By Julia Alsop
If you’re applying to medical school this year, you may be planning on taking the UCAT – the most common medical admissions test in the UK. I’ve sat it myself, managing to achieve 3050 and band 1, so I’m hoping that I may be able to share some of my tips on how you can also score well and get interviews at the medical schools you want to apply to!
Know how the questions work: As a basic point, make sure you know what kind of questions come up. For example, what sort of maths questions will appear in the Quantitative Reasoning section, and how the venn diagrams work for Decision Making.
Simulate: The exam happens in the same place as driving theory tests, on a computer with headphones available. Try and simulate this at home – including using a mouse. Get to know how to use the keyboard shortcuts, such as a flagging longer questions to come back to and making sure you have time to answer the quick and easy questions. Medify is a really good website (with a paid subscription), where the questions are of accurate level and the test is almost identical to how it is in the actual exam.
Be tactical: As I said before, don’t waste time on a maths questions that will take multiple steps when many questions require one quick calculation. Be good at making an educated guess and flag it for if you have time to go back. Learn to skim read verbal reasoning passages and pick out important words. For Situational Judgement, if you’re unsure, you’ll get more marks if you go for a more moderate response such as ‘inappropriate but not ideal’ rather than extreme - be cautious!
Use your whiteboard: For both the QR and DM sections, drawing things out can make them much easier to conceptualize and actually save you time – although obviously only write down the essentials. Practice doing this at home, even just on paper if you don’t have a whiteboard.
Obviously, the main thing is to practice consistently, but I hope this gives you some things to focus on to nail a good score.