Success Guide: How To Prepare For UCAT Exams Without Stress

Before you planned of writing UCAT Exams you need to be fully prepared for it. But, the problem now is that you don’t really know the procedures to take in preparing for the examination so that you will have better scores when the result is out.

Preparing for exams, be it UCAT or anyone, you need to have a study guide which will give you a sound knowledge about your exams. Do you know that what will make you believe that you prepared well for the exams will be your result? So, if you failed the exams that means you were really not prepared for it. And, this is when the word ‘Reading and Studying’ comes to play.

There is a greater difference between reading for examination and studying for an examination. When you read for an exam that means you are just going through your books like reading a novel or journals online but when studying for exams you will make every preparation and go through some syllabus and also past questions to make you prepared properly.

In this article, you will be given detailed information about UCAT and how to prepare for UCAT Exams successfully.

What Is UCAT?

UCAT stands for University Clinical Aptitude Test. UCAT is one of three major criteria used by most universities in the United Kingdom when selecting students into high demand health-related careers such as medicine and dentistry (the other two criteria being performance in final secondary school exams and interviews).

The UCAT is a two hour, the computer-based test which assesses a range of mental abilities identified by universities as important to practice in the fields of medicine and dentistry. It consists of five separately timed subtests which each contain a number of questions in a multiple-choice format.

Why UCAT?

Because the demand for medicine, dentistry and some other health science courses is so significant, the secondary school performance required to get into such courses became extremely high. Universities, therefore, needed another method for selecting students into medicine.

UCAT was developed with the goal to assess qualities considered desirable in the health professions, including problem-solving, empathy, and abstract reasoning skills. Many universities also use an interview to select students in medicine and dentistry.

Whether or not you agree that UCAT effectively assesses qualities required to be a successful medical student and doctor, the reality is that you must sit UCAT to gain entry into many medicine and dentistry courses in the United Kingdom.

How To Prepare For UCAT Exams

UCAT is the single most important and difficult test that most students will face in their medical careers. However, with the right preparation and approach, it is possible to excel in UCAT.

1. Plan Your Preparation

It is vital that students plan their preparation to make the most of the UCAT resources provided. To ensure that the resources are used effectively and efficiently, it is important to plan. Space out your practice exams regularly. Also, schedule working through the guides and practicing on questions from the five subtests.

It is been recommends to treat UCAT as another subject and allocating your time accordingly – if you are in year 12 you should spend about 10% of your study time on UCAT, and consider increasing this as the UCAT draws closer.

2. Familiarise Yourself With UCAT-Style Questions

The first step in preparing for UCAT is to understand the types of questions that you will face. UCAT is not a test of knowledge, it is a test of your generic skills. Therefore, the questions in UCAT will be very different from anything you have been exposed to at school and university.

UCAT is composed of questions drawn from five subtests:

  • Verbal Reasoning: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a written form.
  • Decision Making: Assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgments using complex information.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form.
  • Abstract Reasoning: Assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from the information.
  • Situational Judgment: Measures the capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.

3. Learn Strategies For Tackling Each Type Of Question

Each type of question requires a certain approach, and there are strategies you can learn to help you answer challenging questions quickly and accurately. There are also many generic test-taking skills that will significantly improve your performance in UCAT.

4. Attempt Full Length Practice Exams Under Simulated Conditions

Sitting full-length practice exams under simulated conditions is the most effective preparation for UCAT. Doing so will familiarise you with the extreme time pressures that you will face, as well as allowing you to practice concentrating for two hours (something we very rarely do!). It is also important to practice using the computer-based platform that will be used when you sit at UCAT.

Full-length exams will also expose you to the various types of questions that you will face in UCAT, and reviewing the solutions will help you understand where you went wrong.

The UCAT Consortium provides three practice exams.

5. Identify Your Weaknesses And Work On Them

Once you have completed a few full-length trial exams, you will start to understand your weaknesses. Identify which type of question you find most difficult, and if possible, which subtype of question you find difficult.

You should then work on your weaknesses by learning further strategies (by reading the guides and reviewing solutions in depth) and attempting as many practice questions of this type as possible.

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