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Optimising your performance in UCAT: 5 Lessons from Sports Psychology

Preparing for the UCAT is like preparing for a marathon: it requires training, persistence and strategies to optimise your performance on UCAT test day. Just as an athlete prepares for a major sporting event, so you must prepare yourself to sit UCAT, which is one of the most important exams that you will face in your career. We can learn much from athletes about optimising performance in UCAT, as outlined in this TED talk by Martin Hagger: This talk discusses how highly successful athletes prepare themselves before a competition. The five key points are summarised below, with an emphasis on how...
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Is UCAT Stressing You Out? Here's How to Use Stress to Your Advantage

You may have heard that stress negatively impacts on performance, particularly in an intellectually challenging test such as UCAT. You may have been told that if you are too stressed in the lead up to an important exam such as UCAT, you won’t do well. You may have been advised to look for ways to relieve your UCAT-related stress. While this may be true, in some cases trying to get rid of UCAT stress can actually cause you to become more stressed. A different approach, which might sound crazy at first, is to embrace your UCAT stress. The following three strategies...
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Why is UCAT so hard

UCAT is probably the single most important and hardest test that you will ever have to sit. Many students, especially those who do not prepare, are shocked by the difficulty of UCAT. Some who do prepare become disillusioned with the process, finding the questions difficult to complete within the time limits. So why is UCAT so hard? And what can you do about it? Read on!    1. UCAT is very different to every other type of test you have sat Why?  School and university exams test your knowledge and your ability to apply that knowledge. UCAT is not a test...
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How to deal with those UCAT Nerves (Part 1 – In the lead up)

Most people find sitting the UCAT a nerve racking, stressful experience, but that does not mean you should allow those nerves to get the best of you.  There are some simple ways to help you get through this period and come out feeling great about your chances.  Take some of the pressure off of yourself.  If you’re anything like me, you expect a lot from yourself and that can result in a large amount of unnecessary pressure. That pressure can prove to be your undoing, but there are simple ways in which to take some of that pressure off. Remember that...
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UCAT phobia: Don’t get Scared, Stay Motivated!

Does the thought of UCAT day make you cringe and consider hiding in your room? That’s how I felt in the weeks that led up to UCAT. Being a year 12 student I had rarely been in a position where I was sitting an exam which was so important for determining my future career pathway. Sure I had been through many school exams and academic competitions, but I felt that no test or assignment I had previously completed could compare to the importance of the UCAT. In my fresh teenage eyes the UCAT was the be all and end all. I...
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UCAT stress – friend or foe?

So you have bought a package and started your practise. Well done! You are on your way to improving your UCAT score already. Now it is time to develop effective revisions skills that prepares you mentally and physically. Practise is no good if your nerves let you down. Even elite athletes at the Olympics who practise for years crumple due to nerves. Don’t let that be you! Don’t save your exams!  The most important thing to remember when doing UCAT practise is – DON’T “save” your practise exams until the last month. Doing that basically leaves you with one month of...
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UCAT stress – friend or foe?

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...
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