When it comes to preparing for the UCAT, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ revision plan. You might hear contradicting advice from different sources when UCAT season is approaching and this can feel overwhelming, but hopefully we can help you feel more informed on how to tackle your own prep for the exam. Remember that whichever approach you choose to follow, you should adapt and personalise your UCAT revision plan to suit your own strengths and weaknesses.
At The Medic Portal, we usually recommend that students give themselves 6-8 weeks of preparation time for the UCAT test. We advise this as it allows for enough time that you won’t feel rushed, and you will be able to split your prep into three clear stages – theory (understanding the test and learning strategies for each section), application (applying your knowledge with practice) and consolidation (doing mocks in timed conditions and working on your weaknesses).
This is also a good amount of time to avoid burnout, which could happen if you start preparing for the UCAT too early.
The short answer is yes! 2 months is an ideal amount of time to prepare for the UCAT. It’s enough time to avoid last-minute cramming, but not so much time that you risk stagnating and burning out during your prep.
If you can plan your revision well, 2 months will enable you to start small with learning about the UCAT and adjusting to the unique format of the test. You can incorporate small amounts of prep into each day and ease into a study schedule, learning strategies for each of the sections and applying these strategies when tackling practice questions.
A period of 2 months will also give you the time and space to review your weaknesses and overcome them by the time you take your exam. In addition to this, you can slowly and steadily work on your UCAT timings over the course of your revision and complete full mocks in timed conditions when your test date is getting closer.
Yes, 1 month is enough time to prepare for the UCAT test – but this will be a bit more intensive than if you had started earlier. We usually recommend preparing for the UCAT in 6-8 weeks.
With 1 month to prepare, you will need to be more disciplined and spend more time on the UCAT each day than if you had given yourself 2 months to prepare. This is do-able, but you’ll need to have a solid plan in place where you can fit everything in. Make sure you have enough time to cover the three key stages of prep (theory, application and consolidation), tackle lots of practice questions and learn from your mistakes.
If you prepare in 1 month without a solid study plan, you could end up cramming and panicking with too much to do at the last minute! If you find that test day is approaching and you really don’t feel ready, remember that you can always reschedule your test – as long as it is at least 24 hours before and your test date isn’t too late in the cycle to do so.
We would not recommend preparing for the UCAT in 2 weeks. It simply isn’t enough time to get to grips with subtest strategies, apply them and consolidate your knowledge. If you only give yourself 2 weeks to prepare for the UCAT, you risk getting a low UCAT score and limiting your chances of getting into UCAT universities.
If you find yourself in a situation where you only have 2 weeks to revise for the UCAT, with no option to reschedule your test for a later date, you will need to work very hard and give it your all. Come up with an intensive study plan and do your best to learn strategies, answer plenty of practice questions and work on your weaknesses within the timeframe you have.
You can only sit the UCAT test once per cycle, so if you do get a disappointing score due to lack of preparation, you won’t be able to sit the test again until next year. You might want to consider taking a gap year and doing more organised UCAT prep for the next cycle.
Another option is to sit the BMAT in October and apply to BMAT universities. You can apply to 4 Medical Schools altogether, so use this opportunity to do some research into how different Medical Schools will use your UCAT score and/or BMAT score – and make sure you apply strategically for your best shot of getting shortlisted for interviews.
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