How to prepare for all UCAT sections in just 2 weeks
With the UCAT commencing in just under a month, many test-takers will be thrilled to enter the last phase of their preparation journey. However, if you’re someone who has not spent much time preparing, do not fear! There is still plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the test, and below we will give you a rough outline of how you can organize your UCAT prep in the coming weeks. Remember that some preparation is far better than no preparation and always believe that you can achieve your dream score. By doing this, you are sure to increase your chance of succeeding on the University Clinical Aptitude Test.
When beginning preparation, you want to spend time learning about the test. Take time to understand the format of the UCAT and read up about each of the five sections. By doing this, you’ll reduce the chance of being surprised by unexpected elements within the UCAT, which is vital when having little time to prepare. Furthermore, by learning about the 5 different subtests, you set yourself up to anticipate potential weaknesses - which is the first step required to achieve targeted practice. With only a few weeks to prepare, it is unlikely that you will cover each subtest of the UCAT in detail, and targeting your weaknesses when practicing is imperative to optimize your preparation. Hence, spending the first few days reading up about the UCAT is surely a good place to begin when preparing for the test in a short amount of time.
These next five days are sure to be the most intensive when preparing for the UCAT. In these few days, you want to try to do as many practice questions as possible to get used to common UCAT- style questions. Begin by completing these questions untimed and then move on to begin timed practice. Make sure you learn from your mistakes and always leave time to read the solutions to each question. Though you may have strategies to solve particular questions, you’ll often find that the solutions offer a more efficient and less time-consuming way to solve problems. Be open to the methods outlined in the solutions and always look out for opportunities to apply your new-found skills. Ultimately, using a strategy is far better than learning a strategy and you want to look out for areas where you can apply your knowledge. However, it is also equally important to identify your weaknesses in this period. Once you’ve found the sections you find most difficult, target these areas in days 6 and 7. By completing targeted practice, you are sure to turn your weaknesses into your strengths, which in turn is sure to leave you in a really good position by the 7th day.
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Now that you are familiar with UCAT-style questions, the next few days should be spent completing timed practice exams. Aim to complete one practice exam a day and try to replicate the test environment as best as possible. You should consider using an external keyboard and mouse when completing mock exams and you should aim to complete all official practice tests available online. Furthermore, avoid going to the toilet when completing exams and limit the amount of scratch paper you have when completing practice tests. Essentially, by replicating the test conditions as close as possible, you set yourself up to remain calm on test day, which is sure to boost your test score immensely. Additionally, by completing numerous practice exams back to back, you also build your ability to focus for longer periods of time, which is a skill that is necessary for succeeding in the UCAT.
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On the day before the UCAT, you want to refrain from doing practice tests and focus on relaxing yourself as much as possible. It is completely normal to feel anxious at this point but remember that not everyone prepares for the test. Hence, you are likely to be in a very good position heading into the test and you should use this idea to build confidence. In a test where time is limited, confidence is key, and you don’t want to doubt yourself or your ability on test day. Thus, you should spend your last day completing some short-timed drills, and revising your notes is also advisable. Finally, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and arrive early at your chosen test center. When doing the test, try to enjoy yourself and approach the test with positivity. Your efforts are sure to be rewarded and you should be proud of all the preparation you completed over the last few weeks.
Ultimately, it is never too late to prepare for the UCAT. Familiarizing yourself with the format of the test and completing timed mock exams are sure to boost your scores and you should intend to spend a few weeks doing these activities. Remember that the above mentioned approach is only a guide, so try to tailor this approach to suit your preparation needs. Essentially, with a few weeks of hard work and perseverance, you too can achieve your dream UCAT score and be on your way to your chosen medical school.