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Five Top UKCAT Mistakes

In the last blog, we gave you some tips on what to do in the UKCAT. Now, it’s important that you know what NOT to do, and what to avoid, in order to help boost your score. So, here are the most common UKCAT mistakes.

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UKCAT Mistakes – Tip 1: Don’t forget to use the laminated booklet

Every candidate gets a laminated booklet and permanent marker pen for the exam. This can be used for jotting key facts, calculations or drawing diagrams in decision making.

These booklets are invaluable. You are likely to use the booklet most in quantitative reasoning. But, importantly, don’t over-use these booklets. It’s important to know WHEN to use them, but it’s equally essential that a lot of your calculations are done mentally to boost your speed.

If you are running out of space, ask for a new booklet sooner rather than later. It’s better to be prepared than have to wait for a new one when pushed for time.

UKCAT Mistakes – Tip 2: Don’t leave an answer blank

There is no negative marking in the UKCAT. As such you should NEVER leave an answer blank. In 2015, 25% of candidates didn’t answer all of the quantitative reasoning questions. Leaving a question blank guarantees you 0 marks. If you’re about to run out of time, with only seconds left, make sure you quickly scroll through and make an (educated) guess on the remaining questions to try to pick up those valuable extra points.

UKCAT Mistakes – Tip 3: Don’t panic

This is one of the most common UKCAT mistakes. You see a question, its taking too long and you don’t know the answer. You think: ‘OK, I think I should skip this one and come back to it’. The next one is the same: ‘taking too long, let’s skip’. You start getting nervous: ‘are all the questions this hard?’ The answer is always going to be no. Don’t let nerves set in because you find some questions difficult. This will only impair you when you get to those questions that you CAN answer. Panic will increase the time to answer any question, and, in the worst case, make you forget all the techniques you’ve learnt. Keep calm and rational. Don’t let your nerves get the better of you.

UKCAT Mistakes – Tip 4: Don’t fall for the common tricks

There is a whole repertoire of tricks that the UKCAT examiner might use to trip you up.

For example, in verbal reasoning, make sure you know the difference between a cause and a consequence – this is one of the common UKCAT mistakes. Many sentences may look like they allude to a consequence, but may in fact be a cause, and vice versa.

Another trick you might stumble over is used in abstract reasoning. Some sets of shapes resemble familiar objects, and because they look familiar to you, you might attribute meaning to them. But in abstract reasoning, you must only assess physical properties. As such, it’s easy to get confused!

UKCAT Mistakes – Tip 5: If you’re unwell – don’t go!

The UKCAT website makes it clear. ‘In presenting yourself for testing, you are declaring yourself fit’. You only get one sitting per year, so it’s got to count. If you’re not feeling well – don’t go! You may be able to reschedule for free, but worst case you lose your registration fee. Once you register and start the test, you can’t stop. Even if you leave as you’re sick, that sitting will count as your score for that year. So if you’re not up for taking the test – reschedule!

The UKCAT is different to the exams you’re used to. But with regular practice, and understanding what to do and not to do, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success, and ultimately of a place at medical school.

Good luck!

Uploaded by Abs on 20 July, 2016

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