Yes! Even high achieving students stumble in the UCAT.
Some students with perfect year 12 scores (99.95) have missed out on a place in medicine and related courses due to their low UCAT scores. In some cases, your UCAT score is more important than your year 12 score in securing a place in the health sciences.
Research shows training can significantly improve UCAT score by familiarizing you with the types of questions that will be asked and developing strategies to tackle them.
An all-too-common fallacy about preparing for UCAT is that all you need to do is 'familiarise' yourself with the test by doing some practice questions. That's like saying the way to become a great basketball player is to familiarise yourself with a basketball court and practice taking a few shots.
Once upon a time, people were wrong. They thought that the automobile was an electric death-trap that would never replace the horse and carriage, computers were only for academic nerds, and people who used tuition were simply cheaters. Then, cars stopped exploding every time you started the engine, people realised that you could use computers for more than just calculating the digits of pi, and the 'cheaters' with the tuition... well, they started getting it. They got better grades, got into better Courses at Uni and just plain old got better. Times change, rules change.
Some people point not only to their own success, but also to the success of some others, as proof that UCAT Prep is unnecessary to get into medicine. Such arguments are spurious because they gloss over the obvious truth that certain people are more capable than others. Individuals succeeding without UCAT Prep simply don’t prove that everyone else can do the same, any more than Madonna’s success proves that everyone can become a star. Such individual achievements prove only that there are exceptional people who can overcome enormous obstacles and achieve their goals. The plain fact that many ordinary students have not achieved extraordinary results is pretty strong evidence that, for most of us, UCAT Prep can be a big help.
"Kids take prep courses to ace tests that are supposed to measure inborn aptitude," (page 100, Time Magazine, December 20, 2004).
There are three types of knowledge: Known Knowns; Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns. The people who don't prepare are in the last category. They don't know what they don't know!
People who are low on any scale, do not even know enough to recognize how much they are missing. People who are high on a scale, are deeply aware of how much they are missing, so they think they aren't really all that high. This can be about any skill, aptitude or talent. Many of us suffer from omission bias, ie., we prefer erring through inaction to erring through action, even though research shows errors of omission are costlier than errors of commission.
You might be familiar with the quote by Benjamin Franklin: "by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail". These words definitely ring true for the two-hour, gruelling marathon that is the UCAT.
Consider this story about the French marshal Louis Lyautey: when the marshal announced that he wished to plant a tree, his gardener responded that the tree would not reach full growth for a hundred years. “In that case,” replied Lyautey, “we have no time to lose. We must start to plant this afternoon." Students thinking of preparing for improvement in performance in UCAT have no time to lose. They must get started now.
So start preparing now!
The UCAT is a skills based test: you cannot ‘cram’ information the night before. You have to overlearn the strategies to solve UCAT style problems so that thinking becomes automatic and fast.
Please also read the FAQ: Does the MedEntry program really work?
You may find opinions expressed on forums and by some organisations that intense UCAT preparation may not help. They are mainly from:
Yes! Research and other evidence overwhelmingly backs our claim that MedEntry UCAT preparation helps:
Research and other evidence overwhelmingly backs our claim that MedEntry UCAT preparation helps:
Some further points to consider:
Please also read the information under ‘About Us'.
When you purchase the MedEntry UCAT package, you will get numerous resources for you to use. You will also get additional recommended reading in the UCAT Courses. This is definitely much more than you need, if you use it properly. How to efficiently and effectively use these resources is also discussed in the UCAT Courses.
We encourage you to attend the MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop even if you have to travel a long distance. Many students from other cities, interstate, and overseas, travel to attend our UCAT workshops because there are several benefits of attending. Our students come from all over the globe, from over 45 countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Dubai, UK, Canada etc.
But don't just take our word for it, check out the hundreds of glowing Google and Facebook reviews of our workshops posted by our happy and successful students. We have more and higher ratings than every university in Australia! MedEntry's global offices have over 3000 reviews at a star rating of 4.9+, far exceeding that of any university. Most often heard feedback: 'The best lecture I have ever attended'.
Three of the main benefits of the MedEntry UCAT workshop are:
The study guides on the online LMS (Learning Management System) do provide detailed approaches to different UCAT question types, but it is always more effective to be taught this information than simply to read it yourself – after all, according to the psychiatrist William Glasser, we learn 10% of what we read, but 50% of what we see and hear!
The UCAT workshop highlights what kind of approaches to questions are the most important, and what types of UCAT questions are the most common. This allows you to make the most of all the resources provided by MedEntry, and perform as well as possible on the UCAT. In evaluations, MedEntry students say that they either did not use the resources on the LMS, or did not know how to efficiently and effectively use them, until they attended a MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop.
Additionally, some inside knowledge and information that is not available elsewhere is provided at the UCAT workshop. You will also find that many of the skills that you learn at the UCAT workshop are transferrable, and useful for school and university study.
Attending a MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop provides motivation to perform well on the UCAT, as it can make the whole UCAT process feel clearer and more real.
You will also meet fellow students with similar interests and passions. This is a fantastic opportunity for developing your thinking and forming new friendships and study groups, as well as a great source of motivation.
Attending the MedEntry UCAT Workshop and the MedEntry weekly classes for UCAT is a unique opportunity for many reasons. Never before would you have attended a class where your peers are from all over Australia, New Zealand and the UK. This is also the only opportunity for you to check out your competition: motivated and able students from all over Australia & NZ. Remember that your scores on the live UCAT will be compared with this cohort.
