Research and other evidence overwhelmingly backs our claim that UCAT preparation helps:
1. Feedback statistics show that 99.1% of our students would recommend MedEntry’s services to their friends. Here at MedEntry UCAT Prep, we are result orientated.
2. A 2011 survey of a random sample of students who have been through our full training program showed that 92% were offered interviews, and 88% were offered places in one or more medical schools.
3. Research on students re-sitting UCAT has shown that UCAT Preparation results in an average improvement of about 35 percentile points in UCAT results.
4. An AMSA (Australian Medical Students' Association) survey in 2008 found that most students found preparation helpful.
5. Evaluation by an independent statutory organisation, RDWA, carried out every year, has shown that students found MedEntry courses extremely useful. You are welcome to look at these at our business premises.
6. There have been many published research papers which indicate that the reason for better performance of certain groups is due to such groups participating in preparation courses, such as that offered by MedEntry (e.g. BMC Medical Education, 2013, 13:155).
7. The oft quoted 'research' published in some journals claiming UCAT Preparation may not help is done by those who are funded by test administrators and they don't declare this conflict of interest, which is unethical. An organisation which does not have such conflict of interest, the Irish Universities Association (http://www.iua.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/HPAT-report-July2012.pdf) found that coached students did significantly better in the test.
8. Emeritus Professor Max Kamien (Australian Doctor 26 July 2012) stated: "If you are going to play in a tennis tournament, attend an interview or sit an exam, it is obvious that you will do better if you know the rules of the 'game' and have had practise in applying them. To test the obvious requires a much more sophisticated approach than statistical correlations or an opinion based questionnaire."
9. If preparation does not work/help, the organisations which offer UCAT coaching services would cease to exist. As a practicing doctor pointed out: "If test preparation does not work and is not effective, UCAT courses such as MedEntry would cease to exist. The fact that an increasing number of students undertake the MedEntry UCAT Course is in itself evidence that it is beneficial and works."
10. MedEntry UCAT Prep will also significantly improve your school / university score for several reasons: it will enhance your motivation to study; hone your thinking skills and it will make you a more efficient and effective learner which is invaluable for high school, university and throughout your life. It is a fact that each year, most students who obtain perfect ATAR Scores have done the MedEntry course. MedEntry UCAT Prep also helps with two sections of the GAMSAT. We don't coach to the test; we teach to the constructs.
11. Aptitude tests (such as the UCAT) rely on the fact that the candidates do not prepare, so testers actively discourage the candidates from preparing. They do this by propagating various myths such as: preparation does not help; it will be a waste of resources; preparation may hinder your performance; coached students may misapply simplistic rules etc. Accredited testers know that such organisations go to great lengths to place fear in candidates to ensure they do not prepare, precisely because preparation works! If it is really true that you can't prepare for the test, universities should have no objection to UCAT preparation (rather than actively discouraging students from preparing).
12, In fact, all psychological tests and experiments involve deception (e.g. placebo). All national and international professional organisations in psychology (eg. Australian / American / British Psychological Societies) approve of deception in psychological experiments and tests.
13. The government also feels, "rural students got a raw deal as most coaching and training centres were in cities". It is one of the reasons given for much lower entry requirements into Medicine for rural students and quotas for them (i.e., they don’t have easy access to UCAT Prep which city students have). It is also claimed that coaching ‘compromises’ the validity of the test. The issue of equity is also raised i.e. UCAT coaching benefits those who are able to afford it. These three claims again imply that UCAT Prep helps.
14. The UCAT Consortium’s stance is the pre-neuroplastic paradigm, i.e., the brain is hard wired, the brain’s anatomy is fixed and unchangeable, the brain’s function cannot be altered etc. At an ACER run a conference on ‘Neuroplasticity of the Brain’ (5-6 August 2013) many said the ‘real’ reason for discouraging preparation is the concern about test ‘security’. That is, they are worried about ‘leakage’ of questions, and the difficulty in creating new questions (there are only a certain number of strategies to solve such questions). The more you know about the test, the harder their job becomes in creating the test questions!
15. James Tognolini, a respected psychometrician at Sydney University, said there was no research to suggest that questions assessing higher order thinking could be written in a way that made them uncoachable. "To be honest, I do think that the performance on these items can be improved by coaching, mainly teaching a formulaic approach to solving such higher-order thinking items," he said.
Excerpts from the abovementioned Conference proceedings:
- p. 12: “Brain change translates into measurable change on standardised test measures; it is not just due to practice effect”, i.e. coaching increases actual cognitive ability (Barbara Arrowsmith Young).
- p. 118 “Practice testing improves learning: more and longer is better. Repeated testing improves test performance more than further teaching. Students overestimate the durability of memory and underestimate the benefits of practice. Benefit of practice is greater for harder tests.” (O Lipp, S Develle).
15. Rob Urstein, of Global Innovation Programs at Stanford Graduate School of Business, found a powerful way to help students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds succeed academically (published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016). The students who were exposed to the idea that intelligence, rather than being a fixed trait, is something that grows over time and can be developed with effort, were much more likely to be successful. This concept, also known as having the ‘Growth Mindset’ has been popularised by Carol Dwerk. The UCAT Consortium, which claims ‘to support every learner’ is doing a disservice to low SES students by promoting the opposite myth: the fixed mindset.
16. Research presented by K Lochner and A Preuss at the 9th ITC Conference in San Sebastian, Spain in 2014, also showed that: 'performance in cognitive tests can be improved significantly' and 'training caused a significant upward trend in performance' (p 251).
17. There are also several published articles providing evidence that MedEntry UCAT preparation will significantly improve your score. They are under the ‘News’ section in the “Resources” tab on the website.
Some further points to consider:
1. Any rational decision should be based on decision making theory (Probability x Benefit). However, “humans are terrible at dealing with probabilities.” (p. 68 ‘This will make you smarter’ by J Brockman).
2. What is important in UCAT is not the percentage of questions you get right, but your percentile ranking. If you only use the free UCAT practice tests, you are unlikely know your true percentile ranking (how you are performing in relation to other students), or your strengths and weaknesses.
Because most students who prepare for UCAT do MedEntry and most students who get into Medical schools do MedEntry, you will be able to compare your performance with the best students in Australasia. You will also be able to interact with the best students on MedEntry Forums, during the workshop etc. When you do MedEntry, you can be confident that you are learning with the best students in Australasia.
3.The simple fact is: If you do not undertake quality UCAT preparation with a reputable organisation which has a proven track record (MedEntry), you will be disadvantaged because those who are competing with you for limited medical school places are getting this advantage.
Please also read the information under ‘About Us'.
Please also read the article "Do I need to train for the UCAT?" (Under "Does MedEntry UCAT prep help?)