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Optimising your performance in UCAT: 5 Lessons from Sports Psychology

Preparing for the UCAT is like preparing for a marathon: it requires training, persistence and strategies to optimise your performance on UCAT test day. Just as an athlete prepares for a major sporting event, so you must prepare yourself to sit UCAT, which is one of the most important exams that you will face in your career. We can learn much from athletes about optimising performance in UCAT, as outlined in this TED talk by Martin Hagger: This talk discusses how highly successful athletes prepare themselves before a competition. The five key points are summarised below, with an emphasis on how...
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6 COMMON UCAT VERBAL REASONING PITFALLS

  Without a doubt, most UCAT test takers find Verbal Reasoning to be the most challenging subtest. The combination of the stringent timing (~30s per question), the information dense passages and of course, testing nerves (being the first UCAT section!), can often result in lower scores in this subtest. It is important to note that participants tend to score lower in UCAT Verbal Reasoning – from last year’s UCAT test statistics, you can see that the mean for Verbal Reasoning is lower than that across the other subtests. During your UCAT practice, don’t be disheartened if you struggle with this section!...
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UCAT SITUATIONAL JUDGEMENT: 5 TOP TIPS

Situational Judgement UCAT questions test a different type of non-cognitive aptitude, and can be challenging if you do not have an effective framework to answer them. This blog covers five key tips for success in the UCAT Situational Judgement test. 1.  Identify the key issue(s) in the scenario When reading the UCAT Situational Judgement scenario, it is important to read actively, identifying the key issues raised. This will help you to judge the relative importance of considerations, or the appropriateness of various actions. For example, a consideration is likely to be ‘very important’ if it addresses a key issue raised in...
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5 Tips For UCAT Timing

If you ask any candidate sitting UCAT what the hardest part of the UCAT is, they will inevitably say one thing: timing. All questions in the UCAT are do-able if you are given unlimited time. If sufficient time is given, most students would be able to score very highly in UCAT. However, UCAT is designed intentionally to give you less time than is required to answer UCAT questions. This is the only way the UCAT Consortium can distinguish the top performers from the rest of the pack. In fact, each year over one fifth of UCAT candidates fail to mark an...
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Is UCAT Stressing You Out? Here's How to Use Stress to Your Advantage

You may have heard that stress negatively impacts on performance, particularly in an intellectually challenging test such as UCAT. You may have been told that if you are too stressed in the lead up to an important exam such as UCAT, you won’t do well. You may have been advised to look for ways to relieve your UCAT-related stress. While this may be true, in some cases trying to get rid of UCAT stress can actually cause you to become more stressed. A different approach, which might sound crazy at first, is to embrace your UCAT stress. The following three strategies...
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5 Tips for UCAT Abstract Reasoning

Struggling with UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions? Check out this blog which outlines 5 top tips. 1.  Identify the pattern first When you are first starting out with Abstract Reasoning UCAT questions, it can be tempting to focus on the test shape and try to ‘match’ it to the sets. This wastes valuable time and is unlikely to lead you to the correct answer. Instead, start by examining the sets and looking for a pattern. Once you have identified the pattern, it will be easy to determine which set the test shape fits into.  2.  Choose your own perspective Some questions are...
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Tips for UCAT Test Day and the Night Before

The day before UCAT Ensure that you have everything you need for UCAT test day: importantly, a printout of your UCAT email confirmation from Pearson VUE and acceptable photographic identification (the name must match the one on your confirmation email, and it must be unexpired). Also ensure that you know where your UCAT testing centre is, and how you are going to get there. If you are ill or have extenuating personal circumstances, you can reschedule your UCAT test. You can do so at least 24 hours before your test appointment by contacting Pearson VUE directly.  The night before UCAT This...
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5 Tips for UCAT Exam Day

1. Don’t panic This might sound like another one of those easier said than done things that people around you might say, but it’s actually so important on the day itself! Plan ahead in advance for transportation to and from the UCAT exam centre. If you are taking public transport, keep in mind the possible delays caused and try to adjust for it. Better yet, get your family members to drop you off at the UCAT testing centre. This will reduce your worries and allow you to reach the UCAT centre smoothly. Even though this might sound like a negligible tip,...
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UCAT 2021: Top Tips for Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning subtest of UCAT can be challenging, even for those who are proficient at maths. This is largely due to the extreme time pressure placed on students in this UCAT subtest. The commonest mistake made by students in the Quantitative Reasoning subtest is to approach it like you would approach a high school maths test – by calculating everything perfectly, checking your working and not being aware of common wrong answer traps.  To do well in the Quantitative Reasoning subtest of UCAT, you need a strategic approach. This blog outlines five key tips. Tip 1: Use the UCAT calculator...
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UCAT 2021: Top Tips For Verbal Reasoning

