Balancing the UCAT and Hobbies
6 months ago by Rob
Why Hobbies are Important
With the UCAT around the corner, as well as school assignments and exams, it can be quite a stressful time for students. Many students will spend hours practising UCAT- style questions and completing UCAT practise exams, as well as devoting a large amount of time to UCAT preparation. However, this does not mean your hobbies and interests should be forgotten.
After a long day of lessons, it can be quite daunting to sit at a desk and prepare for UCAT for the night. Sometimes, motivation to ascertain a place in university to study Medicine can flicker as the late nights become endless. Therefore, it is even more vital to keep up with your hobbies, albeit not as strenuously.
What sort of hobbies should I engage in?
For some, physical exercise helps to clear the mind and improves cognition. Competitive sports such as rugby, basketball or even rowing are great stress relievers and help to keep you focused. However, you don’t have to join a club or start a new sport to feel the benefits. A fifteen-minute run in the proximity of your house, or even sprinting up and down the stairs can help to boost your mood.
Your hobby doesn't need to include exercise, so long as it is something you are passionate about and will help to recharge your batteries, while leaving you refreshed for your next slot of UCAT study. Reading a book, or listening to music, can help you to temporarily switch-off from the high-pressured UCAT mindset, as well as provide you with a well-deserved break. Painting a picture can be extremely therapeutic and help you to relax your mind.
Can hobbies help with UCAT prep?
Yes they can! Books can help you to develop a sense of empathy, while assessing what characters would do in certain situations, helping with UCAT Situational Judgement. Cheerful music can help you to develop the correct mindset for the UCAT exam. Even sudokus or word-searches will enable you to use your brain in different, more analytical ways, which is helpful for UCAT.
Dancing had helped me before my UCAT to become more rejuvenated, which led to me obtaining entry in university to study Medicine.
What hobbies should I avoid?
It is important to be careful not to fall into the trap of social media. Generally, the majority of people will spend an excessive amount of time on it and feel guilty later on, once it has impacted on their UCAT work. This behaviour is not productive and will only lead to the wasting of valuable time. You can use apps to limit your time on social media, or even consider a social media detox in the lead up to UCAT!
How can I fit hobbies into my schedule?
At this vital stage, UCAT preparation will be extensive, and free time may seem short in supply. Yet, organisation is key to ensure you get the best out of the week study-wise, while finding time for yourself. Every week, draw out a timetable, allocating revision slots for school, as well as UCAT study. This will help you to identify free time, so you can enjoy your hobbies guilt-free.
Written by Dervla who achieved 98th percentile and is currently studying medicine.