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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 the UCAT, but with this guide you’ll have enough balanced information to start your UCAT journey.
The UCAT is a test, the results of which can be used by Universities to determine a student’s accessibility to a certain course. For most medicine courses, UCAT results will be used in conjunction with your ATAR. If these two scores are high enough you will be offered an interview. Only after overcoming these three challenges will you score yourself a career in medicine. It can be very difficult to achieve a high ATAR score and a high UCAT score, and many of the skills you need to succeed in both UCAT and interviews need to be developed over a period of time. So it is best to start in Year 11!
The best time to start your preparation is right after the previous UCAT test has been completed (in August). You should try to do some research about what questions were present in the test. The free practice UCAT test on the MedEntry website is the best indicator for next year’s exam, and this can help you focus your preparation.
Next you should find some resources to study from. There are a lot of UCAT preparation companies that offer study materials. Your challenge is to find the one that is best suited to you and most accurately simulates the UCAT. Ask past students which course was the best and why in preparing them for the UCAT. You can also compare their free sample questions with the sample questions released by UCAT ANZ in their UCAT information booklet.
MedEntry fit me best because the materials were the best quality. Their questions were harder than in the UCAT so I was very well prepared. And their SJT questions were very accurate in style of the UCAT. If you’re also thinking of using MedEntry check out their freebies, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Once you’ve found your company, it’s time to start studying!
When you’re in Year 11 it’s important to prioritise. Take time to do your assignments and study for school subjects, but leave some time for UCAT. At least once a week set aside an hour (preferably more) for UCAT preparation. If you’re using MedEntry, try out the drills - you can repeat them as many times as you want! Especially for AR, this really helped me learn all the possible algorithms for the real UCAT. You can study alone or with friends but remember quality is better than quantity: 1 hour of pure study is better than 3 hours of distractions and breaks!
One hour of study a week, or even more will give you the edge over other students who only start preparing in year 12 whilst they are juggling all of their other subjects! Good luck!