So you’ve completed a practice exam and have no idea how to interpret the wealth of information and statistics you’ve been presented with. This blog has some tips to help you gain a better grasp of your UCAT preparation progress.
The UCAT is a test designed to compare students against each other, thereby giving the universities a clearer indication of the stronger candidates. This is much like the ATAR. As such, they do not care about what score you received, but rather, where you were ranked. The UCAT is hard – so do not worry about what score you got in each section. Do not worry about the number of questions you got right, or the percentage of questions you answered correctly. The imperative is to improve your percentile as you keep working towards the exam.
The bottom line: the higher you are ranked; the better chance you have of entry into medicine.
After consistently scoring in the 80th and 90th percentiles, my 7th exam returned a score of 40th percentile. Yes, it was a complete shock, and I thought that all my efforts had gone to waste.
After fearing the worst, I did another exam, and scored in the 95th percentile. The lesson: don’t panic. You can have a bad day. It is not like school where you are always expected to know all the content. The UCAT is a highly challenging exam, and the multiple choice nature of the exam means there are certain elements of luck involved, as you will never know all the answers. So don’t be put off by one bad exam, the percentiles can fluctuate, so keep working!
Go back through all your exams, and analyse the percentiles for each sections. If you find a constant weakness, then work on it. Select some of the drills for this section, and this way, you can focus your efforts on improving one aspect at a time. Also, reviewing each exam thoroughly is crucial, as you can use it to not only find weak sections, but specific types of questions which you tend to struggle with. Don’t just ignore the results you are given; use them to your benefit. Reviewing involves reflection and discussions with your UCAT study buddies in your UCAT study group.
The percentiles you receive from the MedEntry practice exams are used to compare you to other MedEntry students. The most motivated and able students from Australian and New Zealand schools choose MedEntry for their UCAT Prep. The students who do the practice exams invest more than the average UCAT candidate who may simply turn up on the day of the exam, with no prior exposure. Consequently, the percentiles you receive from a practice MedEntry exam may be worse than what you would receive on the actual UCAT day. So if you’re scoring in the 70th percentile for practice exams, you may in fact be the equivalent of the 90th percentile on the actual exam day. Therefore, do not be put off if you are not achieving your desired scores.
Written by Jack, a 99th percentile MedEntry student currently studying medicine at Monash University.