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Maximise each UCAT practice question (and your study time!)

So you’ve decided to spend x hours per week preparing for the UCAT. Well done on making a commitment! But it doesn’t end there. The next step is to squeeze as much as you can get out of those UCAT preparation hours. One way of doing this and making the questions work for you is to carefully review solutions. When going through UCAT practice questions, it’s very tempting to avoid reading the solutions for one reason or another. As someone who achieved 99th percentile in the UCAT, I’ll try to make a case for reading the solutions all the time.  ...
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PROBLEM SOLVING APPROACHES in UCAT

There are many different approaches to problem-solving that have been established in psychology. Firstly, there’s the Thorndike paradigm, which involves blind trial and error1. More purposeful approaches are the Gestalt approach, and the cognitive approach. The Gestalt approach involves solving problems as a whole2. You see the problem, you see what you have, and then you try to see how everything fits together. If the question is routine, it’s very easy to figure it out. If it isn’t, well, sometimes you gain insight, but sometimes you come up with an idea based on what you’ve encountered before and you get so...
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WHAT MAKES A WINNING UCAT MINDSET?

Have I prepared enough for UCAT? As school assessments begin to pile up and the date of the UCAT exam looms closer, this one question can create great anxiety. As a MedEntry workshop helper, questions like, “when did you start preparing for the UCAT?” and “how much practice did you do every night?” are amongst the most frequent that I receive. With such a high-stakes exam like the UCAT, it can often feel like no amount of preparation is enough. This feeling can become increasingly dominant as the exam approaches, and you may find yourself ‘hitting a wall’ with your UCAT-related...
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Extra-curricular activities: important or irrelevant for medicine?

Amidst the stress of preparing for the UCAT and studying for your other exams, it may be tempting to not spend time on extra-curricular activities, so that you can focus on getting the marks you need to get into medicine. After all, they won’t contribute directly to your score, right?    However, participating in extra-curricular activities, whether it be joining your local cricket team, volunteering for a soup kitchen or being captain of the chess club or delivering pizzas, will help you not only be a better person, but be a better candidate for medical entry. Don’t believe me? Here are...
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Why You Should Be Studying For the UCAT Right Now

Are you all aboard the express train to Procrastination station? Are you experiencing a motivation crisis? Are you just about ready to give up?       Well you’re not going to give in to the internet, not this time. I am here to remind you WHY you should be studying for the UCAT right now.   The UCAT is one test. If you do well in the UCAT, you will have significant leeway with your high school results, which is not one test but a result based on a series of assessments and a number of different subjects over an...
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Optimising your performance in UCAT: Lessons from Sports Psychology

  Preparing for the UCAT is similar to preparing for a marathon: it requires training, preparation and strategies to optimise your performance on the 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG7v4y_xwzQ This talk discusses how highly successful athletes prepare themselves before a competition. The main points are summarised below, with an emphasis...
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How to Prepare for the UCAT in Year 11

So you’re in Year 11 and thinking about pursuing a career in medicine. You’ve got great grades as well as the people skills to become a doctor, so there should be no problem getting in. Then you find out about the UCAT. You hear that it is a major obstruction to your journey, and only a select few are able to succeed in it. You hear about all the people who have done poorly despite studying so hard. You may even hear about the people who passed that didn’t do much work. It’s very easy to fall into the hysteria of...
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UCAT phobia: Don’t get Scared, Stay Motivated!

Does the thought of UCAT day make you cringe and consider hiding in your room? That’s how I felt in the weeks that led up to UCAT. Being a year 12 student I had rarely been in a position where I was sitting an exam which was so important for determining my future career pathway. Sure I had been through many school exams and academic competitions, but I felt that no test or assignment I had previously completed could compare to the importance of the UCAT. In my fresh teenage eyes the UCAT was the be all and end all. I...
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Improving your UCAT skills in VR, DM and QR

Rather than assessing your knowledge, the UCAT is an exam which isolates certain deductive skills that will be important in work as a doctor and requires you to apply them in various scenarios. Therefore, if you wish to succeed in the UCAT, you will need to nurture these skills, sharpen them and know exactly when to use them. If your eager mind has begun this uphill climb towards UCAT success and if you have thoroughly scoured the LMS and still seek ways to better your logical reasoning, this guide will show you how. Logical Reasoning & Problem Solving questions in the...
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Planning time for UCAT preparation

A very common question asked by aspiring medical students is “How do you balance your school work and UCAT practice?” Given that the UCAT can be equally or even more important as the ATAR in the medical school selection process, it is crucial that students devote sufficient time in preparing for the UCAT, without neglecting their year 12 studies. The key to finding this balance is planning your time. Many students attempt to fit in UCAT study in their ‘spare time’, which is hard to find in year 12. It is more productive to set aside blocks of time which are...
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Only 3 weeks to UCAT - what should I do?