1 Verbal Reasoning is one of the most difficult and time pressured subtests of UCAT. In fact, up to 20% of students each year fail to answer every question – that is, they run out of time to even randomly guess some questions! This blog describes five key strategies to help you boost your speed and performance in the 2020 UCAT Verbal Reasoning subtest.   Increase your reading speed Speed reading is a key skill that is required to succeed in the Verbal Reasoning subtest of UCAT. Not only will you be faced with lengthy passages of text, but you will...
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My UCAT Experience: A Candidate who scored >3000 in UCAT Shares his Tips

My UCAT exam was at 8am, and so I had to wake up at 5:30am to comfortably get ready and travel to the UCAT testing centre, accounting for the 30 minutes waiting time. However, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the UCAT exam, and my mental energy was in no way compromised. How? It was simply due to the fact that I had already been waking at 5:30am sharp every morning for the 2-3 weeks leading up to the UCAT exam, and so I was already accustomed and primed to be in top mental and physical condition on...
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Earplugs Update for UCAT ANZ

Candidates can request earplugs at the test centre if they wish to use them. At test centres where earplugs are available, candidates must use the earplugs provided and cannot use their own. Not all test centres can provide earplugs. If you are taking the test at one of the test centres below, you will be allowed to bring your own earplugs. If you bring your own earplugs to one of these centres, they will be subject to the following: The earplugs must be disposable and in unopened packaging.Test staff will ask candidates to open the packaging and will visually inspect the...
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Top 5 Under-Rated UCAT Preparation Strategies

1. Learn how to speed-read Not enough students are working on improving their speed reading. There are a lot of resources out there that can help you with this and I highly recommend delving into some of these (such as MedEntry’s UCAT Speed Reading trainer). The major problem I see time and time again is that in their UCAT preparation, students try to learn how to speed-read but do not end up doing so efficiently. They either fail to absorb content and miss key details or do not read at a particularly fast rate. This UCAT strategy is pertinent to the...
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The 5 Biggest UCAT Myths

Myth #1: You can’t study for it People call the UCAT many different things. Is it an IQ test? A personality test? In reality, it is about applying skills you have developed to solve problems. People say: “you’ve either got it or you don’t,” but like any skill, UCAT technique can be practiced and honed. One of my close friends is one of the naturally brightest people I know. He believed that you couldn’t really get better at the UCAT. Unfortunately, this had consequences when he did not study and thus failed to meet the threshold for his desired course. My...
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5 Tips for UCAT Success

The UCAT is not an easy exam. It is intense both when you prepare for it and when you undertake it. It requires every ounce of mental concentration and effort to do well, even more so, for me at least, than my HSC 4 Unit maths exam. However, you need not be worried about this: the conditions apply to everybody and what determines whether you will do well in UCAT is if you can perform better than your peers. Always remember that a large portion of students are going into UCAT without proper experience of questions or experience of the conditions...
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Top ten UCAT tips for the last 24 hours

So the big day is nearly here and you’ve been working up to it consistently for the best part of a year. Now it’s time to put everything MedEntry has taught you into practice. Here’s some advice to help you be at your prime in the last 24 hours leading up to the UCAT. Spend the day before doing something you enjoy, something relaxing, something fun and something that will keep your mind off the UCAT. You NEED some time to let your brain and body relax the day before so that you are in perfect condition. It can be anything, so...
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Five tips for how to survive when you arrive in the UCAT Exam Venue

So with all things going well you’ve arrived at the UCAT exam venue with plenty of time and well rested, ready to put all the knowledge you’ve gained from MedEntry to use. However, now you have to make it through the last short while before you sit down and start the UCAT test. Here’s five tips to help you survive. Go to the bathroom. Make sure you head to the loo not long before you are due to start the UCAT because the last thing you need is to have to take a bathroom break in an already time constraining exam....
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Keeping Command over your UCAT

When you walk into the test centre on the day of the UCAT, you shed all responsibilities of day-to-day life, and for two hours it is just you, and the computer in front of you. For those 2 hours, it is vital that you stay in control of the things you can control and understand that there are some things that you can’t. It is very easy to let you mind drift when you get into the second hour of the test, especially if you can hear tapping to your left, or ruffling to your right. It is especially important as...
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The UCAT – A Test of Endurance

The UCAT is so commonly viewed as a test of intelligence and aptitude, that we forget how crucial it is to improve our mental endurance for this exam. In fact, the endurance required for the UCAT is much greater than that required for any end of year school exam. Not only is the UCAT as long as or longer than any school exam (2 hours), but the nature of each individual question requires much greater focus. This need for enhanced application to each question is due to our inability to draw upon a year’s worth of content and knowledge, as is...
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3 tips to improve your score in Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving questions

Looking for some tips on how to improve your score in Logical reasoning and Problem solving?  Terrified by long passages with scientific jargon and perplexing puzzles? Worried about running out of time? Remember the following advice and you’ll be well on your way to maximising your score.    1. Read the question stem first This construct can often be time-consuming due to lengthy passages that may contain complex ideas or complicated technical terms. Although it might be tempting to start reading the passage straight away, it’s always a good idea to read the question stem first. Sometimes, you’ll be able to...
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