UCAT Revision Top Tips

I break down the UCAT admission exam and give some of my own personal top tips that I picked up through courses and 'trial and error'!

August 2020
Mai Shehab (Guest Contributor)
KCL - 3rd Year

Preparing for the UCAT can be one of the most daunting, overwhelming experiences of the application process. I'm going to help break it down for you and give you some of my personal top tips that I picked up through courses and 'trial and error' that worked for me!

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Timings

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If you've been practicing questions, you know how tight for time you can get and how important it is to keep track of it.

Here is my method for keeping track of time, draw this timeline during the waiting time between each section if you can, if not create mental time stamps and as soon as you start the time make note of them on the virtual whiteboard. This will allow you to quickly check that you are on track. If you reach a time stamp and you have not reached number of questions that you should be on, guess and flag these questions until you catch up. This will allow extra time at the end for you to go back to these specific questions without dwelling on particularly difficult ones.

e.g. Verbal reasoning, 22 mins for 44 questions

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Other general tips

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How to tackle Situational judgement

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  1. Identify the key issues
  2. Pick which side of the argument is more appropriate - prioritise patient safety and wellbeing
  3. Assess the severity of the actions

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This becomes one of the more straight forward segments once you follow this 3-step method.

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Verbal reasoning

  1. Read the question's statement
  2. Scan the text for anything relevant to the statement
  3. Eliminate wrong answers and pick a final one

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If you struggle with the skim reading, practice skim reading newspapers or news articles in 25 seconds and try to summarise them. Slowly you will build this habit and it will come naturally to you in the exam!

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Quantitative reasoning

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First thing you should do is check the units of the question, info and answers. Changing units are an easy way to trip you up once you've done all the hard work!

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There are 3 types of questions:

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One more tip for this section is to check the answers, if there are large margins, round the numbers in the question stem to make the maths easier and quicker!

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Abstract reasoning

  1. Ignore the question
  2. Find the pattern within the sets - use the simplest box (one with the least features) to identify this
  3. Answer the question

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The mneumonic to spot patterns (SCANS)!

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Shape - shape/shape feature (curved line) in every box

Colour - e.g. part of a shape is shaded, all triangles are shaded

Arrangement - number of shapes/of a certain shape at top/bottom left or triangle above circle

Number - number of shapes, or number of triangles etc.

Size - size of the shapes

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Decision making

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There are 5 types of questions:

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  1. Logic puzzles - you arrange a series of statements to solve a puzzle
  2. Strongest argument - identify the strongest argument for a situation
  3. Venn diagrams - interpret them or pick the one which corresponds with the statements
  4. Probability - using basic probability to reason
  5. Yes/No questions - evaluate five statements and decide if they work with the information provided

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Identify what question type you find the hardest, learn the strategies to approach them and practice these slightly more than the other types.

My best advice is not to cram for the UCAT. You pick up skills not information.

2-3 weeks of practice is more than enough. Don't stress the night before and on the day of the exam, you've picked up the skills by this point just give it your best shot.

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