Additionally, you will hear from current medical students about how they used MedEntry to obtain excellent scores on the UCAT, as well as what to expect from studying at university. It is an invaluable opportunity to first-hand tips from people who have gone through it all before, and to be able to ask any burning questions you might have about the UCAT or university!
The course aims to demonstrate the best principles and strategies needed to succeed in the UCAT. Students attending the workshop attempt short mini-tests in each UCAT section to give the students hands-on experience and allow the lecturer to clearly demonstrate the application of speed and accuracy techniques to each type of question found in the UCAT.
Further benefits of the MedEntry UCAT workshop include:
Attending a MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop is an invaluable opportunity that will allow you to achieve your best possible score on the UCAT.
Yes! Interviews are a crucial aspect of the selection process for entry into health science courses. In some universities, interviews are weighted at more than 50% of the total selection criteria. Most people focus on their ATAR scores, study for the UCAT but do not prepare for the interview. Hence we find students who have perfect ATAR (99.95) and perfect UCAT (99%), are not being offered a place medicine. Such people go to the interview thinking its just a 'chat'. Chat may be, but its the most important chat that will change the course of your life!
There are many reasons some people do not train for interviews. These include:
However, knowledge of the types of questions asked, coaching on interview technique and enhanced communication skills can dramatically improve your performance. You should not go into an interview unprepared or not having an understanding of what you will be asked. If you do, you will be at a competitive disadvantage compared to those who are prepared for the interview.
For most universities, your interview score will count for as much as your ATAR (33%). For some, its 40% and for some universities its much more important than your ATAR (interview score will contribute 80%) of your final ranking score. For two universties, interview score counts for 100%, once ATAR/UCAT thresholds are reached.
For one university, if you take a gap year, your interview score from previous year will be used: which means you get only one shot at interview! So doing well and obtaining the highest possible score in interview is of critical importance.
Even if you think you will get in without the training, there are several benefits of attending the MedEntry Interview training workshop. These include:
For a simple comparison between UCAT and GAMSAT, please read this blog:
"A difficult task postponed, becomes an impossible task later."
The graduate medicine entry route requires that you complete a degree first before applying for Medicine. This means studying hard for an additional 3 or 4 years (and paying the fees), to maintain high grades with no guarantee of getting into Medicine. So you will have exams for at least 7 years: three years of first degree and 4 years of condensed medical degree. Undergrad medicine, for eg at Monash, is far less stressful because in the first year they ease you in, and in final year you are working as an unpaid intern (so no exams).
You also need to sit a test called the GAMSAT, which is a six hour test (compare this with UCAT which is a two hour test) as well as doing well in the interview. The preparation courses for GAMSAT are also far more expensive, in the range of $1500 plus.
The GAMSAT has been described by most people as ‘the most horrible thing I've ever had to do in my life’. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if you do a Biomedicine or Biosciences degree, you will automatically be offered a place in Medicine, as some universities misleadingly make you believe. If you miss out on a place in Medicine, you may end up with a degree that is not useful for your future, and a waste of several years of your life.
The median age of students entering graduate medical programs in Australia is 25.4 years. By that age, you would have completed your medical degree and probably working as a Registrar in your chosen specialty if you choose the Year 12 entry (UCAT) route. Imagine entering medical school at 25 via graduate entry, then trying to study for the specialist training exams in your early thirties with a family to care for!
Further, when you apply through the graduate entry pathway, you can only apply to one university (with only three preferences) and you will be interviewed only by one university. The universities have colluded to make it this way, so that it is less work for them and easier for them to select students (although it imposes harsh restrictions on aspiring doctors).
Some people think universities are education oriented organisations, but in reality they are massive businesses with annual income of each university around a billion dollars - they earn about $30,000 per year of study at university for each student they enrol (about $10,000 from you, and the rest from the government, which evetually comes from your taxes). This means that the longer you study at university, the better it is for them. This is the reason why some universities are moving towards graduate-entry medical programs. It is to increase universities' income, not because it is good for you! Furthermore, universities are prohibited from charging full fee for undergraduate medicine, but they can charge full fee for graduate medicine!
With the higher debts of graduate entry and the uncertainty of whether you will get into medicine, universities will be laughing all the way to the Bank, but you will end up in the classic wheel of borrowing to pay for a degree to get a job to pay off what you borrowed (if you don't get into medicine).
Some people feel that they want to go to so-called "prestigious" universities (eg. Sydney University) which offer only graduate medicine. However, unlike other disciplines such as law, in medicine it does not matter which university you graduate from.
Perhaps 15 years ago, when GAMSAT was new, it was easier than UCAT but now medical students who sat both tests claim GAMSAT involves more preparation. GAMSAT is getting harder for several reasons (eg many professionals wanting to change careers, the 'late bloomers', many school leavers putting off the hard work and the difficult decision).
Another important reason: It has been well documented that there is a general decline in psychometric test performance as a person advances in age. For eg, see "Socio-economic predictors of performance in the UCAT": Puddey and Mercer, BMC Medical education, 2013, 13:155. This shows that performance of candidates sitting UCAT between 16 years and 45 years consistently drops with age. So you are far better off sitting the test as early as possible (in year 12).
UCAT is a test of generic skills. Many studies have shown that preparation can improve performance in tests such as UCAT. Studies have even shown that intelligence is not fixed, and can be improved:
This graph shows the results of the same intelligence test given to the same people [one person per dot] at age 11 and again at age 90. There is a correlation of r= 0.54, shown by the grey summary line. This illustrates that intelligence, contrary to popular belief, can be improved (from "Intelligence' by Stuart Ritchie, p36).