How to Interpret Your UCAT Mock Exam Scores
8 months ago by Rob
So you’ve completed a UCAT practice exam and have no idea how to interpret the wealth of information and statistics you’ve been presented with. This blog has some tips to help you gain a better grasp of your UCAT preparation progress.
1. Look at percentile not percentage
The UCAT is a test designed to compare students against each other, thereby giving the universities a clearer indication of the stronger candidates. The UCAT is hard – so do not worry about the number of questions you got right, or the percentage of questions you answered correctly. Even the highest achievers get scores which do not seem impressive.
What is important is your percentile – that is, how your performance compares to other students. For example, if you got a percentile of 70, this means you performed better than 70% of students who took that UCAT exam, while 30% of students performed better than you. What is important is to improve your UCAT percentile as you approach UCAT test day.
The bottom line: the higher you are ranked; the better chance you have of entry into medicine.
2. Don’t freak out if you perform poorly in one exam
After consistently scoring in the 80th and 90th percentiles, my 7th exam returned a score of 40th percentile. Yes, it was a complete shock, and I thought that all my efforts had gone to waste.
After fearing the worst, I did another exam, and scored in the 95th percentile. The lesson: don’t panic. You can have a bad day. It is not like school where you are always expected to know all the content. The UCAT is a highly challenging exam, and the multiple choice nature of the exam means there are certain elements of luck involved, as you will never know all the answers. So don’t be put off by one bad exam, keep working!
3. Use the results to figure out your weaknesses and strengths
Go back through all your UCAT exams, and analyse the percentiles for each subtest. If you find a constant weakness, then you can work on it. Select some of the UCAT practice questions for this subtest, and this way, you can focus your efforts on improving one aspect at a time. Also, reviewing each UCAT exam thoroughly is crucial, as you can use it to not only find weak sections, but specific types of UCAT questions which you tend to struggle with. Don’t just ignore the results you are given; use them to your benefit.
4. Remember: The MedEntry competition is stronger than general UCAT candidates
The percentiles you receive from the MedEntry UCAT practice exams are used to compare you to other MedEntry students, who are more able and motivated than the UCAT Prep cohort. The students who do the practice exams invest more than the average UCAT candidate who may simply turn up on the day of the exam, with no prior exposure. Consequently, the percentiles you receive from a practice MedEntry exam may be worse than what you would receive on the actual UCAT day. So if you’re scoring in the 80th percentile for practice exams, you may in fact be the equivalent of the 90th percentile on the actual exam day. Therefore, do not be put off if you are not achieving your desired UCAT percentiles.
Written by Jack, a past MedEntry student who scored 99 percentile and is currently studying medicine.