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UMAT: WHY PRACTICE DOESN’T NECESSARILY MAKE PERFECT

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In life, we are told that ‘practice makes perfect’. The more you practice a particular skill, whether it be playing the piano, swimming or writing essays, the better you become at it. So, in theory, it should be the same in UMAT – the more practice questions you do, the better you are at UMAT – right? Not necessarily.

Just like any skill, to do well in UMAT you first need a basic understanding of what it is, what it tests and how to approach the various types of questions. Without this understanding, you may still be able to improve by practicing UMAT questions, but it will take a lot longer to improve compared to if you had learnt the basics first. It would be similar to jumping in a pool and trying to swim laps without having first learnt swimming techniques.

Once you have learnt how to approach UMAT and the various constructs, and applied this understanding to some practice questions, the next step is to learn from your mistakes. Just doing endless UMAT practice questions and exams is not helpful. Instead, after completing a UMAT exam or drill, you need to spend time reviewing your answers. Read through all solutions and see if you could have used a more efficient way of getting to the answer. If you got the question wrong, find out why you got it wrong and how you can prevent yourself from making the same mistake in future. This is a far more effective way of improving your performance in UMAT.

Next, identify your weaknesses when it comes to UMAT, and work on them. In the busy year that is your final year of schooling, you simply do not have time to get through everything on the MedEntry LMS. Your UMAT preparation needs to be targeted and efficient. Identify which construct you are having difficulty with, and what particular UMAT question types you find challenging. Spend time refining and practicing your strategies for approaching such questions. Doing so is an efficient and effective use of your UMAT study time.

Remember, completing practice questions mindlessly is not the way to excel in UMAT. First understand basic UMAT strategies, second learn from your mistakes, and finally work on your weaknesses. You will then be ready come UMAT day.

IRRELEVANT TEST, Australian Doctor (9 March 2007)
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