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With recent outbreaks of COVID-19 across Australia, and some states being plunged into lockdown, you might be wondering how this will impact on UCAT 2021, and what you should be doing. This blog discusses the issue and offers five key tips.

How will lockdowns impact COVID-19?

Each state with a COVID-19 outbreak will have specific governmental restrictions relating to movement around the state. In some cases, this may mean that you cannot leave your home to sit UCAT during the lockdown period. If your UCAT 2021 test is scheduled during the lockdown period, you will receive an email notification from Pearson VUE asking you to reschedule your UCAT testing date.

If you are unable to reschedule your test to another date due to limited testing appointments, please check back on the Pearson VUE website at a later stage, as further appointments will be released. If you have registered to sit UCAT 2021, you will be given the opportunity to do so.

What if lockdown continues past the end of the UCAT testing cycle?

In the event that lockdowns continue past the end of the UCAT testing cycle (currently scheduled to end on 11 August), the testing cycle will be extended. The testing cycle has already been extended for some students in Sydney, to accommodate rescheduled testing appointments. This also occurred last year, when some students in Melbourne were unable to sit their UCAT test within the usual testing period due to lockdown. Remember, if you have registered to sit UCAT, you will be given the opportunity to do so in 2021.

What should I do?

Here are five tips for managing UCAT while under lockdown, or the threat of lockdown:

1. Keep an eye on your email and the Pearson VUE website.

If your testing appointment has been impacted by lockdown, you will receive an email notification from Pearson VUE. This will go to the email address that you used to register a Pearson VUE account. Regularly check this email for notifications and updates. Also regularly check the UCAT ANZ website and Pearson VUE website for updates.

2. If you receive an email, act immediately.

If you receive an email asking you to reschedule your UCAT testing appointment, act on it without delay. There is likely to be a limited number of UCAT testing appointments, and you are more likely to secure a suitable testing date and time if you act straight away.

3. Take a mask to your UCAT testing appointment.

Some testing centers in some states may require you to use a mask when sitting UCAT. It is therefore important that you bring one to your testing centre, as many centres will not supply one. Ensure you take a mask that is comfortable and well-fitted, as well as breathable, such as a disposable surgical mask. If you wear glasses, choose one that prevents your glasses from fogging up. We suggest completing at least one UCAT practice exam using a mask so that you get used to the experience.

4. Take earplugs to your testing appointment.

Earplugs are available for candidates to use during UCAT. We recommend that you wear them to reduce distractions on the day. Some testing centres will not supply earplugs due to COVID, so it is recommended that you bring your own foam earplugs, just in case.

5. Manage stress.

UCAT is a stressful enough test without the added stress and uncertainty of lockdown and possible postponement of your UCAT testing appointment. Ensure you acknowledge and manage this stress, as excessive stress can negatively impact on your performance. Realise that UCAT is a skills, not knowledge based exam, therefore, a postponement of your testing appointment will not necessarily disrupt your preparation. In fact, you should be tailing down your preparation in the lead up to UCAT.

In the event that your UCAT testing appointment is delayed, do not panic! Keep up your preparation on a regular basis (for example, once or twice weekly) and realise that come testing day, you will be even more prepared.

More information can be found on the UCAT ANZ website and Pearson VUE websites:

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