't dismiss them. Notice how in the beginning of every logic journey, we first acknowledge the negative belief. Go back and check if you didn't notice.
After your acknowledge them, start thinking logically. One of the best things you can do is ask yourself if this belief is true for every single MCAT writer. The answer will usually be no, then you can wonder why it has to be true for you, and you can start from there.
A lot of these beliefs are irrational and we can poke holes in them just by thinking about how irrational and ignorant they are.
Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right. - Henry Ford
Part 2: How To Form New Score-Improving MCAT Beliefs
It begins with a single thought. Let's say one day you didn't get a good score on a test. In that moment, you might think "what happened here? This was just too hard for me, or maybe I'm not good at taking these kind of tests."
Right there - you've planted the seed. Let's say you get just one more disappointing score to push you over the edge, and the belief just got stronger (because the mind is looking for confirmation to implant the belief).
Then, you can't stop thinking about the disappointing score you got, and your brain is in 'problem-solving mode' like always. Your brain is thinking 'why did this happen? What's the cause?' and of course, you go back to the original negative opinions you created (I'm not good at test-taking/these tests are always too hard for me"), and then you keep repeating those opinions to yourself.
Every time you repeat those opinions to yourself, they become more and more grounded, and eventually they become rock-hard beliefs that keep proving themselves true in all aspects of your life.
Here's a key point to remember...
A belief is just a thought you keep thinking and repeating over and over again.
Knowing this, the answer is simple. All you have to do is replace the original negative thought, with a positive one, and then keep repeating the positive one over and over.
So a belief like...
"The MCAT is too hard for me."
Can be replaced with....
"I have what it takes to beat the MCAT."
Notice how we didn't say go straight to "The MCAT is easy for me." If you say that to yourself, you won't believe it. It's too far of a thought from the original belief, for your mind to accept.
You'll almost laugh at yourself because you'll feel like you're just lying to yourself. It's important to not feel like your new thought is a lie.
If a train is going extremely fast on the tracks and you want it to go the opposite way, you can't do an immediate 180 degree turn. That would be disastrous! You have to turn slowly.
In the same way, you can't flip a belief immediately. You need a logical transition. Which is why you have to do the logic exercise on your belief, through which you'll lead yourself to a new belief that feels just a little more positive then the one you already have.
Maybe the belief that 'The MCAT is too hard for me', can transform into, 'The MCAT can become a little easier for me than it is right now.' There's no denying that, right? Your mind can believe that, right? So you pick that up because it's a little more positive. That's how you turn a train, little by little.
Then you continue the process and find another thought that's just a little bit more positive than that one...
And you keep going until you reach the most positive one you can think of and are feeling incredibly confident.
This doesn't have to all happen in a day. It can happen gradually. Just keep moving through your days, finding and choosing better feeling thoughts.
Then, make sure you keep repeating those 'good feeling', thoughts over and over to yourself throughout the day, so that they can transform them into beliefs.
Write them down everywhere so you remember to repeat them over and over.
Now since the mind will want to implant these new beliefs, guess how much more efficient you're going to be in being creative, strategic, or in picking up ideas, solutions, opportunities, insights, and anything else that will help you make that new belief true for yourself?
It's remarkable how powerful the mind is and top scorers take advantage of this. Do you think a top scorer says to themselves that "no matter how hard I study, I can't get my score to improve."? We've never heard it. They always think thoughts that are in their favor.
One of the most common top scorer beliefs is...
"The MCAT is a challenge I can overcome."
That could be a great replacement for the common limiting belief that "the MCAT is hard".
Sometimes MCAT success is just a mindset shift away. With the top scorer strategies we send you and the many more we have for you here, we know that as you're using them, your mindset and perspective will shift into that of a top scorer. Which is the same thing as saying you'll be ready for med-school.
Once you see how powerful 'belief transformation' is for the MCAT, it is our hope that you apply this same concept to every other part of your life that you want to improve.
We've said it before...
The MCAT is an opportunity for you to become a better version of yourself. Take advantage of it now because if you are wise enough to study like a 510+ scorer, this will be the last time you'll go through this experience.
We're rooting for you.
You got this,
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors
Go into the MCAT expecting to win 😉 - The MCAT Mastery Team