If you’re hoping to get into medical school next year then you’ve probably already heard about the UCAT. It forms part of your application for medical school along with your personal statement and if you don’t score high enough, chances are you won’t get noticed and therefore you won’t get invited to proceed with the next stage of the process, the interviews.
The most important thing you should be starting right now is your UCAT preparation. The test is designed to be hard and like no other test, you will ever have taken. In this post, we provide you with tips on how to revise for UCAT and we introduce ourselves at The Future Medic and tell you what we can do to help you and improve your chances of 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 cost for 2023 is £70 for students taking the test in the UK and £115 for students taking the test in other countries.
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.
UCAT is designed to test your suitability for medicine and since the competition is fierce for university places in medical school, the admission boards can afford to be picky, which is why it is more important now than ever to prepare for your UCAT and achieve a high score. Here are some tips we have to get started with your preparation.
Some people think the UCAT is harder than practice tests but that’s not necessarily true as long as you get genuine UCAT practice tests that are a reflection of the real thing. But with the pressure over your shoulders on the day, you may find that actual UCAT harder than the practice tests just because it’s the real thing.
When to start revising for UCAT
The minimum length of time we recommend revising for the UCAT is 3 months, but that’s with intensive revision. Ideally, you want to start around 6 months before for a more steady revision structure, but some students start even earlier.
There is no ideal time to start as the revision time needed can differ from person to person but remember that the UCAT is like no other test you have ever taken, so the more practice you get before the real thing, the better!
UCAT revision breakdown
Here are 7 steps to revising for the UCAT.
- Complete a mock exam.
- Review your performance and analyse areas for development.
- Address your weaknesses and learn from them.
- Do banks of practice questions in your weak areas.
- Monitor improvements.
- Get help to give yourself the best score possible.
- Keep trying!
UCAT questions per day
You’re probably wondering how many questions to do per day or how long to revise for the UCAT each day. The most challenging part for UCAT candidates is getting through all the questions in the given time so it’s important that you practice daily and pick up the pace as you improve.
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 depend 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.
What score should I aim for?
It’s good to have a goal in mind so you know what to aim for. Knowing what A good UCAT score is, will give you an idea of whether you’re anywhere near ready for the real thing.
The UCAT is scored and then ranked from highest to lowest so you need to get an above average score to rank near the top of the list so universities notice you. Typically, a good overall score of 650 or a raw score of 2500 is enough to impress, however, this can change each year as it depends on what the other candidates score as you’ll be ranked against them.
If many other candidates score exceptionally well, even if you still achieve a good score, the number of candidates that scored higher than you will push your score down on the percentile and decile groupings.
As you can see, it’s difficult to say what UCAT score is needed for medicine, but if you get a raw score of over 2700 you can almost guarantee that will get you noticed and invited for a medical school interview. However, this isn’t an easy task as the UCAT is hard, but there is something you can do to improve your chances, find out more below.
The Future Medic: how can we help?
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 our 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. With our help, you are increasing your chances of getting in and scoring the highest score you can.
UCAT revision: getting started
Now you know all about the UCAT you should get started on revision right away, after all, the earlier you start the more prepared you will be. Try out a practice test so you know what you’re in for, analyse your strengths and weaknesses then work on the parts of the test you score low on. And remember, it’s not just about getting the questions correct but it’s also about doing it quickly because you’re under strict time restraints so it doesn’t matter how good you get at the test if you can’t finish it in time.
Finally, contact us at The Future Medic and we will be happy to help make your dreams of becoming a doctor true.