The Ultimate UCAT Guide
🛠️Practice makes perfect.
🏛️Used by most medical schools.
UCAT COVID Update
📬UCAT Bookings Are Now Open
Registration and bookings for the UCAT tests are now open as well as the UCAT bursary schemes. If you want to take the UCAT at a PearsonVUE test centre, we would recommend booking as early as you can it is likely that test centres will have limited capacity. Set your alarms and reminders for the day before, UCAT will release more information in the following weeks and thus ensure that you wake up and are ready in good time before bookings open. You could always decide to reschedule a UCAT Test Date - being proactive will be key in these weeks-months to come.
However, you can only take your UCAT once and you now have plenty of spare time on your hands. Don't decide to rush and do the UCAT as soon as you can if you're not ready. The benefit of doing it at home is that the format and environment that you do your practice papers and the real thing will be the exact same.
🏠Opportunity to sit UCAT at home
Candidates will have the choice to sit the UCAT either at home or using Pearson VUE's online proctoring service (OnVUE) or at a Pearson Vue Test Centre (as in the past). The online UCAT taken at home will be (unimaginatively) called UCAT Online. By using both options, they can ensure that all UK and international candidates have the opportunity to take the UCAT.
🖥️ Test content will remain the same
Although the delivery model may change, the UCAT test will stay exactly the same between a test at home and one taken in a test centre.
🤖 Usage of AI & Live Monitoring to Safeguard
UCAT Online will use artificial intelligence combined with live monitoring to safeguard the security of the test.
💭 Would you prefer to take the UCAT exam at home or at a test centre?
Some students may feel more relaxed and comfortable if they took the UCAT exam at home whilst others may prefer to take the exam at a test centre as it can make them feel more alert and exam-ready.
🖥️ 2 to 4 weeks of moderate preparation with 2 weeks of intense revision is more than enough preparation
Given the circumstances, it is important to ensure that you do not peak too early and that you pace yourself so you stay motivated and sharp. Remember there is no magic formula to the UCAT preparation; it will depend upon your intensity and varies from person to person. The tricky thing is to balance UCAT preparation alongside all the other dimensions of your application and life!
Importance of the UCAT
🛬The UCAT can only be taken once per admission cycle
Your UCAT score is only valid for one application cycle, so applicants would have to resit the test if they have, for example taken a gap year. Although you will receive your scores as you leave the test centre, Universities receive your UCAT score directed through the UCAT office, and each use the data and scoring differently, which is outlined below.
🌫️Average test scores vary year on year
Average test scores vary year on year dependent on the cohort of candidates, so although you receive your scores on the day it is sometimes difficult to gauge which percentile they would fall into. It can be helpful to look at the percentiles for past years, which can be found on the UCAT website.
🏫Different universities have different UCAT weightings
Tests taken in the UK/EU - £75
Tests taken outside the EU - £120
💬Different Name; Same Exam
Before 2019, the UCAT exam was previously known as the UKCAT exam. Although it has changed names, the test content is still the same
📚 Practice your speed reading
Practice your speed reading using this test: http://www.readingsoft.com
🗞️ Practice at any opportunity
Read articles online or in the newspaper (these do not need to be scientific) and summarise the content into a couple of bullet points for practice.
❌ Do NOT use your own knowledge
To answer the question’s use only what is provided in the text (do not use your own outside knowledge or make assumptions).
⏱️ Save time
Always read the questions posed to you before reading the passage. This way you will save time by looking for key words in the text.
⭕ Look out for absolutes
When answering the ‘True/False/Can’t tell” questions look out for words such as ‘sometimes’, ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘possibly’, ‘rarely’. These words can help to critically determine whether something is explicitly stated or implied.
😱 Don’t panic and move on
Remember that all questions in the UCAT are equally weighted. Take care to not waste time on the longer passages of text and miss out on answering the shorter questions.
🔍 Be strategic
Candidates tend to find the “Free text” questions trickier and that they require more time than the “True/False/Can’t tell” questions. When practicing these questions one strategy to trail would be to answer the “True/False/Can’t tell” questions quickly to save more time for the “Free text” questions.
⚙️ Be efficient
If you feel that you have found the answer, move on. Do not finish reading the text as this simply wastes time.
Decision Making Tips
✅ Practice under the right test conditions
The whiteboard and online calculator feature is going to be very useful in this subtest, so make sure to keep using these throughout your practice.
❌ Do NOT use outside knowledge
Make sure you’re only using the information you’re presented with when coming to an answer – don’t make assumptions based on your outside knowledge. This is especially important in the syllogisms and interpreting information questions.
Be objective and do not let your personal beliefs influence your answers in the recognising assumptions questions.
🔬 Be objective
Take care to only use information that is relevant for answering the question in the Venn diagram questions. Doing unnecessary working out will waste valuable time.