1. Practise, Practise, Practise
Though obvious, one of the best ways to do well in the UCAT is to practise the types of questions you will see on the exam. When starting out, it is best to practise questions without a time limit so you can develop strategies to answer them. Once these strategies have been developed, practising under timed conditions is vital to ensure success.
2. Prepare Under Test Conditions
The UCAT is a two hour, computer-based test and consists of five separately timed subtests which each contain a number of questions in a multiple-choice format.
There is a whopping total of 233 questions in the exam, divided among these subsets:
Verbal Reasoning - 44 questions
Decision Making - 29 questions
Quantitative Reasoning - 36 questions
Abstract Reasoning - 55 Questions
Situational Judgement - 69 questions
In order to ensure the best results for any test, simulating the test environment when practising can really help. For the UCAT, ensure that all practice tests are timed, and seclude yourself in a quiet place when taking full-length exams. Furthermore, familiarising yourself with the on-screen calculator and using an external keyboard and mouse can also help replicate the test environment of the UCAT.
3. Have A Time Management Strategy
The UCAT is undoubtedly a very time-pressured exam, so having a strategy to manage time for each of the five sections is essential. When developing your strategy, it is a good idea to read guides and refer to online videos. Choose a strategy that works for you and don’t change your method once you’ve decided. Practise this plan and you'll feel confident you can implement your strategy on test da
4. Familiarise Yourself With Medical Ethics
For many, the 'situational judgment' section, which measures the capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them, can often be the hardest part of the exam. However, the scenarios and cases in this part of the UCAT often link to medical ethics, so you should aim to be knowledgeable about medical ethics issues. Reading the guide for good medical practice by the GMC will help! Furthermore, being familiar with medical ethics is also likely to help with the ethical dilemmas you’ll face in MMI interviews.
5. Avoid Perfectionism
While we tend to think that practise makes 'perfect', the mindset of perfectionism can sometimes work against us when preparing for the UCAT. In order to do well on the UCAT, you must accept that you’ll very likely need to guess some questions so you can acquire marks for the easier and less time-consuming problems. Ultimately, easy and hard questions are worth the same amount of marks and you want to maximise the number of marks you can attain in the time you have.
Finally, stay calm and try to enjoy the journey. Though this sounds crazy, approaching the test with positivity rather than stress is bound to boost your performance. At the end of the day, regardless of your UCAT score, there are always different pathways to becoming a medical practitioner in Australia.
*Kaplan Test Prep are the leaders in UCAT preparation and have been providing courses to help students boost their UCAT score since 2006.