How Long To Prepare For UCAT And Score High In Exams

Filed in Article, Education by on February 15, 2020 0 Comments

Preparing for UCAT can feel overwhelming, especially if you are in your final year of high school. How can you fit in preparation for such an important and difficult test into your already busy schedule? Do not despair! In this article, you will be given detailed information about it.

How Can I Prepare For UCAT?

Effective preparation for UCAT can be summarised in four key steps:

U – Understand C – Create A – Asses T – Train = UCAT

U – Understand

To succeed in UCAT, you will need to Understand the following:

  • How important UCAT is and how it is used in the selection
  • How the UCAT computer Platform works and how to use it strategically to maximise your UCAT score
  • Important details relating to each UCAT subtest, including structure, timing, format, and types of question
  • Effective UCAT strategies and skills for answering each type of question in each subtest.

C – Create

Every student is different, and some strategies that work very effectively for one student may not work for another. Therefore, you will need to Create:

  • A UCAT study plan that takes into account your other academic and non-academic commitments
  • A bank of strategies that work for you when approaching each type of question and UCAT overall.

A – Assess

It is important to prepare for UCAT efficiently so that your UCAT preparation does not detract from your school study. The most time-efficient way to prepare for UCAT is to Assess:

  • How you are performing overall in UCAT
  • How you are performing in each of the five UCAT subtests, and in each UCAT question type
  • What your strengths and weaknesses are.

T – Train

UCAT is like a marathon, and it requires training. As well as acquiring and practicing the UCAT strategies required to solve each question, it is also vital that you develop concentration, focus, and stamina in order to succeed. The best way to do this is via full-length UCAT practice exams, completed under simulated conditions.

The most important way to simulate UCAT is to ensure you complete each UCAT practice exam under strict time conditions, with no breaks. It is also vital that you work with a computer platform that exactly replicates the live UCAT. Don’t make the mistake of working with outdated or (even worse), paper-based UCAT questions!

How Many Hours Should I Spend On UCAT Study?

A common question that students ask is ‘how long should I spend on UCAT study?’

The amount of time you spend on UCAT preparation depends on your specific circumstances and extent of your desire to pursue medicine or dentistry. In general, MedEntry recommends setting aside about 10% of your study time for UCAT preparation. For example, if you study for about 25 hours per week, about 2.5 hours should be allocated for UCAT preparation.

However, it is not the number of hours that is important when it comes to UCAT preparation. It is what you do and how you do it that is important.

To prepare for UCAT in the most effective way, you should:

  • Develop a bank of UCAT strategies that are effective for you by working through MedEntry’s comprehensive guided curriculum
  • Prioritise completion of full length UCAT Practice exams, completed under simulated conditions (particularly adhering to the time limits)
  • Thoroughly review your UCAT exams, performance feedback and each question, and reflect on what you can do to improve in your performance next time
  • Discuss difficult questions with a UCAT study group.

How Can I Balance UCAT Study With Other Commitments?

The best way to balance your UCAT study with other academic and non-academic commitments is to create a UCAT study plan. Schedule a little bit of UCAT study on a regular basis, for example once or twice per week.

An example study plan for one month could be:

You do not need to do UCAT practice every day, but regular practice over a period of time will help you develop the skills you need to succeed.

What Are The Common UCAT Preparation Pitfalls I Should Avoid?

‘Saving’ Up UCAT Practice Exams

This is the commonest mistake made by students. Remember that each UCAT practice exam takes 2 ½ hours to complete, and several hours to review. Many students ‘save up’ their exams, either because they feel they are ‘not ready’ or fear they will run out of exams. However, full-length UCAT exams are the best way to prepare.

Not Completing UCAT Practice Exams Under Timed Conditions

This is a common pitfall. Many students are used to being able to complete school exams comfortably within the time limits. They feel extremely uncomfortable with the prospect of not being able to complete all UCAT questions. But the reality is, almost no one is able to answer every question in the live UCAT. It is therefore important to strictly adhere to timed conditions when completing UCAT practice exams, so you develop important skills required to succeed, such as strategic guessing.

Not Thoroughly Reviewing UCAT Questions

Practice makes perfect, right? Well, yes, but only in part. The best way to improve is not simply to complete UCAT question after question after question, but also to thoroughly review and reflect on your attempts. What went right? What went wrong? How can you improve your performance next time, or avoid making the same error? Reviewing and reflecting is a very important part of the UCAT preparation process.

Not Working On Their Weakest UCAT Subtests

It is tempting to work on your strengths, it is harder to work on your weaknesses. However, working on your weakest areas is by far the most effective and efficient way to prepare for UCAT. Early in your preparation, identify which UCAT subtests and types of questions you find most difficult, and work on them.

Choosing The Wrong UCAT Preparation Provider

Choosing the right UCAT preparation provider is one of the most important decisions you will make if you wish to study medicine. Unfortunately, there are many UCAT providers which provide outdated questions, harmful advice, misleading information or promise a lot and deliver very little. It is vital that you choose a provider with a track record of success, run by leading doctors and academics, and with hundreds of five-star reviews.

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