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3rd June 2021
UCAT registration is now open – but you’ve got a couple of weeks before you can book your test date. UCL Med Student Katie Hodgkinson lists the top four things you’ll need to consider before booking your UCAT test – from working out your other deadlines and summer plans to looking at revision materials early.

Work Out Your Other Deadlines And Commitments

You can sit the 2021 UCAT between July and September, giving you a pretty big window to choose your preferred date. The first thing you need to do is think about what else you have coming up this summer. For example, if you know when you go back to sixth form and become busy with coursework and other projects, consider doing your UCAT in the summer holidays so you’re not worrying about combining it with school.

On the other hand, if you’re the sort of person that spends all of their summer holidays out with friends and aren’t willing to give up the small amount of sunshine we may have, perhaps consider doing your UCAT once you’ve gone back to school.

If you know you have a family holiday in July, don’t plan to do your UCAT a few days after you get home – you won’t want to be revising on holiday and you won’t want it hanging over your head either!

The Medic Portal suggests you spend between 40 and 70 hours preparing for the UCAT – so you should also factor this into your planning.

And don’t forget about your application plans, too. If you’re uncertain of what sort of UCAT score you’ll get, doing your UCAT earlier rather than later may be better to give you enough time to plan how to apply strategically – because not getting a high score will limit which UCAT unis you can apply to.

Familiarise Yourself With The Style Of Questions

It’s important that you take a look at practice UCAT questions as soon as you can. That’s because you need to spend some time doing a few questions before you can accurately gauge how long it’ll take you to get comfortable with the test.

Some sections will contain questions that are entirely new to you, so whilst the actual skills might be right up your alley, the wording or choices might throw you, and being aware of this before you even start revising allows you to allocate your time properly.

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Pick Your Date

There are many benefits to sitting the UCAT early:

  • You may be able to rearrange the test if you need to postpone
  • You will get your score after you sit the test, so you’ll have plenty of time to choose the best Med Schools to apply to
  • It’s less competitive to book an earlier date

However, you may prefer to choose a later UCAT date because:

  • You’ll get more time for UCAT prep
  • You might want to wait for your A-Level results before you decide to take the UCAT and pursue Medicine

Some people prefer to sit the test in the middle of the season, as it offers the most balance between prep and leisure time.

Make sure you come to a decision early, so you can make sure you get the test date you want and don’t have to try and re-focus your plan if the dates get fully booked.

Make A Plan For Your UCAT Revision

Make sure you know how to prepare for the UCAT. Your plan should be broken into three stages:

  1. Learn theory and strategies. You should expect to spend around 10 or more hours at the start of your revision on this. The best way to learn is with UCAT Courses.
  2. Apply the theory with practice. This is when you can spend anything between 25 and 50 hours simply practising UCAT questions. Make sure you’ve got access to a UCAT Question Bank, and consider getting a UCAT Tutor if you keep hitting the same problems.
  3. Consolidate to time with mocks. This will take around 10 hours and is an important step to build your confidence and get you test-ready.
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