UCAT (UKCAT) Tips & Techniques

Written By Doctors Scoring In The Top UCAT Decile

Time Aware-Time Efficient

How long do you have for each UCAT question? This answer should be at the tip of your tongue; the main reason for poor UCAT performance is a lack of time awareness. Let’s break it down and make this tip one to remember:

UCAT Verbal Reasoning
21 Minutes, 44 Questions
 Time for each Passage & Set of 4 Questions = 2 minutes (or just under)
Passage Reading Time: 45-60 Seconds
Time for each question = 15 seconds

UCAT Decision Making
31 Minutes
29 Questions
Time for each question = 
64 Seconds

UCAT Abstract Reasoning
13 Minutes
11 Sets with 5 Shapes/Questions for Each (ie. 55 Questions)
Time for each question =
12 Seconds

UCAT Situational Judgement
26 Minutes
69 Questions
Time for each question = 22 Seconds

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning
24 Minutes
36 Questions
Time for each question = 40 Seconds

​Section Specific Tips & Techniques

​Whilst time awareness is a requirement for all UCAT sections, each of the 5 UCAT Sections (& numerous sub-sections) require their own specific techniques:

​Students attending a BlackStone Tutors UCAT Course will be taught a range of trusted, time-saving techniques including the aforementioned.
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Reflect The Exam Environment

The second most common reason for poor exam performance is a lack of pre-exam simulation. In order to minimise unnecessary stress and time pressure on the examination day, ensure that all UCAT practice within 1 month of your examination reflects the examination environment.

Timed UCAT Practice
Online UCAT Calculator
Official UCAT Platform
Whiteboard & Pen (No A4 Pukka Pads)
Quiet (preferably computer based) Environment, with no Instagram, Facebook, Twitter accessible!

Before V After: Structure Your UCAT Preparation

Effective UCAT preparation requires an understanding of the following key areas prior to taking the examination:
When Should I Start Studying for UCAT?
When Should I Book my UCAT?
Making the most of your UCAT score requires an understanding of the following key areas after taking your UCAT examination:
 What Is a Good Score on the UCAT?
How Universities use my UCAT Score?a

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Recognise Your Strengths & Weaknesses

Each student will have their own preferred UCAT sections as well as less preferred areas. This itself is not a bad thing, especially if you recognise and act on these areas requiring additional focus. Simple measures such as reading broadsheet newspapers (Verbal Reasoning) and practicing mental maths (Quantitative Reasoning) can also be very useful.

However, in most cases, areas of weakness are the result of poor technique rather than a lack of knowledge, and adopting a structured technique such as the 3 Step Approach to Abstract Reasoning, in combination with NASSSS can help students immeasurably.

Keyboard Shortcuts

To maximise time-efficiency, we would strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with keyboard shortcuts, and utilise this in daily practice. We have compiled a list of the most important keyboard shortcuts which can be found here.

Further Reading....

UCAT (UKCAT) Tips & Techniques

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