The process of applying to medical school is a rigorous one and something that can seem daunting. The first real step of the medical school application, after choosing the appropriate A-Levels, for most UK medical schools (and also many UK dental schools), is the UCAT. UCAT stands for ‘University Clinical Aptitude Test’ and the scoring a good UCAT score is essential to secure a place in your dream medical school.
I first heard about the UCAT in Year 9, when I was attending a talk given by a medical student, when I was part of an aspiring medics group. It was only mentioned briefly, however from the very first time hearing about it, I could gauge that it would be of great importance in determining my success of achieving a place at medical school.
My main experience of the UCAT, began like many others, feeling stressed and confused when faced with so many different resources and potential misinformation. It was hard to find clear explanations of what was expected of me.
After making use of a range of online resources as well as paid and professional help, I finally felt like I was starting to understand what was wanted of me in this exam. However, the problem was I still didn’t realize exactly how I should go about achieving this goal. This is one of the reasons why I feel tutoring is so valuable, as working with somebody who knows the process inside out can allow you to increase the necessary skills and show you exactly what you need to do to excel, as well as offer you support so that you can be confident in your progress over the months leading up to the exam.
What I learnt
I feel very strongly that the UCAT cannot be mastered overnight and that between 6-12 weeks of UCAT preparation is the most appropriate amount of time to dedicated to honing your skills and undertaking as many practice questions as possible.
Another reason I feel you should allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for this examination is that if you do leave it to the last few weeks, it can become incredibly stressful . If you take a mock test and realize that you are not performing as well and you need to, you have little time to better your score.
UCAT Tips for a good UCAT score
If you are sitting the UCAT 2021 then you have probably already heard a bit about what the UCAT involves, but like I did, you may not know which are the best and most reliable resources to use. In my experience the UCAT official questions, as well as questions from Medify will help you to develop a really strong understanding of the questions that you may face on the day.
However, many people find that after spending a few weeks completing these questions, their scores may not increase and as a result they may feel disheartened. This is common, and is most often due to not really focusing on why you got the questions wrong that you did. This is often where the value of UCAT tutoring comes in, as a tutor like myself can help you to refine you skills so that you are confident to answer anything that you are faced with. Even if you are getting many of the questions correct a tutor can show you methods that can increase the speed at which are are answering the questions and therefore improving your overall score! I tailor my tutoring sessions to each individuals needs, whether that is grasping the basic requirements of each UCAT question, or ensuring each question you answer is in the most accurate and efficient way possible.
Overall, the UCAT is a demanding examination and the best way to ensure that you can achieve the score you need is with the help from someone who has a deep understanding of the process and how to guide people through it.