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With the year coming to a close, many students use the holidays to finally relax after a long year of hard work. For those sitting the UCAT next year, the road ahead can look especially challenging and instil feelings of anxiety. However, after taking a long-deserved rest, the holidays can actually be used efficiently and effectively to get ahead in the UCAT and obtain the score you need to get into your dream course.

Step 1: Work through the UCAT guides

Start by working through the UCAT guides on the OLP. Get familiar with each of the five UCAT subtests, the various question types and the strategies needed to approach each question. Ensure you attempt the UCAT practice questions in the guides before reviewing the solutions and video solutions.

Step 2: Attempt the UCAT drills

Once you have familiarised yourself with UCAT question types and techniques, it’s time to put your skills to practice. If you start practicing techniques now, they will become second nature to you by the time the UCAT comes around. Attempt a few drills from each of the five UCAT subtests. When doing so, treat them like a real ‘mini UCAT’. Use the keyboard shortcuts and on-screen calculator, make notes, and most importantly, stick to the UCAT time limits. Push yourself from the start to ensure you are developing the right UCAT skills.

Step 3: Complete UCAT practice exams

The final step is to complete full length UCAT practice exams under timed conditions. This will help you develop your pacing and endurance skills. Sitting a full length UCAT exam can be exhausting, so remember to schedule a break afterwards and reward yourself. Then review your completed UCAT exam in depth, looking over the solutions (particularly to the questions you got wrong). Spend some time after the exam reflecting on what went right, what went wrong, and how you can improve your UCAT performance next time.  Identify your strengths and weaknesses so you know where you need to improve.

UCAT practice can be especially exhausting at times. There may be a few days in the holidays where you truly don’t wish to prepare for UCAT. You can use this day to start studying your Year 12 content in advance. Many past students describe the UCAT as doing another Year 12 subject. So, if you study and learn some of the content from your other Year 12 subjects now, you will have more time during the school year to practice UCAT.  

The holidays are meant for and should be used for relaxing. Use the time to catch up with friends, attend parties and binge-watch Netflix shows, but don’t drown in the pleasures of leisure and lose sight of your end goal. That being said, studying every day will just make you burnout and be even more stressed when school begins. Keep yourself balanced, work hard and enjoy the indulgences of the holidays.  

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