Hello, all my aspiring medics/dentists! Yet another UCAT test cycle has arrived! It was only two years ago that I was in the same position as you guys, gearing up to sit my UCAT. Though, at the time it was still called the UKCAT. I remember being sooo nervous about it. I read so many posts like this one and watched every UCAT related YouTube video out there. They always made me feel more prepared so I thought I should write my own for you guys.
If you have no idea what the UCAT is or how it works, and you are intrigued stop reading here and head over to ‘What is the UCAT’. But if you are fully up to speed let’s continue with the post!
A few months ago, this year’s UCAT was all very up in the air due to the current COVID pandemic. Luckily, it hasn’t managed to stop the UCAT sitting this year. Well, maybe that is much to your despair if you were hoping to get away with it like with the A-Level and GCSE situation. On a brighter note, they have made some great alterations. The latest update is that you now have the option to sit the UCAT at home, which I think is great! I definitely would have grabbed the opportunity to sit my UCAT test in my bedroom. And of course, the option travel to your local Pearson Vue test centre is still available.
1. Choose the best environment for you– Comfort is so key for any exam let alone a stressful exam like the UCAT! The added option of sitting it at home this year allows you to control the environment yourself. If you are going to be easily distracted at home think about choosing the test centre option. Ask yourself- do you revise better at home or the library? This should give you your optimal workspace to choose, home vs test centre!
2. Create a full game plan– To start, I want you to pull out your diary or notes app on your phone and create a plan. A full breakdown of what you are going to do the night before to up until you press finish on the exam. Planning the day is so important to make sure that you aren’t stressing over it. Preparing in advance will prevent you from using unnecessary brainpower on the actual day.
If I was to make my game plan today it would look a little something like this:
PM before UCAT
- Check the required documents to bring to the exam
- Pack bag/backpack
- Search up the route on maps to get to the test centre so I have a rough idea + schedule the time you will need to leave.
- Clean and set up workspace if sitting the test at home- including laying out all my resources
- Print my Do Not Disturb poster for the door of my workspace to let family members know.
AM of UCAT day
- Wake up and get ready for the day
- Eat breakfast
- Make sure workspace is ready if sitting at home
- Leave the house with PLENTY of time if sitting at the test centre
- Sit exam!
3. Wear comfortable clothes– Choosing your most comfortable clothes is so important in allowing you to relax. If this means sitting in your pyjamas in your bedroom sitting your exam, so be it! For me, it was leggings, a thin long-sleeved top and converses.
4. Use the resources available to you– In the UCAT you are allowed a whiteboard and pen to jot down your notes. Take full advantage of this. It’s best to get your thoughts on paper so you can visualise things instead of working everything out in your head.
5. Eliminate Noises- If you are sitting the UCAT in the test centre be sure to use the earplugs/headphones. This is because people often come in and out of the room and this can be quite distracting. Drown out all the slight noises with the earplugs! For home sittings, schedule a room with uninterrupted silence for the full 2-hours. Let everybody in your family know that you are doing the exam and that you need complete silence. Then download my free do not disturb printable to stick on the room door.
6. Don’t dwell on timings– Timings for the UCAT are the WORST. Seriously, if they gave everyone a few extra minutes per section, I’m sure test scores would skyrocket. We can all read through a passage and answer questions on it more or less perfectly if we had all the time in the world. So, a little bit of extra time wouldn’t hurt, right? Well, that is not the luxury we have with the UCAT, so the next best thing is to work smart. If you are struggling with a question guess, then flag it and move on. In that case, you can always come back to it at the end if you have time. But remember to guess the first time around just in case you don’t. Wasting precious time on one question will be detrimental to your score.
If you are still in your preparation phase head over to the previous post of my top UCAT test prep tips here to help you out! As always if you’ve read this far, be sure to subscribe to the blog to receive more posts like this in your inbox.