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How to Structure UCAT Preparation

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With the summer fast-approaching, the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) will be something you will begin to think about if you are considering applying to medical school.

To guide how you structure UCAT preparation, here are a few tips on how to get organised and prepared as you approach the exam.

The UKCAT has been changed to UCAT – but the test will remain the same. Read more about the switch on our UKCAT to UCAT page>>

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1. Understand the format of the test

The first and most important part of your preparation is to get a feel for the test itself. Make sure you understand exactly how long you have on each of the sections and what each of them entails.

This might affect how long you feel you will need to prepare around your other summer plans. Once you have done this, and figured out the best date for your test, make sure you remember to book it!

Read 5 First Steps for UCAT Prep

2. Make a plan

The next step in the process is to make a timetable. Booking your test date and working backwards to figure out how long you have to prepare is key. Try to allocate time slots each day for UCAT around your other commitments.

Depending on how long you have, starting with an hour a day and then increasing the time you spend on it in the couple of hours before is a good idea. It can get a bit tedious, so don’t expect to be able to spend hours each day on it!

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

3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

The best way to prepare for the test and structure UCAT preparation is by attempting questions. Get hold of some resources (past papers or questions) and give them a go! It doesn’t matter how well you are doing at first, so don’t get disheartened if you’re finding it tough.

While you’re doing this, keep a track of your scores and you should be able to see which areas you find more difficult. After each practice session, make sure you reflect on your progress.

Read 4 Things to do Before Booking Your UCAT

4. Focus on the areas you find difficult

It’s important to prioritise the topics you find tough, even if you don’t like tackling these questions. Remember not to neglect other areas too, but just focus on the sections you find most difficult.

If, for example, you haven’t done maths for a while, you might want to focus on your arithmetic skills. For example, you could even try some brain training exercises or basic maths questions to get you back into the swing of things.

Read 5 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips

5. Practise for the exam itself

A crucial part of your preparation is to replicate exam conditions as closely as possible. Doing questions under timed conditions will help you get a feel for the time pressure. This is also a great way to structure UCAT preparation.

To help with timing in the exam itself, it’s a good idea to try using keyboard shortcuts and the on-screen calculator. Also, using strategies such as flagging questions to come back to is good practice for the exam.

Good luck!

Words: Beatrice Lander

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