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.
Excuse 1: I can’t be bothered reading the solutions
Hopefully this isn’t a very common mindset, but it can come up. After a particularly poor performance in a UCAT practice test, it may be tempting to cut ties with the exam and move on to something else. While it is certainly important to step away for a while if you’re feeling frustrated, it’s also important to come back and make it into a learning experience. After all, the point of UCAT tuition is to learn to answer questions correctly where you may have answered them incorrectly before. On the other hand, if you’re opting to not read the solutions because you’re riding the high of a good performance on a UCAT exam, then the next sections are for you.
Excuse 2: I got the question right, so I don’t need to read the solutions.
This is an easy to trap to fall into - it’s one that I fell prey to too! Just because a question is highlighted green in review, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was correctly reasoned. It could very well have been a guess! When going through UCAT practice questions on the LMS, I would write down the numbers of the difficult questions. This has two benefits – firstly, it told me which UCAT questions to double check during the exam. Secondly, while reviewing the solutions, it reminded me which questions I struggled with so that I read the solutions, even if I got them “correct”. Perhaps there are better, faster and more elegant solutions!
Excuse 3: I got the question right, AND I’m sure I didn’t guess, so I don’t need to read the solutions.
Even if you worked through the UCAT question completely and got to the right answer, you can still learn something from the solutions! Particularly for VR, DM, QR and AR UCAT practice questions, the solutions may present a more structured or efficient method to get the correct answer. For the SJT questions, the solutions may highlight a perspective that would be useful to carry into future questions. For questions that you answered confidently, you may not need to read through the solutions with a fine toothed comb, but at least give it a quick skim to see if there’s any nuggets of wisdom that you can take with you.