5 Things You Need to Know Before Beginning UCAT Prep

5 Things to Know Before Beginning UKCAT preparation

It can be difficult to know where to start with UCAT prep, so here’s a handy guide on how to start – and what you need to know before you begin.

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1. The purpose of each section

If you already know a little about how the UCAT is structured you’ll know that there’s four cognitive sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Decision Making; and then a Situational Judgement section.

Before you start your UCAT prep for each section properly it’s important that you make sure you familiarise yourself with what which skills that particular section is designed to test.

As you’re preparing you’ll then be able to bear this mind and work to ensure you’re developing the necessary skills. Read more about each section here:

Read 4 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Sitting UCAT>>

2. It’s supposed to be incredibly time-pressured

Before you try your first mock UCAT test, or you try practising questions under timed conditions; it’s important to be aware of the fact that it is virtually impossible to properly work out the answer to every single question.

For some questions you’ll have just a mere number of seconds to read a whole passage of text and the select an answer – the timing is incredibly difficult to stick to!

Telling yourself this before you actually sit down to try a test is important as then you won’t have the expectation that it’ll be like a standard test which you finish about half an hour early and have time to check over.

Read our tips on how to manage your UCAT timing>>

3. It’s a guessing game

Linking to the above point, you can’t meticulously work out the answer for every single question – there simply isn’t the time! As you do your practice you’re going to be wanting to refine your technique and find quicker ways to take those half-educated guesses.

Don’t read though explanations of answers with the intention of being able to understand the ins and outs of each and every question; instead work on becoming faster at ruthlessly eliminating options and then selecting an answer. Try to pick up those time-saving techniques as you go along!

Try some free UCAT questions>>

4. Practice does help!

Don’t let the word “aptitude” fool you into thinking that you can’t prepare for the test. The more practice you do, the greater number of questions you’re able to whizz through and the better your score will be.

Remind yourself of this before you start preparation. You may not be able to notice this improvement yourself, but come test day, it will pay off. So, try to have a positive outlook and a growth mindset – you can get better at the UCAT!

Read 5 First Steps for UCAT Prep>>

5. Your test date

Make sure you book your test before you start UCAT prep so you can use it to count down to the big day. You’ll also be able to plan your preparing more effectively if you know how much time you have to work with.

Preparing without a test date in mind isn’t a good idea as you’ll have no real motivation to do all the practice that’s required. I booked my test quite late (something you shouldn’t do, book yours now!) and I only starting preparing after it had been booked, as that’s when it became a reality.

Read When Should I Book My UCAT Test?>>

Masumah is a 1st year medical student at the University of Manchester. She writes a blog documenting her experience through medical school and also giving tips to aspiring medics:

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