MedEntry

Trusted UCAT prep.

Is the UCAT even relevant to medicine?

Sometimes it can feel like the UCAT has got nothing to do with being a doctor. It can feel like just another one of the oddly-shaped hoops one must jump through in the medical entry process. However, this mindset that the UCAT is just a barrier to doctor-hood can be demotivating and counterproductive. In this post, I’ll give some real life examples of how the UCAT relates to skills I’ve had to develop in medical school, and how UCAT preparation is related to, or perhaps even beneficial to, the study of medicine. VR, DM and QR Everything we know about medicine...
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TIME MANAGEMENT: EAT THAT FROG!

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. – Mark Twain Brian Tracy’s 5 minute YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKOMTZ7PPLg discusses a time management strategy that has changed many people’s lives (including mine!). It discusses time management in the context of the workplace, but the strategy is applicable to UCAT and high school/university study too. This blog summarises the key points.  As Mark Twain said, if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that’s probably the worst thing...
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How to deal with those UCAT Nerves (Part 2 – On the day)

For some people sitting UCAT, those nerves may not hit until the day of or the night before UCAT. We get butterflies in the stomach and perhaps even the need to vomit. These feelings are natural and can even help us to do better. But, for those of us who have difficulty handling the nerves, there are a few simple things to do to minimise them. Make sure you have everything that you need in advance A few days before the UCAT, read through the instructions from Pearson Vue and make sure that you have everything you need. Make sure you...
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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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Is this my only shot at getting into Medicine?

Many students sit the UCAT for the first time thinking that they must to do well in UCAT because it is the only way for them to be accepted into their dream uni degree, medicine. This is untrue! This thinking places an enormous amount of unnecessary pressure on students. The reality is there are numerous ways to be accepted into medicine, although they are not necessarily the ideal pathways. Sitting UCAT, getting a good ATAR and smashing an interview may be the easiest and quickest way to get into medicine, but it is not the only one. Other options to be...
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Improving your reading for UCAT

With the exception of the Abstract Reasoning component, UCAT is primarily comprised of written – rather than pictorial – questions. Thus, it stands to reason that your UCAT preparation should include improving your reading skills. With that in mind, here are some of the many strategies you can use to develop your reading efficiency for UCAT.  Firstly, you must ensure that you read every single component of the stimulus, particularly for VR and SJT. A past UCAT stimulus, for example, described a middle-aged man. This information was included in the introductory stem of the stimulus, but nowhere else. Many test-takers did...
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Set your mind on your mindset

Preparation is key for any exam, and UCAT preparation is no different. But we’ve all had that horrible experience when the nerves hit, and all that preparation is thrown out the window because your brain is more interested in stressing itself out than answering the exam questions. But you can, of course, prepare for that too. 1. Practice Since I’m supposed to be telling you what to do when it feels like preparation isn’t working, you might not expect a synonym for “preparation” to be the top tip. But it is, so hear me out. Nothing is as reassuring as the safety...
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Maximise each UCAT practice question (and your study time!)

So you’ve decided to spend x hours per week preparing for the UCAT. Well done on making a commitment! But it doesn’t end there. The next step is to squeeze as much as you can get out of those UCAT preparation hours. One way of doing this and making the questions work for you is to carefully review solutions. When going through UCAT practice questions, it’s very tempting to avoid reading the solutions for one reason or another. As someone who achieved 99th percentile in the UCAT, I’ll try to make a case for reading the solutions all the time.  ...
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PROBLEM SOLVING APPROACHES in UCAT

There are many different approaches to problem-solving that have been established in psychology. Firstly, there’s the Thorndike paradigm, which involves blind trial and error1. More purposeful approaches are the Gestalt approach, and the cognitive approach. The Gestalt approach involves solving problems as a whole2. You see the problem, you see what you have, and then you try to see how everything fits together. If the question is routine, it’s very easy to figure it out. If it isn’t, well, sometimes you gain insight, but sometimes you come up with an idea based on what you’ve encountered before and you get so...
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WHAT MAKES A WINNING UCAT MINDSET?

Have I prepared enough for UCAT? As school assessments begin to pile up and the date of the UCAT exam looms closer, this one question can create great anxiety. As a MedEntry workshop helper, questions like, “when did you start preparing for the UCAT?” and “how much practice did you do every night?” are amongst the most frequent that I receive. With such a high-stakes exam like the UCAT, it can often feel like no amount of preparation is enough. This feeling can become increasingly dominant as the exam approaches, and you may find yourself ‘hitting a wall’ with your UCAT-related...
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Extra-curricular activities: important or irrelevant for medicine?

