Mind games: Motivation for UCAT study
2 months ago by Rob
Yes, we’d all rather be on Tiktok or Instagram or YouTube, but before you pick up your phone to scroll through social media, read this!
Motivating yourself to prepare for UCAT can be difficult. You should not expect to always feel motivated to prepare for UCAT – no-one feels motivated all the time. However, there are proven methods to help boost your motivation for UCAT prep.
Cultivate a positive mindset
If you view UCAT as something scary, boring or useless, you will not be motivated to prepare for it. So consider whether you have created a negative mindset around UCAT preparation. Then try to change it: look at UCAT with fresh eyes. Understand why UCAT was created, why it is important in the selection of medical students, and why the skills tested by UCAT are useful for you to develop. Dr Ray’s UCAT workshop is a great way to change your UCAT mindset.
Do a little bit, often
Are you feeling overwhelmed with the volume of academic demands this year? Remember that doing some UCAT study, no matter how little, is better than doing nothing. It can feel overwhelming to dedicate 2 hours to a full length UCAT practice exam, but a few questions on a UCAT App (such as MedEntry’s) is achievable. You will find that once you start doing just a little bit of UCAT preparation, you will be motivated to do more. Before you know it, you will have kick started your UCAT prep.
Create a study plan
A very effective way to motivate yourself to prepare for UCAT is to set aside dedicated blocks of time for your UCAT preparation, and create a UCAT preparation routine. It also makes the whole journey of getting into medicine feel less overwhelming, as you are breaking up the task into smaller, more manageable bits. The MedEntry interactive Study Planner helps you to schedule your UCAT preparation and also holds you accountable.
Rewarding yourself can help you to maintain your UCAT preparation and motivate you to prepare. Once you have completed and reviewed that UCAT practice exam, for example, why not do something you enjoy? Meet up with a friend, watch some TV or go for a walk. Breaks and rewards are also important elements of your UCAT preparation.
Optimise your environment
Is the place where you study helping or hindering you? Is there too much noise or visual distraction? Is your study space an inviting area that makes you feel good about your UCAT preparation? Some students find it useful to put up images or quotes that remind them of why they are preparing – such as inspirational doctors. You could even write a list of the reasons why you want to be a doctor, and pin it on your wall.
Study in a group
Group study is a very effective way of preparing for UCAT. You can encourage and learn from one another, which is particularly useful as each person will have their strengths and weaknesses. The added bonus is that others tend to spur you on and motivate you to prepare.
Consider your future
Remember that if you excel in the UCAT, you will only have to sit it once. It’s 2 hours of your time which can open the door to a lifelong, rewarding and satisfying career in medicine.
If you do not prepare for the UCAT, you may have to re-sit it or be forced find alternative pathways to reach your goal of becoming a doctor. This will not only cost you more money, it will also cost you time, which you cannot get back. There will also be added uncertainty as there is no guarantee of a place in post-graduate medical courses. Not to mention you’ll need to sit GAMSAT, a test totalling 6.5 hours with an extensive essay writing section and science specific knowledge areas. The UCAT is almost half this amount of time and contains only multi-choice questions!
Finally, NO REGRETS! The last thing you would want would be to walk out of the exam knowing you should have done more. On the other hand, if you give the UCAT and UCAT preparation your very best, then no matter your result, you should be proud of yourself.