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14th June 2024
Get ready to debunk the ten biggest UCAT myths, providing clarity and actionable insights to help you navigate the test with confidence. Whether it’s misunderstanding the scoring system or underestimating the importance of certain sections, we’re here to set the record straight and guide you towards effective preparation strategies.

1. You Need Academic Knowledge to Ace the UCAT

Unlike A Level exams, the UCAT isn’t testing your academic knowledge. It focuses on assessing your logical thinking and cognition through a variety of question types that cover verbal reasoning, decision making, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, and situational judgement.

So, whilst being well-read and numerically proficient can help, this exam is more focused on your problem-solving and decision-making skills, which can help you to ace this exam! 

2. Only Medics Need to Take the UCAT

It’s a myth that the UCAT is only for entry into medicine! Dental school and some vet school applicants in the UK and Australia will also need to take the UCAT. These fields all require similar skill sets and aptitudes, which the UCAT aims to measure.

As mentioned, the UCAT tests problem-solving and logical thinking which medics, dentists and vets will need to possess. 

3. You Can Cram for the UCAT 

If only cramming worked for the UCAT! This exam is unlike any other exam that you have taken. The UCAT is more aligned with thinking on your feet and less with memorising facts. It tests certain skills that can only be developed over time.

You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the types of questions asked in the UCAT, practice under timed conditions, and build up your accuracy and speed. Sitting and preparing for the UCAT is much more like a marathon than a sprint! 

4. The More You Study, the Better You Will Score

Preparing for the UCAT can be a tiring and enduring process. Burnout can be very common when students end up studying for months on end. Quality studying over quantity! Effective practice here will involve analysing and understanding your mistakes, focusing on your weaker topics, and aiming to improve your accuracy and speed.

It is important to take regular breaks and to take a step back to review your practice every so often. 

5. You Should Be Able to Answer Every Question

The UCAT is a timed test, and sometimes it’s better to skip a question than to get stressed out and waste valuable time. Each question is worth the same number of points, so if you are stuck, move on to the next to prioritise your time well.

Remember that there is also no negative marking in the UCAT exam, so never leave an answer blank! When in doubt, make an educated guess and move on to the questions that you are able to answer.

6. Practice Tests Aren’t Important

Some may believe that practice tests aren’t that important or helpful, but they couldn’t be more wrong! Practice tests are essential for many reasons: firstly, they can help you get used to the time pressure. The UCAT exam has very limited time for each section, so getting used to practising under pressure can help.

Secondly, it is important to get used to the format of the test. Practising mock tests can help you navigate the exam page, using the calculator and shortcuts too!

Regularly taking full-length practice tests can significantly improve your performance by helping you manage your time better and build stamina for the actual test day.

You can take our free practice test here. 

7. It is Impossible to Improve Your Score

Another common myth is that your UCAT score is set in stone after your first practice test or mock. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Many will see significant improvements in their scores with focused practice and a better understanding of the test format.

It is important to focus on your weaker sections, adapt your practice methods, and use high-quality resources. Persistence and practice can lead to impressive score gains. Some may also opt to get UCAT tutoring to gain more focused revision! 

8. UCAT Scores Determine Your Admission

While a high UCAT score can help strengthen your application to university, it’s not the only portion of the application that the admissions team will consider. Your personal statement, academic achievements, interviews, work experience and extra-curricular components all play an important role in your application.

Focus on being a well-rounded applicant who not only excels in the UCAT but also demonstrates a passion and motivation for the field alongside strong interpersonal skills.

9. It is Impossible to Prepare for the Situational Judgement Test

Some students think that the Situational Judgement section is impossible to prepare for because it is a more opinion and situation-based test.

However, you can greatly improve your skills and performance in this section by reading up on common ethical dilemmas and understanding the principles behind medical ethics and various ethical scenarios.

It may also help to review guidelines from medical and dental councils. Finally, practising as many situational judgments or ethical scenarios could help you develop a better framework for answering the more difficult questions.

10. You Have to Score 700 or Above

One of the biggest misconceptions is that universities have a cut-off score of 700 (2800). However, this is not true! Your raw score in the UCAT may not mean as much as the deciles are dependent on the whole cohort taking the UCAT in that year. So do not be disheartened if you do not achieve the score you aimed for!

Check each university’s website to gauge their cut-offs and what deciles they will expect students to be in. Also, have a look at our site for common deciles and cutoff scores.

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