Is It Too Late To Start Preparing For UCAT 2023?
4 months ago by Rob
Want to apply to study medicine / dentistry but worried that it’s too late to start preparing for UCAT? Then this blog is for you.
So, is it, in fact, too late to start preparing for UCAT 2023?
The short answer is: no. Improving your performance in UCAT is possible, no matter how late you start (unless you start preparing the night before UCAT, of course!). In fact, some past MedEntry students have started preparing for UCAT 2-3 weeks before their UCAT testing date, and have managed to dramatically improve their performance, achieving UCAT percentiles of 99.
The long answer is: it depends on how you prepare for UCAT. At this stage, it’s important to study smart. This involves being focussed, and preparing in ways that will make a difference to your UCAT score. Trying to do as many UCAT questions, UCAT subtest mocks or UCAT practice exams as you can will take up a lot of your time, and may not be the most efficient way to prepare. You are also likely to be busy balancing your high school or university studies with UCAT, so it is important to use time-efficient methods to prepare.
Here are three key tips to help you effectively prepare for the UCAT over the coming weeks:
1. Identify your UCAT weaknesses and focus on improving them
Working on the UCAT subtests and UCAT question types in which you are weakest allows the most rapid improvement.
The best way to identify your UCAT weaknesses is to complete at least one UCAT practice exams under timed conditions, and review your results. A great place to start is MedEntry's free UCAT diagnostic exam. Doing this will clearly outline which UCAT subtests you find most difficult, which UCAT question types require more work, and what action you should take to boost your UCAT performance.
Once you have identified your area(s) of UCAT weakness, you can commence a more targeted UCAT preparation approach. This may involve completing more UCAT Qbank attempts or UCAT subtest mocks covering a particular type of question, and working through relevant UCAT guides to identify strategies to improve.
Setting aside some time each week to address the UCAT sections in which you are least confident will allow you to rapidly develop the skills needed to excel.
2. Work through the UCAT solutions and reflect
Reviewing and reflecting on the questions after completing a UCAT practice exam, UCAT subtest mock or Qbank attempt is almost more valuable than completing the quiz attempt itself.
After completing a 2 hour UCAT practice exam, the last thing you will want to do is to prepare more. However, recognising your mistakes and learning how to not make those mistakes again is a particularly effective way of preparing for the UCAT.
Remember that you will make many mistakes and educated guesses in UCAT. This is natural in a challenging, time-pressured exam. Reviewing the UCAT solutions will help you understand the examiner’s reasoning, and learn new UCAT techniques to improve your success rate in answering future UCAT questions.
3. Sit each UCAT practice exam as if it were the live UCAT
It is well known that practicing for a test or competition under simulated conditions reduces stress improves performance on test day. It is the same with UCAT. Simulate the UCAT experience as closely as possible. Most importantly, this means strictly sticking to the UCAT time limits. This will help you practice crucial UCAT skills such as speed reading, thinking quickly under pressure, and deciding which UCAT questions to strategically guess.
We also recommend sitting UCAT practice exams at the same time of day you will be sitting the live UCAT, ensuring you have a desktop computer/keyboard/mouse, minimising distractions, using your UCAT Noteboard and pen (which you will receive at a MedEntry workshop), and even wearing the same clothes that you intend to wear UCAT on test day!
MedEntry makes simulating UCAT test day easy with our UCAT simulated platform, which replicates the live UCAT exactly. It is the most accurate simulation of the live UCAT that you will find!