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Extra-curricular activities: important or irrelevant?

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, will help you not only be a better person, but be a better candidate for medical entry. Don’t believe me? Here are three reasons to not forget...
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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 entire YEAR! Your UCAT is an...
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Medicine – The Big Picture

So you’re going into your final year of schooling, and you’re super duper set on being a doctor. There are lots of ways you can keep hold of medicine as a big picture throughout this long and sometimes arduous year. By putting some of these points into action now, you will increase your chances of getting straight into med, pump up your motivation over the year, and be an awesome doctor in the future! ·         People – get amongst them! Medicine is all about the people. In your career you will interact with others from diverse backgrounds, and it is crucial...
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Keeping The Balance

Keeping the balance is something we all struggle with in our final year of schooling, myself included. At the commencement of the year, I jumped into everything. Then, at the end of term one, I crashed, and in term two I tried to do nothing. Neither of these worked for me, and over the remainder of the year I learnt some important lessons about keeping the balance. Not only was I happier and more well-rounded as a result, I was also able to succeed in both UCAT and in my final exams.  The golden rule for staying well-rounded is that you...
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Optimising your performance in UCAT: Lessons from Sports Psychology

 Preparing for the UCAT is similar to preparing for a marathon: it requires training, preparation and strategies to optimise your performance on the 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG7v4y_xwzQThis talk discusses how highly successful athletes prepare themselves before a competition. The main points are summarised below, with an emphasis on how this...
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Preparing for the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

Receiving an interview offer brings you one step closer to gaining a spot in medical school. The hard work, however, is not yet over! Interview preparation will maximise your opportunity to secure a place as a medical student.Some applicants believe that there is no point in doing preparation for the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), as they believe that performance in the interview is solely based upon your personality. Although your personality will affect your interview to some degree, practice can improve your ability to express yourself and your thoughts. Practice will allow you to showcase to the interviewer those characteristics that...
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Tackling the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) is now used by several universities, alongside the UCAT and ATAR, to determine entry into medicine courses. Unlike traditional panel interviews, the MMI features multiple stations, in which you are marked by different assessors. Therefore, the ideal approach to the MMI is different to the approach for a panel interview.Each station in the MMI has a strict time limit. Many applicants may find the process rather rushed, as you are spending a short time in each station, before being quickly moved on to the next. There are a set of questions which are designated for each...
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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 had to...
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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 UCAT (in...
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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 specifically...
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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 perspective....
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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 black...
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Pathways into medicine: UCAT vs GAMSAT

Living in our corner of the world and having a desire to pursue medicine will mean that at some point you will encounter either the UCAT or the GAMSAT. I experienced the former a multitude of times and the latter most recently, and have achieved success in both. This blog will guide you through both exams and pathways. If you are a student pursuing medicine in New Zealand, the UCAT will be your only concern. It is not possible to directly enter medicine as a high school leaver at either Auckland or Otago, so the UCAT is a barrier you cannot escape....
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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 question and...
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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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Sample MMI question: A Contemporary Issue Scenario

Scenario:Vaccinations are an important part of an individual’s immunity and keeping a community safe from disease. It is ideal that all children get immunized at the appropriate age to prevent contraction of preventable diseases. However, there are some in Australia that oppose vaccination. They argue the harm of vaccinations outweigh the benefits, and the lack of freedom of choice in how their children should be raised. Their claims often have no scientific basis, and create unnecessary fear in society. You are on the advisory board of the Australian Government looking to change the laws on how to deal with improving vaccination...
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Discrimination in university admissions?

What is discrimination?Discrimination can be defined as unwarranted unfavourable treatment towards an individual or groups of individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category. Such treatment is usually in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated. Discrimination could be based on someone’s gender, race, location, or socio-economic basis, etc. Discrimination is against the law under the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT), Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), Anti-Discrimination Act 1996 (NT), Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD), Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA), Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (TAS), Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic) and Equal Opportunity...
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Making Friends with UCAT Practice

In the game of UCAT practice, consistency beats brilliance. It is important that we not wait until we have lots of motivation before we start practicing. Good UCAT skills come about in the context of practicing in a more routine and ordinary manner, rather than sporadic bursts of insight. The goal should be gaining meaningful and valuable UCAT skills every time you practice. Expecting anything more may create too much pressure and lead to debilitating blocks and limitations. To be successful at the UCAT, you need to develop UCAT practice as a practice or discipline.UCAT = Meditation?In this sense, UCAT practice...
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Sample MMI medical interview question: an ethical dilemma.

Does patient confidentiality always prevail?Scenario: You have been working at Pinehills Prison and Corrections Centre as the in-house physician for approximately six months. Being a physician in a prison has required you to slowly build a sense of trust with the inmates (many of whom suffer from serious psychological illness) over a long period of time. The process has been arduous and often emotionally draining, but you finally feel like you are building a positive rapport with the some of the inmates and have seen a steady improvement in both their physical and mental health as a result of your ongoing appointments.During your most...
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