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5 steps to balancing UMAT: the extra subject


Year 12 is a busy year – we all know that. However, it can get a whole lot busier if you’re studying for the UMAT as well. It can be like taking an extra subject – one that has no teacher, and there are no deadlines (aside from the exam). In addition, it is an exam for which you cannot cram (sorry to burst your bubble).

So how do you manage the meticulous balancing act between not letting your school grades drop, whilst also keeping yourselves in good stead for the UMAT?

Planning. Yes, you’ve probably heard it all before, but if you’re not prepared to plan, then prepare to struggle to balance UMAT study and school study.

Here are some tips on how to approach the UMAT, whilst keeping on working towards that desired ATAR.


1. Start preparing early.

 Even if this preparation only means struggling through a sample exam, or doing some practice questions, anything that gives you a taste of the UMAT is beneficial. I sat the UMAT in 2016, and prior to attending the MedEntry workshop, I attempted the first MedEntry practice exam in February. After struggling for 2 hours (and scoring in the 60th percentile), I gave up. However, this initial taste was fantastic, as it meant I was much more prepared when I went to the workshop. If you start preparing in January or February, you are setting yourself up to get much more out of the workshops.


2. Remember: you have less time until the UMAT exam.

 The UMAT exam is in July, whilst end of school exams are in November. As such, do not worry if you show a slight favouritism to studying for the UMAT over school subjects (although do not neglect school work!). This is why it is so important to begin UMAT study early: as you near the exam time, you will have little time left to prepare, but much more time for school when UMAT is over.


3. Plan when you will do all your practice exams.

 Firstly, it is suggested that you complete all the practice exams, as it gives you the best chance of succeeding. Set dates for when you will complete the 10 MedEntry practice exams. In doing so, you can ensure to avoid errors such as completing the exams too early, or (as is more commonly the case) having to cram all the exams in June and July. Aim to have completed the 10th exam around two weekends before the exam. I found that I worked best by allocating Sunday mornings to complete the practice exams, as this also gave me time to thoroughly correct my exam. In conjunction, this freed up my weekdays and Saturdays for school work.


4. Reduce your workload near exam time.

 In the weekend leading up to the exam, take the time to relax. Perhaps spend no more than 30 minutes doing some practice questions. Ensure that you are feeling refreshed and ready. The night before the exam, do nothing. Relax, watch TV, play sport. There is nothing more you can do, and you should feel confident in your preparation to date.


5. Having sat the UMAT, you can now focus all your efforts on your schoolwork!


Written by Jack a past MedEntry student who scored 100th percentile, student studying medicine at Monash University.



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