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UCAT: 5 basic tips

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There are a wealth of strategies and techniques that are useful in boosting UCAT performance. Each UCAT section and question requires a slightly different approach. Relevant techniques will be discussed in detail in the MedEntry UCAT course.

In the meantime, here are five basic tips that will help you in tackling UCAT.

1. Work on your weaknesses

Each of the five sections in UCAT tests different skills. It is likely that you will find some UCAT subtests easier than others, and that you will have a natural ability or affinity for particular questions. As early as possible in your UCAT preparation, identify the subtests that you find most difficult and work on those. Ideally also identify the particular types of questions within each UCAT section that you find difficult, for example, Venn diagram questions in the Decision Making subtest.

2. Manage your time effectively

About one fifth of candidates fail to answer every question in UCAT. That is, they run out of time to even make a random guess! Therefore, time management skills are essential in UCAT. The biggest mistake that most students make is to become absorbed in more difficult questions and spend too long on them, running out of time to answer easier questions at the end. One of the best ways to improve UCAT timing is to complete practice exams and drills under timed conditions. 

3. Make educated guesses

In a time pressured exam such as UCAT, making educated guesses is an important strategy. Work hard to eliminate options that are incorrect, and then choose between the remaining options. Some subtests are so time pressured that you will sometimes need to go with your ‘gut instinct’ or what you ‘feel’ is the best answer. Perfectionist tendencies are unhelpful for UCAT. You will not have time to work out everything perfectly, so making educated guesses is an important strategy.

4. Use the flag and review functions

UCAT is a computer-based test. It allows you to ‘flag’ UCAT questions that you find more difficult or are unsure about. Once you come to the end of a subtest, you can easily review the questions you have flagged or left unanswered. Make sure you are familiar with how to use these functions, as doing so will significantly help with your time management. MedEntry’s computer-based platform simulates UCAT exactly, allowing you to practice using these functions. 

5. Keep your cool

UCAT is a stressful, ‘high stakes’ test. Your performance in this one test has the potential to have a significant influence on your future career. UCAT is also difficult and unlike most tests you have ever sat before. This means that most students will find UCAT stressful. However, too much stress will harm your performance in UCAT. There are many stress management strategies, including having a positive mental attitude, and taking ‘mini-breaks’ if you feel overwhelmed, and not dwelling on a UCAT section if you feel you have done poorly.

There are many more useful strategies to improve your performance in UCAT, and in each of the subtests. These will be discussed at the MedEntry UCAT course.

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