Why are there conflicting opinions on the usefulness of UCAT Preparation?
You may find opinions expressed on forums and by some organisations that UCAT preparation may not help. They are mainly from:
UCAT Consortium and Pearson VUE, which administer UCAT and therefore have a vested interest in ensuring that students don't prepare, for several reasons (for example, their job becomes harder if students prepare; possibility of legal challenges; all psychological experiments/tests involve deception).
Careers teachers, who are cajoled by test administrators and universities to promote their "Prep may not help" myth.
Universities, which also have a vested interest in claiming that UCAT and interview preparation may not help (which is hypocritical, since universities coach students for aptitude tests and interviews at assessment centres for jobs).
Individuals who may have done a poor quality preparation course and/or may not have done the work required and therefore may not have got into medicine. Further, such students who may have obtained say 70th percentile, would have done far worse without preparation.
Individuals who feel strongly that all education should be free, and hence are opposed to UCAT preparation. These naive people fail to recognise that universities obtain about $30,000 per student per year (most of it from the tax payers).
Individuals who are uncritical and are 'sucked in' by propaganda; and believe in test admnistrator's stance.
Individuals who may have done well in UCAT without preparation. What they don't realise is that if they had done good quality preparation, they would have obtained an even higher score (even in 100th percentile, there is high end, and low end of 100th percentile), which could have enabled them to gain a scholarship to study medicine.
Students who do not want to admit that they have done UCAT Preparation for various reasons (such as wanting to appear 'smart', i.e. obtained a high score even without preparation).
Students who do not want to admit that they are doing UCAT Preparation in order to reduce their 'competition'. An example comment from a student: "MedEntry is my secret weapon for gaining a better UCAT score. I want to be against less people who know what they are doing."
Students who think they know 'short-cuts' to UCAT Preparation, using 'free' resources on the internet. These 'know-it-alls' seem to get a kick out of offering free advice on forums (unfortunately their advice is often misleading).
Competitors who offer preparation services, and criticise MedEntry UCAT preparation for their own benefit.
The 'research' published showing UCAT Preparation may not help is done by those who are funded by test producers and they don't declare this conflict of interest.