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The Day before the UCAT Test

The day before the UCAT   If you haven’t already, make sure you know the location of your test centre. If you don’t know how to get to the centre, print out directions from Google Maps. If you haven’t taken a test before at your test centre, ask around among the seniors you know or go and check it out before, to see whether there’s anything you need to know about the place.If someone is supposed to drive you to the test centre, make sure you have a back-up plan in case the person oversleeps, gets sick, or otherwise fails to...
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UCAT Preparation: Getting into the Right Frame of Mind

At the end of a season and leading up to the championship, athletes go through a “tapering phase” to make sure they perform at their peak when it counts. In a sense you’ve been a mental athlete, and you want to make sure that you perform at your peak when it counts: on the actual UCAT. For you, tapering consists of scaling back gradually the amount of preparation you’ve been doing so you can give your mind a chance to rest and rev up your motivation. During this week you should do much less work, but of a much higher quality....
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How to Guess in UCAT

When You Need to Guess in UCAT, Beware of Your Hunches You know that whenever you can make a quick guess on a question to avoid leaving it blank, you should take the shot. The key word here is quick; you can always afford to guess, but you can never afford to waste time. So, how should you guess? Let’s be clear about something: guessing does not mean selecting a choice at random. But it also doesn’t mean selecting the choice that seems to be right. Guessing means selecting the choice that has the greatest chance of being right, regardless of whether that choice...
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In UCAT, Do Not “Read into” Things!

Warning, Warning, Warning! Do Not “Read into” Things in UCAT One of the most dangerous traps smart students fall into while reading the UCAT passages is ‘reading into’ things. You should re-read in the context of what you’ve learned about the reading passage—you do not want to interpret what a passage says, or make any subtle assumptions. Restraining yourself from making unwarranted “leaps” on the passages may be something you must consciously remind yourself to do in Verbal Reasoning subtest. There’s a big difference between drawing a valid inference, and making an unwarranted assumption. Watch your step! For example, if a passage says...
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Doesn’t the UCAT just measure “test-taking skills”?

Unfortunately, some UCAT prep courses try to convince students that taking the UCAT has noth­ing to do with real academic skills. They prefer you to believe that it’s all about their test-taking “secrets.” This is great marketing for them, but little help for you. Although there are a few basic test-taking skills that you should know about—process of elimina­tion, intelligent guessing and checking, testing choices, and so on—these can be learned easily in a day, and don’t earn you too many points on the UCAT. So what does get you big score improve­ments? In the MedEntry UCAT prep, you will be trained...
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Speed Reading in UCAT

UCAT is not just a test of speed reading: it is more than that. It tests your higher order thinking skills as illustrated by Bloom’s taxonomy. However, improving your reading speed will certainly be of help in UCAT. Speed reading is a collection of reading methods which attempt to increase rates of reading without greatly compromising comprehension or ability to recall and analyse. Methods include grouping or chunking and tracking. No absolute distinct “normal” and “speed-reading” types of reading exist in practice, since all readers use some of the techniques used in speed reading (such as identifying words without focusing on each letter,...
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Why is so much weight placed on just one test, the UCAT?

It may seem unfair that a two hour test is so impor­tant. Remember, though, that the UCAT is not a one-shot, all-or-nothing affair. Your standardised test scores account for about a third of your medical school entry, depending on which university you apply. The other essential components include your ATAR score and medical entrance interviews. Further, if you score poorly in the UCAT (due to lack of preparation or other unfortunate event), you can re-sit the UCAT next year. As discussed here, UCAT is an objective test of medical entrance in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Ireland. The UCAT is only “unfair” if you allow it to be,...
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Why do universities need UCAT scores? Isn’t my ATAR enough?

Good university admissions officers will use your UCAT scores to help them assess your readiness to do tough medical school work. Although the UCAT does not assess broad subject knowledge, it provides a universal benchmark that your high school transcript can’t. It assesses skills that are essential to succeed in a competitive Australian medical school: problem solving, data interpretation, logical reasoning, critical thinking and abstract analysis. Universities need the UCAT because school grades are, unfortunately, far from objective measures of your academic ability. Teachers rarely give out grades consistently and without bias. We all know that every school has easy graders...
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Doesn’t the UCAT do a poor job of predicting medical school grades?

UCAT-bashers have long liked to claim that the UCAT isn’t valuable to universities because it doesn’t predict university grades very well. They miss two important points: first, smart university admissions officers don’t want it to predict grades, and second, it correlates very well with something more important than grades—real success in academic fields like medicine or in life ingeneral. Predicting grades is a wild-goose chase because grades are not objectively distrib­uted: almost any teacher/professor can give out grades any way he or she wishes. Many students, as we all know, get good grades without having great intellectual ability. They just learn...
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UCAT Tips: Learn to make intelligent guesses when necessary

Another tip in scoring well in the UCAT test is to try to eliminate as many responses as you can. Here’s why it is important to eliminate at least some choices when you’re guessing. If you get to a question and you’re not sure of the answer, of course you’ll have to guess. Whether you’re guessing among all four choices or you’ve eliminated a couple of obvious wrong answers, it still feels the same. But this is one time when you shouldn’t listen to your feelings. Let’s say that two test-takers each encounter questions they aren’t sure about during the exam. One of...
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UCAT: Speed Reading

