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Confused about how to approach UMAT preparation? When should I start my UMAT prep? Is there even a point to preparing for the UMAT? Well, if you are reading this, you would have started preparing already.
What is the UMAT for?
If you are interested in undergraduate medicine, dentistry or other health science related fields, you will need the UMAT. (More info: http://www.medentry.edu.au/faq/umat) The UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test) is a test administered by ACER to help in the selection of students for those given courses. It is usually sat in year 12 for students going into university the next year.
Is it worth preparing for?
Like any test, preparation will help. Remember how preparing for that maths test helped improve your score? Well, the same applies to the UMAT. It always helps to have some exposure and practise to UMAT style questions before sitting the UMAT.
When should I start my UMAT prep then?
There are two issues to keep in mind when thinking about when is the perfect time to start UMAT prep - how much UMAT prep you need and pacing yourself.
How much UMAT prep do I need?
The style of questions on the UMAT is new to many students. (Sample UMAT questions: http://www.medentry.edu.au/resources/umat-sample-questions) Many find after their first trial exam that they are good at some kinds of questions but need assistance in other areas. If you didn’t do the prep, you wouldn’t know where to improve. In the case that you need assistance with many questions, then it is probably good to start early so you can develop the necessary skills for the actual UMAT exam.
Last minute cramming may work if it is for a short, knowledge-based test. The UMAT is a 3 hour exam that requires students to develop certain skills. The trick is to pace yourself, so that you are not over worked and stressed the day before, or on the actual the day of the UMAT. This may involve starting as early as year 11 to gradually develop the necessary skills required for the UMAT. This means you won’t be as stressed in year 12 when it hits crunch time. You will usually find that more exposure to difficult questions improves the way you approach and solve them.
What if I get sick of doing UMAT prep?
We all experience times where we get sick of doing the same thing over and over again. However, this doesn’t mean you should give up and abandon it completely. UMAT prep shouldn’t feel like a laborious chore. If it does, a break may be beneficial. Go out for a walk, make a smoothie or play some sport.
Don’t overwork yourself.
UMAT prep isn’t going to help much if you feel what you are doing is going in one ear and out the other. Taking a rest every now and then and allowing your brain to recover allows time for consolidation and storage of information.
Having a break every few hours is actually more efficient than pushing yourself to study for 7 hours straight.
Should I start my UMAT prep now then?
If you are interested in sitting the UMAT when you are in year 12, have a look at the sample exam and identify what areas you need help with. Whether or not you’re sitting the UMAT this year, don’t overwork yourself to the point of exhaustion where you start avoiding UMAT prep. If you are currently in year 11, now may be a good time to start developing your UMAT skills before the stress of year 12 kicks in. Treat UMAT prep as another school subject and pace yourself when studying for it. This may mean doing some UMAT prep every week. You can also try a practise exam every 8 weeks to track your improvements – don’t leave them until the last month!
Practice questions for UMAT prep:
UMAT sample questions:
UMAT sample exam: