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UCAT test tactics and preparation part 8: practical tips for staying cool under pressure in the UCAT exam

With UCAT just around the corner, and UCAT preparation of most students well and truly under way, we thought we would address the issue of nerves and anxiety that can happen on UCAT test day. Below is a simple check list of UCAT test tactics that you can utilise to overcome this UCAT pressure and tips on how to tackle the actual UCAT exam itself.


Firstly, don’t doubt yourself! Just because you don’t feel like you’ll be at the top, doesn’t mean you’ll be at the bottom either. Assuming you have sufficiently prepared for the UCAT, you are at no disadvantage to any other student sitting the UCAT exam.

Remember, every candidate is feeling the same pressure as you: if everyone is nervous, no one is nervous. What will make you rise above the rest and obtain those higher UCAT test scores, will be your ability to harness this pressure and use it to your advantage in the UCAT exam.


Test Tactics in the actual UCAT exam:

  • Answer what you know and know well first. Don’t dwell on a particular question!
  • If you don’t know the answer or how to obtain the answer, having read through and considered the question several times, re-reading over and over again will achieve nothing. Time wasted is time lost. Choose the option that seems most likely right or, if you absolutely must, make an educated guess, and move on.
  • Remember that UCAT multi-choice questions aren’t always asking for the right answer! They may be asking for the best answer or may be phrased negatively i.e which of the following is incorrect? (See: Avoiding multiple confusions on the UCAT multi-choice)
  • If you know how to answer a question, but know also that the calculations needed to obtain the answer will be lengthly, move on. Overall, the quantity of questions answered correctly will have more impact than whether or not you have answered a more difficult question correctly.
  • Mark questions where you were unsure about your answer OR you want to spend more time on them, so you have the option of returning to them later should time permit.
  • Always mark an answer! If you do want to leave it for later, that’s fine- but choose something in case you should forget to return to that question or simply run out of time. 
  • With one minute remaining make sure you have filled in an answer for EVERY QUESTION- it would be a shame to lose marks when you have a one in four chance of getting the answer correct.

If you haven’t already, check out the rest of our ‘UCAT test tactics and preparation’ series by MedEntry UCAT preparation.

UCAT test tactics and preparation part 9: coping w...
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