The following reading efficiency techniques can boost your reading rate. But even if your rate is fine, these techniques will help you boost comprehension and concentration. (i) Mechanical Approach You’ve probably seen speed-readers moving their hands down a page as they rapidly read the material, the theory being that their eyes follow their hands. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t forceyour eyes to keep up with your hand. When your hand has reached the bottom of the page, your eyes may still be on the first paragraph. Of course, this approach is even more difficult on a computer monitor. Some reading...
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UCAT for Medical-Entrance

Some people raise questions about the current medical selection process, but offer no solutions. As in most countries, the demand for medical places in Australia will always far exceed the number available. Therefore, any selection system used will have winners and losers, and will be controversial. Just because some doctors feel current entry procedures used may not have admitted them to medical school, it does not necessarily follow that the selection system is flawed. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that the advantages of medicine as a career compared to other professions has increased over the years....
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Medical Entrance and UCAT preparation

Throughout the ages and in most countries medicine has been a profession with special privileges, hence demand to study medicine is high. In fact the demand to supply ratio is higher for medicine than for any other course in Australia, which is one reason for the use of criteria other than ATAR (high school) scores for entry. Since medical knowledge is growing at an exponential rate, it is essential that future doctors have critical thinking, abstract reasoning, problem solving and interpersonal skills. Far from making the system sick, the selection process ensures that doctors are able, affable and adaptable. It is...
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UCAT Prep: Establish your personal scoring goals

Your main goal should be to maximise your potential on the actual UCAT test. Very few students get every question right. You have to be realistic. Strive to work within your own abilities. Students often ask: How does my practice test performance translate to how I will perform on the actual UCAT test? Questions are “graded” for difficulty throughout the MedEntry UCAT prep tests and in the actual test in July.  In order to get a high score (of above 95th percentile) generally you have to be nearly perfect on the easy questions, score at least 80 percent on the hard questions, 70 percent...
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Medical Entrance and UCAT

Medicine is seen as an attractive career in most countries for several reasons such as a satisfying job which involves you with the lives of those around you, making a positive difference to people’s lives, job security etc. Doctors help people in their time of need and use their knowledge to overcome their grievances so that they can get on with their life, whether they be a janitor or the chief executive officer of a major company. Dealing with people and helping them overcome their troubles would naturally bring you great satisfaction. However, training and practicing doctors are incredibly costly for...
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UCAT test tips from MedEntry UCAT Prep

Tips for the actual exam: MedEntry UCAT Course Tips Pace yourself as you go. If you find yourself losing focus in the last subtest think “finish strong” rather than “I’m almost out of here”. Don’t allow yourself to switch off until that final answer is filled in. Never give up until the computer screen closes!Don’t change your answers without good reason, only change them when you’ve reviewed the whole problem and discovered a mistake. For example, “this answer can’t be A, the last two were A” and “it can’t be this one, it’s too easy” are not good reasons to change your answer.Don’t...
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Time management in UCAT

Timing is perhaps the most stress-inducing factor of the UCAT exam. If the UCAT were at take-home test, you would all score well. Managing time is the key. Most of your MedEntry UCAT practice will include timed sections, allowing you to become more familiar and comfortable with the pacing of the exam. The UCAT is not a test of intelligence. Although it is used as a predictor for success in medical schools, it isn’t infallible. A poor performance does not necessarily reflect ineptitude nor does a poor score mean you should not apply to the medical school. It may merely limit your choices. You need...
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Satisfaction with MedEntry UCAT Prep

The use of Year 12 results as the sole basis for med school admissions is problematic. History provides many examples of capable students possessing the ability to succeed at med school who, during their final years of schooling, have had their dreams shattered due to illness, family circumstances, personal misfortune or even natural disaster. These students need an alternate method of entry to med schools. This is one of the reasons for the use of UCAT. According to a report, 83 per cent of graduates from Private providers (such as MedEntry UCAT Prep) indicate high levels of overall satisfaction with their education, compared...
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Does UCAT coaching work?

Psychometric tests such as UCAT have been in use in Australia for the last 25 years, but in the US numerous such tests have been in use for well over a century. Coaching organisations are therefore well established there. The officials at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at Princeton say that they have no objection to the coaching because what is important is that students learn the skills that are tested, whether it is at school, university or at a coaching college. It is to be expected that some would claim that the UCAT is a test that is not susceptible to coaching in an...
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UCAT is different from School tests

I am sure you know kids who don’t do so well in school, yet somehow manage to ace tests like UCAT. And you probably know other students who do really well in school, yet when it comes to UCAT, they don’t do nearly as well – and sometimes even bomb the test completely. Why do so many bright students have so much trouble on the UCAT? Because taking the UCAT is nothing like taking the tests at school. Some examples: School tests rarely last more than an hour. In the UCAT you’ve got to stay mentally focussed for about two hoursOn school...
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