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UCAT Preparation During Coronavirus - Tip 4: Keep up Your Motivation

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The coronavirus pandemic has probably led to significant changes in your daily life and the way you study. The sudden change may have left you feeling confused, stressed and lost, particularly if you are in your final year of schooling. Our aim is to provide guidance and tips to help you study and prepare for UCAT during this turbulent time.

This blog series covers how to effectively prepare for UCAT during coronavirus and social isolation. The principles outlined in these blogs are also useful for your school and university study.

Our last three blogs covered tip 1: Optimise Your Study Environmenttip 2: Create a Routine and UCAT Study Plan [LINK] and tip 3: Make the most of Remote UCAT Learning. In this blog, we will cover tip 4:

Keep up your Motivation for UCAT Prep

The importance of motivation

In an environment with so much uncertainty and change, it can be difficult to keep up your motivation for UCAT preparation. However, motivation to prepare for UCAT is one of the most important qualities required to achieve UCAT success, and will set you apart from other UCAT candidates. The highest scoring UCAT candidates each year are those who set aside sufficient UCAT preparation time, and are motivated to prepare for UCAT regularly and effectively.

Motivation to prepare for UCAT is even more important in the current coronavirus environment, where you are without your normal school structure and activities. It can be easy to while away the hours on Netflix or social media, and neglect your UCAT preparation. However, staying motivated is an important way to gain an advantage over other UCAT candidates and secure your place in medical school.

Keep the big picture in mind

An effective way to stay motivated is to remember why you are engaging in UCAT preparation. What is the end goal? What will be the reward?

Medicine is an incredibly interesting, challenging and rewarding profession. You will have the opportunity to make a significant, positive difference to individuals and the community, while enjoying the benefits of a secure, well-paid profession. Remember that the hard work you put in now will reap benefits for the rest of your life.

The following strategies will help you keep the big picture in mind:

  • In your workspace, put up images of inspiring doctors, the life you imagine in medicine, or your preferred medical school. Spend a few moments at the start of each day reminding yourself of your end goal.
  • Speak with current medical students and inspiring doctors so you have a better understanding of what you can look forward to in a career in medicine. You can do this when you attend a MedEntry UCAT Workshop. In fact, many students have found that the MedEntry UCAT Workshop provided a significant boost to their motivation to prepare for UCAT. You can also set up a video chat with someone you know who is working in, or studying medicine.
  • Connect with like-minded students who are also preparing for UCAT. This will help you to motivate each other, and remind each other of why you are preparing so hard for UCAT. You can connect on MedEntry’s 2020 UCAT Study Group and the UCAT & Interview Study Space.

Set SMART goals

One of the most effective ways to boost your motivation is to set goals – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Having goals to work towards will give you a sense of purpose, reduce procrastination, and help to motivate you to prepare for UCAT.

The SMART method of goal-setting is a helpful way to ensure that your goal setting is effective. Your UCAT goals should be:

  • Specific: for example, a less effective goal would be, ‘I’m going to do some UCAT prep today.’ A more effective goal would be, ‘I am going to complete a UCAT Verbal Reasoning subtest mock under timed conditions today, and then review all of the questions.’
  • Measurable: it should be easy for you to determine whether or not you have achieved the goal. This will help you track your progress, which is easy to do at a glance on the MedEntry online platform.
  • Achievable: for example, an unrealistic goal would be, ‘I’m going to complete three full length UCAT exams today.’ Setting unachievable goals will reduce your motivation.
  • Relevant: this is often overlooked, but it is vital to ensure the goal you have set is effective, and one which will boost your UCAT performance. For example, an ineffective goal that some people set is, ‘I’m going to do 100 UCAT questions today.’ Simply completing UCAT question after UCAT question is not an effective way to prepare for UCAT. In contrast, an effective goal would be, ‘I’m going to complete 5 UCAT Abstract Reasoning drills, as this is my weakest UCAT subtest.’
  • Time-bound: it is important to set a date or time when you wish to complete your UCAT goal. An example would be, ‘I am going to complete 5 UCAT Practice exams between now and July.’

Prioritising your UCAT preparation is also important. Check out MedEntry’s Eat That Frog blog for more details: https://www.medentry.edu.au/ucat/entry/making-time-for-ucat-eat-that-frog

As you complete each UCAT preparation task, cross it off your to do list – this will give you a sense of accomplishment, and will help motivate you to complete the next goal.

If you follow the advice in this blog, you will find that your motivation to prepare for UCAT will increase significantly, which will set you on the path to UCAT success!

In our next UCAT preparation during coronavirus blog, we will cover tip 5, which is to engage in self-care.

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