Amidst the stress of preparing for the UCAT and studying for your other exams, it may be tempting to not spend time on extra-curricular activities, so that you can focus on getting the marks you need to get into medicine. After all, they won’t contribute directly to your score, right?    However, participating in extra-curricular activities, whether it be joining your local cricket team, volunteering for a soup kitchen or being captain of the chess club or delivering pizzas, will help you not only be a better person, but be a better candidate for medical entry. Don’t believe me? Here are...
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Why You Should Be Studying For the UCAT Right Now

Are you all aboard the express train to Procrastination station? Are you experiencing a motivation crisis? Are you just about ready to give up?       Well you’re not going to give in to the internet, not this time. I am here to remind you WHY you should be studying for the UCAT right now.   The UCAT is one test. If you do well in the UCAT, you will have significant leeway with your high school results, which is not one test but a result based on a series of assessments and a number of different subjects over an...
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How to Prepare for the UCAT in Year 11

So you’re in Year 11 and thinking about pursuing a career in medicine. You’ve got great grades as well as the people skills to become a doctor, so there should be no problem getting in. Then you find out about the UCAT. You hear that it is a major obstruction to your journey, and only a select few are able to succeed in it. You hear about all the people who have done poorly despite studying so hard. You may even hear about the people who passed that didn’t do much work. It’s very easy to fall into the hysteria of...
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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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Improving your UCAT skills in VR, DM and QR

Rather than assessing your knowledge, the UCAT is an exam which isolates certain deductive skills that will be important in work as a doctor and requires you to apply them in various scenarios. Therefore, if you wish to succeed in the UCAT, you will need to nurture these skills, sharpen them and know exactly when to use them. If your eager mind has begun this uphill climb towards UCAT success and if you have thoroughly scoured the LMS and still seek ways to better your logical reasoning, this guide will show you how. Logical Reasoning & Problem Solving questions in the...
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Planning time for UCAT preparation

A very common question asked by aspiring medical students is “How do you balance your school work and UCAT practice?” Given that the UCAT can be equally or even more important as the ATAR in the medical school selection process, it is crucial that students devote sufficient time in preparing for the UCAT, without neglecting their year 12 studies. The key to finding this balance is planning your time. Many students attempt to fit in UCAT study in their ‘spare time’, which is hard to find in year 12. It is more productive to set aside blocks of time which are...
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Only 3 weeks to UCAT - what should I do?

There are three weeks left until UCAT! Are you completely freaking out? Feeling utterly under-prepared? Never fear! These 5 simple steps are sure to make you ready for any UCAT question thrown at you. 1.    Practice UCAT ANZ exams and read their worked solutions. UCAT ANZ offers 3 full-length practice exams; these are a must-do before the exam! They’re a little bit easier than your average MedEntry exam, so they’re great for that last minute confidence boost. They also gives you worked solutions to every question, which lets you see how they come up with the answer - basically an insider’s...
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Applying mid-way through your degree

So you find yourself starting the first year of your degree. Your wounds from not getting accepted straight out of high school are still fresh but you know that medicine is the career for you. Graduation from your current degree is still years away so what can you do to try get in till then? Don’t worry, there’s still hope for you. With most Bachelor’s degrees being three years, you will be sitting the UCAT in either your first or second year of university. Let’s be honest, you are not particularly wanted by medical schools. At this point you are the...
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Group versus individual study for UCAT

Should I prepare for the UCAT with friends or alone?  It’s a question many students ask themselves leading up to a major exam, including the UCAT. Although the answer will vary depending on personal preference, this article will endeavour to discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of both group and individual preparation. For most, the answer lies somewhere between the two – ideal preparation involves a combination of both individual and group work. Tackling practice questions on your own is an essential part of preparation. In the exam, you won’t have a group of friends with which to discuss the...
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Building the right mind set for success on the day of the UCAT

From the moment you first hear stories of the UCAT and how difficult it can be until the first step you take to enter that test centre, only you can decide the mind set and approach that will embody your UCAT experience. There are two ways to view this exam; either as a roadblock that is there to hinder you on the path to success or simply a stepping stone towards getting you into your dream career.  So, in the end, which viewpoint you adopt is up to you. Further, the generic skills that you develop while preparing for the test will...
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