29th June 2023
You’ll feel a lot more comfortable sitting the UCAT if you arrive at the test centre knowing what to expect. Here’s some insight from Jordan, a medical student at Barts, into everything that happens on UCAT test day.

Preparing for UCAT test day

By the day before your test, hopefully you should have several weeks of solid UCAT preparation and revision under your belt.

My main advice at this point would definitely be: don’t try to cram any new material! Chances are you probably won’t retain the information anyway, and it will only make you feel stressed and distract you from more productive things.

Spend the day looking over any last-minutes notes you want to, try to relax, and make sure you turn in early for the big day tomorrow!

Arriving at the test centre

The venue for your UCAT test will vary depending on where you live – so make sure you know where you need to go.

It’s vital to familiarise yourself with the location of your test centre and how to get there beforehand. Work out how long the journey will take and try to set off with plenty of time, in case there are any travel delays. The last thing you want is the added stress of a road closure or a train cancellation on test day! You’re expected to be there at least 15 minutes before your appointment.

Once you arrive at the test centre, make your way to the front desk, where someone will show you where to leave your belongings and lead you to your station. Pack light, because all you really need is your appointment details (confirmation email) and personal ID. It can also be helpful to have a drink, a snack and possibly something to keep your mind active during the journey.


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Sitting the UCAT test

So you’re at your station, waiting for the UCAT to begin… First and foremost, relax and focus on doing your best in the test! Jot down any key reminders on the whiteboard if necessary, and trust that all of your hard work and preparation up to this point will pay off during the next two hours.

From recalling my own experience of sitting the UCAT test, I felt less pressure than when I was doing practice questions at home – possibly because being in the official exam environment jolts your brain into a state of enhanced productivity and efficiency. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, focus on keeping your breathing steady and have some visualisation strategies in mind where you ace the UCAT for a burst of motivation!

I actually ended up performing better in the real UCAT than I did during my practice, and I put this down to question triage. If you genuinely can’t work out a question within a minute of reading it, make an educated guess, move on and address it again if you have time at the end. Always keep an eye on the timer as this is a great way of keeping you grounded.

After the UCAT test

When you’ve completed the test, you can expect to receive your UCAT score straight away on a printout as you leave. Hopefully you will have good reason to celebrate your score, which has come as a direct result of all your hard work.

Try not to get too worried about comparing your score with others. The test is done and you need to think about the next stage in your Medical School application. When you get a chance, check your score against the entry requirements of your chosen Medical Schools. Adjust your choices if necessary, but hopefully your UCAT score is a good fit for your dream university!

Your next steps are to have some well-deserved relaxation time, celebrate that you have crossed the first hurdle in your journey to becoming a Doctor, and make sure you are refreshed as possible for tackling your UCAS application in the next few months.


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