I am currently at UCL studying Medicine, and it is absolutely brilliant. The opportunities you get at university, both socially and in terms of Medicine as a course, make it the most exciting time of your life.
That is why your UKCAT (UCAT) revision now is so worth it.
I used to panic about the UKCAT (UCAT) every day of summer, just like most students. I somehow managed to score 900 in three sections (VR, QR, AR), and Band 1 in Situational Judgement.
Some of this is definitely down to luck, of course. But when I sat my UKCAT (UCAT) I had come leaps and bounds from when I first started. I felt as if I had “worked out” the exam. Using certain techniques an impossible exam soon turned very manageable and almost, dare I say it, enjoyable.
There are so many shortcuts in the UKCAT (UCAT). In VR you can often answer based on just the type of language in the question. In QR there are tricks to speed up your use of the UKCAT calculator. In AR there are 12 key triggers to spot certain patterns. In SJT make sure you don’t fall into common traps they set. In DM technique is more important than ever.
In this blog I will go through my experience and how you can drastically improve your revision.
Everyone uses different revision material. Some students go on 3 different courses. Some students just use Medify. I personally used three things: the official UKCAT questions, Medify, and a UKCAT (UCAT) tutor.
Medify is a good investment. For £30 you can’t really go for an exam this important in your career. I used it to get a huge bank of questions for practice. This is a must buy. Do all of these questions, plus the ones on the official UKCAT website.
I was reluctant to use a UKCAT tutor at first. I mean everyone says that you can’t revise for the UKCAT can you? To begin with it was more to help me sit down and collate my progress continually, but I found it much more useful than I could imagine. My advice is to be very careful about who you pick. I went through 3 tutors before finding the right one. Many can just be inexperienced university students tutoring in their summer holidays, whilst others can be teachers or even full time tutors.
Do the test before you go back to school. I was always tempted to delay my UKCAT (UCAT), especially as it grew closer. One of my friends had pushed it back 4 times believe it or not. Personally, the last week of August is the best time. Give yourself maximum time to revise, but get it done before a busy year kickstarts at school.
Get used to the test conditions. So many candidates go in unprepared. You can’t highlight Verbal Reasoning passages like you can in a book. You haven’t got a scientific calculator. You only get a whiteboard, an on screen calculator, and a small stuffy room. Practice doing a 2 hour test in your local library to get used to the conditions.
Don’t neglect theory. Questions are invaluable, yes, but without proper theory you really are limiting yourself. I improved initially by just doing 100 UKCAT questions per day. But I soon stagnated. Working with my tutor and reading around, I started to actually break down my technique. Step by step. For example, for Verbal Reasoning statement questions, do you look at the statements in a random order and always run out of time? Well you are wasting your time! You can look at certain factors such as ‘Extreme Language’ to make your life 100x easier (see my free Youtube Tutorials – www.youtube.co.uk/medicmind).
Focus on timing from the beginning. Time is marks in the UKCAT. So your approach needs to be time efficient. You need to work on timing from the get-go, because otherwise you will be in for a real shock further down the line.
Don’t panic if you do badly. If you do well, congratulations and well done. If you do badly, then do not panic. Apply to universities which focus less on UKCAT (UCAT), and strongly consider sitting the BMAT.
Those are some of my tips in a nutshell. As I said above, for the section by section techniques try our online course, 1-1 mentoring or classroom course.
I know it might feel like you are not improving. But do not panic. You will get there with practice. But make sure you are using the correct techniques – it has to be quality practice. I wish you the best of luck.