Are you considering UCAT revision and wondering how many questions you should do daily? You’re not alone. UCAT test statistics tell us that over 36,000 people took the test last year, meaning there is stiff competition for medical and dental school.
Many people find it challenging to start revising for the UCAT because it differs from anything they have done before since it doesn’t test academic knowledge or scientific ability. It’s more complex than memorising a textbook, so give yourself ample time to adapt to this different test style.
This article discusses UCAT and revision tactics, including how many UCAT questions you should do in a day and other helpful tips to give you the best chance at getting accepted into your chosen university.
What is UCAT?
If you’re interested in studying medicine or dentistry, you must take the University Clinical Aptitude Test. The UCAT is the most widely used test by UK medical and dental school admissions and is also used in Australia and New Zealand. The UCAT is 2 hours long, computer-based, and has multiple-choice questions. It is made of 5 different sub-tests.
The UCAT is hard as it is designed to test the skills, cognitive abilities and behavioural traits needed to work in the medical field. Getting a good score increases your chances of getting accepted into medical school, but it takes a lot of work and practice.
The UCAT subtests are:
- Verbal Reasoning – 44 questions in (21 minutes)
- Decision Making – 29 questions in (31 minutes)
- Quantitative Reasoning – 36 questions in (24 minutes)
- Abstract Reasoning – 55 questions in (13 minutes)
- Situational Judgement – 69 questions in (26 minutes)
Gaining a good understanding of the different UCAT sections you will work through is essential. You need to be aware of how many questions you will need to answer and how long you have to answer them, as this will be a vital part of the planning process.
How many hours of UCAT practice should I do a day?
The most challenging part for UCAT candidates is getting through all the questions in the given time. So, how many hours of UCAT practice should you do a day? Well, the first and most important thing to do is familiarise yourself with the timings of each section.
Begin by looking at practice tests and question banks to see what you’re against. It is recommended that candidates do a minimum of 50 questions a day, but some do as many as 100. It all comes down to your starting point, natural ability, and how long you need to revise for the UCAT.
How many hours a day of UCAT practice you should do will depends on the targeted questions you’re doing. For example, for abstract reasoning, there are 55 questions in this sub-test, and you only have 13 minutes to answer the questions, so you should be working within this time frame.
However, if you’re doing quantitative Reasoning, there are 36 questions, and you have 24 minutes to answer, as each sub-section has different questions at different times.
For the little and often method, try doing UCAT prep work for an hour a day, doing around 50-100 questions or as many as possible in that time frame. This doesn’t mean you need to work solidly for an hour a day; take regular breaks, don’t allow yourself to get frustrated and get the proper support to help get you through it.
How long before the exam should I practice for the UCAT?
Generally, candidates are advised to start UCAT revision 6-12 months before the test to give themselves enough time to be fully prepared and get the best score possible. Starting to revise in less than 6 months before the UCAT gives you less time to identify your weaknesses and work on them in time.
The longer you have to prepare for the exam, the better, and the fewer questions you will need to do each day. It is better to practise little and often than to cram it all in towards the end because you have run out of time.
Some students may not have the luxury of time and must do much prep work in a shorter period. Whilst this isn’t the best way to get yourself as prepared as possible, don’t leave it any later than 2-3 months before the test.
What is a good UCAT score?
You can calculate your UCAT score from practice tests, but first, you need to understand how the scoring system works.
Cognitive sub-test scoring
The UCAT cognitive sub-tests are marked on the number of correct answers you give; no marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
The total score is calculated by adding the individual scores from each test section. This is then converted into a scaled score and totalled to get the overall score. The total scaled score ranged from 1200 to 3600; therefore, you want to get a score as close to 3600 as possible.
Situational judgement scoring
The situational judgement sub-test is scored differently. Total marks are rewarded if your response matches the correct answer, and part marks are given for responses close to the right answer.
Scores from the situational judgement test are expressed in bands. Band 1 is the highest, and band 4 is the lowest. As this part of the test isn’t a measure of cognitive attributes, it will be considered differently from the rest but will still make up part of your overall score.
So, what is a good UCAT score? Well, of course, the closer you can get to 3600, the better, but generally speaking, you need to aim for above half at the very least, but the average cumulative score in 2022 was 2500.
Ideally, you want to show the university admissions board that you are above average, so achieving a score higher than the average will improve your chances of success. Aim for a cumulative score of around 2700 upwards but look into your chosen university as each one has a different threshold.
What is a method to use when preparing for the UCAT?
1) Complete a mock exam.
2) Review your performance and analyse areas for development.
3) Address your weaknesses and learn from them.
4) Do banks of practice questions in your weak areas.
5) Monitor improvements.
6) Get help to give yourself the best score possible.
How can I get help with UCAT?
Getting help with the UCAT is the most valuable thing you can do to give yourself the best chance. The pressure is on with 36,000 other candidates going in for the same exam and presenting their scores to universities.
Preparing for the UCAT can be challenging. The pressure of knowing how crucial it is to be accepted into your chosen university and the number of people taking on the same challenge means that you want to get the most out of the time leading up to the exam.
At The Future Medic, know that UCAT doesn’t have to be intimidating as long as you are well prepared. Our online service helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can tailor your studies to meet your individual needs.
What do our UCAT services include?
Our UCAT services include the following:
- Online courses
- Personalised one-to-one sessions
- Access to highly qualified tutors
With the proper support and the knowledge on how to prepare for the UCAT, you can pass with flying colours, and your chosen university will be at your fingertips.
How many UCAT questions should you do a day? It is recommended to do around 50-100 questions a day, depending on the time you have to prepare and study for around an hour a day using the little and often method. The bottom line is to ensure you allow yourself plenty of time to prepare (around 6-12 months is ideal) and get the right help you need to get the best score possible.