Wondering how you can make the most of your UCAT preparation? Here, one student details the four key things they wish they’d known before sitting the exam to help you in your preparation…
1. It’s important to practice online
There is a range of online sources that replicate the exact format and style of questions that you will face in the real assessment (The Medic Portal’s free UCAT Question Bank being one of them)!
Practising questions on a computer and under timed conditions is a much better way of preparing for the UCAT compared to using question books.
You familiarise yourself with the navigation between sets as well as the format and layout of the questions so nothing will faze you on the day of your UCAT. I would have preferred to use the vast range of online material over physical question books.
2. The time limit for Verbal Reasoning makes it the most difficult section
During my UCAT preparation, I was primarily concerned about identifying the patterns in Abstract Reasoning and assumed that this would be the most difficult section in the test.
However, after completing the exam, I realised it was the Verbal Reasoning section that was the most challenging. I was pressed for time and found myself having to re-read sections of the passage when selecting answers.
It is important you learn to scan the passage quickly to look for key information – and make sure you practice Verbal Reasoning questions under timed conditions.
3. Using the guess and flag function will help you
The level of difficulty varies question to question within each section. It is important you realise this and factor it into your approach to questions. For example, some questions in the Quantitative Reasoning section will require more time and various steps to arrive at the answer.
Some candidates will spend extra time on these questions at the cost of being unable to answer much simpler questions further down the line.
Remember all questions are worth the same mark so if you identify a question that is multi-step, it is better to guesstimate and flag it up and then return to it if you have time. The same principle applies to other sections too.
4. It’s important to practice with the calculator and material available to you
Practice using the on-screen calculator with the keyboard. You are given a whiteboard and marker pen. Utilise these items in your preparation as it is important to imitate the online exam environment.
For the Verbal Reasoning section, scribble down important dates if any, as these are commonly questioned. Jot down important numbers in Quantitative Reasoning or any working out.
You may have to draw diagrams for Decision Making. The on-screen calculator is easy to use but the more practice you have had using a keyboard to input numbers, the faster you will be.
Every second is valuable!
Words: Hassan Ahmed
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