How to use Holidays to Improve in UCAT
8 months ago by Rob
Many students use the holidays to finally relax after a long year of hard work. For those sitting the UCAT, the road ahead can look especially challenging and instil feelings of anxiety. However, after taking a long-deserved rest, the holidays can actually be used efficiently and effectively to get ahead in the UCAT and obtain the score you need to get into your dream medicine course. Here are some suggestions to help you use your holidays to your advantage:
1. Sit UCAT exams under timed conditions
With the UCAT exam fast approaching in July-August, students often use the holidays as an opportunity to start practicing full length UCAT exams under timed conditions. Enormous amounts of mental energy, determination and positivity is required to sit a 2 hour UCAT exam, which is why holidays are one of the best times to practice, rather than attempting one at the end a long school day. At the same time, don’t finish all available exams during the holidays – pace yourself and do them at regular intervals until the UCAT exam date.
2. Find and develop techniques that work for you
Start developing strategies for sitting the UCAT. Whether this is how you attempt UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions or how you analyse a UCAT Verbal Reasoning text, this is a good time to attempt different techniques to find out what works best for you. If you start practicing techniques now, they will become second nature to you by the time the UCAT exam comes around, which will not only enhance your time management but also your accuracy and score.
3. Review your UCAT performance
The holidays can also be a good time for you to start reviewing your performance to identify your current strengths and weaknesses in UCAT. By doing so, you can assess the UCAT questions you need to improve in and specifically focus your attention in the holidays into refining that particular area. Use the UCAT questions you are strong in as motivation to keep on improving because there is still time to perfect your skills.
4. Get a head-start on schoolwork
UCAT practice can be especially exhausting at times. There may be a few days in the holidays where you truly don’t wish to complete a UCAT exam. You can use this day to start studying your high school content in advance. Many past students describe the UCAT as doing another high school subject. So, if you study and learn some of the content from your other subjects now, you will have more time during the school year to practice UCAT.
5. Develop a UCAT Study Plan
Try to develop a “UCAT Timetable” with reasonable goals over the weeks, rather than a cram session a day or two before returning to school. This will allow you to prioritise your weak areas, have UCAT practice exam sessions at regular intervals and address clear targets you wish to meet by certain dates. As a result, your study plan will be organised and structured, helping you visualise your progress and truly see the positive results of working hard.
The holidays are meant for and should be used for relaxing. Use the time to catch up with friends, attend parties and binge-watch Netflix shows, but don’t drown in the pleasures of leisure and lose sight of your end goal. That being said, studying every day will just make you burnout and even more stressed when school begins. Keep yourself balanced, work hard and enjoy the indulgences of the holidays.