UCAT is one of the most important parts of your application to study medicine, dentistry or other healthcare professions. It's an important and difficult exam that is the start of your journey into any healthcare field, which raises the question: how should you prepare for it?
How should you prepare for the UCAT?
Firstly, you need to start studying. It's recommended you study at least an hour a day for roughly 6 weeks. This tends to suit students far better than long sessions over shorter periods.
It's important to get well prepared for the exam as it can be sat once per year.
You will know your UCAT results before submitting your UCAS application to ensure you meet the entry requirements.
The better the result, the more choice you have over which school you can go to.
Everyone studies differently, if you're not fully confident in how to approach your study for the exam, these tips can be helpful.
Find Out What's on the Exam
Before you do anything. You need to know exactly what's going to be on the test so that you can make a plan and know what to study and start building strategies.
The exam covers 5 sections you need to understand and try the questions beforehand to make sure you are ready to properly engage with the questions.
The sections on the test are as follows:
- Verbal Reasoning- Asses your ability to read and deduce conclusions from passages.
You have 21 minutes to answer 44 questions in this part.
- Decision Making- Examines your ability to use logic to reach a conclusion or evaluate information and arguments.
You have 31 minutes to cover 29 items in this part.
- Quantitative Reasoning- Checks your ability to use numbers to problem solve.
You have 24 minutes to cover 36 questions in this part.
- Abstract Reasoning- Gauges your ability to identify patterns in abstract shapes.
You have 13 minutes to cover 55 questions in this part.
- Situational Judgement- Measures your capacity to understand and respond to real-world situations.
You have 26 minutes to cover 69 questions.
You should check out the UCAT past papers and questions to understand which questions come up in each category. Once you've understood what's on the exam you'll be well on your way to getting ready for the exam.
Make a Timetable
Now that you understand what's on the exam, it's important to create a timetable, for when you will revise different parts of the exam. Here's a link to an example timetable, you can use it as is or use it as a guide to making your own.
Once you've finished checking the past papers, identify which parts of the paper you struggle with. Find out which questions you struggle the most with and in your timetable prioritise those sections in your study.
Get Ready for Study
It's time to find the best ways for you to study. People use multiple different methods to study and you have a lot of methods to choose from.
The UCAT site provides excellent resources to get you set up and ready for the exam. They offer PowerPoints and PDFs to get you ready for the exam, including past papers and questions.
If you're a visual learner there are YouTube channels that cover past questions and help with exam techniques.
If you learn better by reading, there is a plethora of books to choose from on amazon and in your local bookstore.
UCAT Live Courses:
If you prefer learning in a live environment and want to learn from your home, LessonWise online courses might be an ideal resource for you.
Interacting with a tutor and getting personalised answers to questions can save a lot of time in your study, getting you ready to achieve your best results.
Set Your Goal
Now that you've started studying, it's important to set your goals for your results. The UCAT results are a scale score and each section of the exam is a subtest, however, the situational judgement test is a band, graded from level 1 to 4. Your situational judgement result can be considered separately from your cognitive results.
A good result changes from year to year, last year's scoring in the top 20% would require a score of above 2,730, however, this varies from year to year depending on the candidates.
It takes a lot of preparation, understanding of technique and practice to get into the top percentiles of results.