There are three weeks left until UCAT! Are you completely freaking out? Feeling utterly under-prepared? Never fear! These 5 simple steps are sure to make you ready for any UCAT question thrown at you. 1.    Practice UCAT ANZ exams and read their worked solutions. UCAT ANZ offers 3 full-length practice exams; these are a must-do before the exam! They’re a little bit easier than your average MedEntry exam, so they’re great for that last minute confidence boost. They also gives you worked solutions to every question, which lets you see how they come up with the answer - basically an insider’s...
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Group versus individual study for UCAT

Should I prepare for the UCAT with friends or alone?  It’s a question many students ask themselves leading up to a major exam, including the UCAT. Although the answer will vary depending on personal preference, this article will endeavour to discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of both group and individual preparation. For most, the answer lies somewhere between the two – ideal preparation involves a combination of both individual and group work. Tackling practice questions on your own is an essential part of preparation. In the exam, you won’t have a group of friends with which to discuss the...
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Building the right mind set for success on the day of the UCAT

From the moment you first hear stories of the UCAT and how difficult it can be until the first step you take to enter that test centre, only you can decide the mind set and approach that will embody your UCAT experience. There are two ways to view this exam; either as a roadblock that is there to hinder you on the path to success or simply a stepping stone towards getting you into your dream career.  So, in the end, which viewpoint you adopt is up to you. Further, the generic skills that you develop while preparing for the test will...
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Making Friends with UCAT Practice

In the game of UCAT practice, consistency beats brilliance. It is important that we not wait until we have lots of motivation before we start practicing. Good UCAT skills come about in the context of practicing in a more routine and ordinary manner, rather than sporadic bursts of insight. The goal should be gaining meaningful and valuable UCAT skills every time you practice. Expecting anything more may create too much pressure and lead to debilitating blocks and limitations. To be successful at the UCAT, you need to develop UCAT practice as a practice or discipline. UCAT = Meditation? In this sense,...
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Resilience and UCAT

To be mentally tough is to resist the urge to give up in the face of failure, to maintain focus and determination in pursuit of your UCAT goals, and to emerge from adversity even stronger than before. Everyone can benefit from strengthening their resilience skills.  Mental toughness comes from thinking like an optimist. People who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local and changeable. When in the face of adversity, try to say to yourself, “It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.” Analyze your beliefs and emotions...
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The Dangers of Stereotype threat

Stereotype threat can affect the way students perform in the UCAT.  Some students are vulnerable to “stereotype threat.” This is being aware the group they belong to is often stereotyped as intellectually inferior. The fear of confirming the stereotype by doing poorly on a test actually creates an anxiety. It is this anxiety that poorly affects their performance on a test, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Consider this study conducted at Stanford:  A group of undergraduates — some athletes and some not — was given a test made up of questions from the Graduate Record Examination (G.R.E.), the admissions test for graduate...
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Motivation: without carrots or sticks

Are you having a hard time motivating yourself to study for the UCAT? The tools we often reach for when we need to get ourselves moving are carrots (rewarding ourselves once a tough job is done) or sticks (depriving ourselves of something we want if we fail to do it). These are "extrinsic rewards". But such extrinsic rewards and punishments are not as effective as intrinsic ones. Intrinsic rewards come from your own person - you believe that if you do a certain thing, it will make you a better, more knowledgable person.  Here, six ways to find the intrinsic interest in studying for the...
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Effective Learning in the UCAT

Learning is not just about sitting in front of a computer/book and hoping the content will diffuse into your mind through osmosis. In order to learn effectively, you must learn actively, not passively. Active learning will allow you to engage with what you are learning and absorb it faster. New study strategies will also be introduced in this article so you can in-corporate them into your UCAT study. This will give your UCAT study sessions a direction and allow you to set goals.  What is active learning? Active learning is all about engaging with what you are learning and how you...
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Effective Learning in the UCAT

UCAT Day: Get psyched up, not psyched out

Your UCAT scores depend on how much you know, but they also depend on how well you can apply what you know. If you are nervous, distracted, or in a bad mood during the UCAT, you may have a hard time concentrating and harnessing your knowledge and skills. Here are some basic tips to help you control your nerves on the day of the UCAT.  Think Positively.  This tip cannot be emphasized enough. Getting down on yourself during the test does more than make you feel bad during the UCAT! In fact, it is taking away your body's support system. If you are...
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UCAT Day: Get psyched up, not psyched out

10 Tips For During The UCAT

You have rehearsed for this day for the past few months, so here are a few final tips that you may have heard before. Here at MedEntry, we want to make sure that you have as smooth a UCAT experience as possible.  Please share this article with your friends or family if you think they need some final tips as well.  1. Read and Think carefully.  Consider all the choices in each question on the UCAT. Don't lose points on easy UCAT questions through careless mistakes. 2. Use your noteboard.  You can write whatever you want, wherever you want on it....
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10 Tips For During The UCAT

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