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Arrival and registration

I took the UCAT exam at a Pearson VUE centre in Melbourne. I arrived about 25 minutes before my scheduled UCAT start time. At the door I was turned around and told to read the instructions outside the door concerning COVID-19 and UCAT.

Once I made it in through the door, I was immediately told to sanitise my hands using the handwash inside the door before grabbing a number. Having done this, I was told to sit in one of the nine socially spaced chairs for people waiting for UCAT registration. I was provided with a copy of the UCAT Test rules to read while waiting.

After a 10 minute wait it was time for UCAT registration. The staff member behind the sneeze shield started off by asking me if I had shown any symptoms of COVID-19 lately. Upon denial she requested my ID (Drivers Licence) and asked me to turn my phone off in front of her. She did not ask to see my UCAT confirmation email from Pearson VUE.

An electronic signature and photo later I was provided with a locker key and directed to the UCAT lockers where another staff member claimed the key and opened the locker for me. Once I had dropped my belongings in the locker, the staff member had me pat my pockets and roll my sleeves up to my elbows (which got me a reminder that watches were also supposed to go in the locker). Social distancing must be maintained so he asked me to take a couple of steps back while he locked the UCAT locker before presenting me with the key and directing me to sit in one of the 6 chairs for people waiting to enter the UCAT exam room.

Then it was time for another harrowing 15 minute wait for my number to come up, this time without any reading material or anything else to distract me from the impending UCAT test. Waiting with me was a UCAT candidate that was allowed to sit the UCAT test before her booked time as she turned up early and there were 2 UCAT exam stations left in my session. My number was finally called and I advanced to the UCAT proctors station, where my ID and pockets were checked again. I was then given a UCAT noteboard and pen. I was given verbal instructions on how to get a replacement UCAT pen, how to take a break (along with how neither of those will stop the UCAT clock) and how the session was going to be recorded for security reasons.

Into the test room I went 35 minutes after I first tried to walk in the front door. My UCAT exam room had 8 computers, only 4 of which were being used. I was directed to station number 8.

The UCAT test

Taking the UCAT test was very familiar, it felt a lot like I was taking another UCAT Practice test or MedEntry Practice exam.

UCAT Verbal Reasoning

Words, lots and lots of words. I ran out of time and had to guess 12 questions or so. Tip: work on your speed reading and keyword scanning, trust me, without them you will have zero chance of completing this part of the UCAT test without having to make blind guesses for parts of it.

UCAT Decision Making

This UCAT subtest was as I expected. However, for parts of it speed reading and keyword scanning would also have been of help. Other parts require you to know your mental arithmetic or to crack out that calculator.

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning

There were a lot fewer text-based UCAT questions than I was expecting. The stimuli were mostly pure graphs, tables and charts. Once again it is important to know your arithmetic and/or make use of the calculator.

UCAT Abstract Reasoning

Lots of pictures, images, and patterns as expected. It was also easier than I expected.

Situational Judgement

Lots of words! Seriously I should have worked on my speed reading. However in this case I had a couple of minutes to spare at the end, so it was not as bad as Verbal Reasoning in that regard.

Once finished, I raised my hand as instructed to be escorted out of the UCAT exam room. I returned the UCAT notepad and pen, collected my belongings from the locker and left.

I received my UCAT results within an hour of leaving, forgive me if I do not feel like sharing. But they looked like this (minus the blurring of course):

My top tips for UCAT ANZ 2020:

  • Work on your speed reading, it is useful for most of the UCAT subtests. After all, the less time spent reading (with accuracy) means more time to think things through.
  • Go to the bathroom before you enter the UCAT exam. 2 hours is a long time if you needed to go but did not.
  • Do not be afraid to skip a UCAT question: if that Verbal Reasoning stimulus extends past the bottom of the screen, it will take forever to read through.
  • Keyboard shortcuts are for the win, even shaving fractions of a second off each UCAT question can make a big difference for your timing.

Good luck for your UCAT!

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