A strong UCAT score can single handedly unlock a medical school interview – some universities use only this test for their ranking, rather than making use of grades. As such, it’s absolutely vital that you secure as high a score as possible. Here, we will work through core strategies and tips to improve your score.
How to Improve your UCAT Score
Improving your UCAT score is a complex process. You will need to begin in good time. You should start by creating a study schedule. This will help you stay focused and motivated, and will ensure that you progress towards your goal of performing well in the UCAT. Make a schedule that works for you, sets aside at least 6 weeks, and allows you to peak at the right time. Ideally, you should allow as much as eight weeks of preparation time, so that you can work in a more relaxed manner. Work through each of the five different subtests: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Situational Judgement, and consider which areas are stronger or weaker domains for you.
Then, make use of the practice tests and materials provided not just by our online course, (more on which below) but also those available for free on the UCAT consortium site. Slightly varying your preparation in this way will ensure that you are as confident as possible when it comes to the real exam. Ensure that you simulate test conditions as closely as possible – that means timing yourself and working under exam conditions.
You should begin to introduce timed preparation over time – begin with simply understanding the content and how to approach it, then introduce the element of time pressure when you are confident in the content. You must make a concerted effort to improve and reduce weaknesses over time. You may do this by reviewing your practice test results, reviewing the materials provided by your online course, and seeking additional help from a UCAT exam tutor if necessary.
UCAT Online Courses
An online UCAT course will provide students with an interactive and convenient way to learn and practise for the UCAT. At BlackStone Tutors, our online UCAT course is the result of years of experience, iteration, and feedback. It combines the following:
– You are able to practise when you want, and work at your preferred pace, with the assistance of more than 40 prep videos, UCAT practice examinations, access to specific UCAT techniques, and more than 10 hours of preparation tips and content
– All our content is updated for 2023 to ensure that it is in-line with the latest updates to the test
– All of our UCAT techniques are the result of 10 years of experience
– Whilst there are many online UCAT courses available, the best UCAT preparation course will be one that provides not just practice material, but as accurate a replica of the test as is possible. Very few few have the breadth of questions that we do at BlackStone Tutors, or as accurate a replica of the real UCAT exam format
– Our UCAT course has reviews and testimonials from past students across the world, allowing you to gather a sense of the quality of the course and the level of support provided by the instructors.
UCAT Good Scores
The total UCAT total score is between 1200 and 3600 points for Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning, as each section being a score between 300 and 900. The Situational Judgement section uses ‘Bands’ rather than points. In this section, full marks are given for the most correct answer, and partial marks given to the second best answer. These raw scores are converted to 4 ‘Bands’, with Band 1 being the highest and Band 4 the lowest.In terms of a ‘good score’ you need to consider the universities that you are applying to.
In general, a score of 700 in each section – thus a total of 2800 – would be considered strong, whilst a score of 3000 overall (or 750 in each section) would be considered exceptional. In fact, a good UCAT score means that you should apply to particular universities – for example, if you have a great score, then you could apply to Edinburgh, King’s College London, or other schools that use the UCAT heavily in their ranking process.
UCAT Practice Tests
UCAT practice tests are designed to simulate the actual test, providing candidates with a realistic experience of the test format, question types, and time constraints. The practice tests help candidates to identify their strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to develop a targeted study plan to improve their performance. Moreover, practising the UCAT tests can boost your confidence and reduce test anxiety, as you become more familiar with the test format and content.
There are various types of UCAT practice tests available, including free and paid options. Free practice tests are an excellent starting point for candidates who want to get a feel for the test and identify their areas of weakness. Many online resources provide free UCAT practice tests, including the official UCAT website, which offers one free practice test to registered candidates. However, free practice tests may not provide comprehensive feedback or detailed explanations, which can limit their effectiveness in improving your performance.
Paid UCAT practice tests are more comprehensive and offer candidates a more accurate representation of the actual test. These practice tests provide detailed feedback on your performance, including explanations of correct and incorrect answers and detailed statistics on your progress. Paid practice tests also include additional resources, such as study materials, practice questions, and mock tests, which can further enhance your preparation. For example, at BlackStone Tutors our Question Bank will include not just hundreds of questions – far more than you would find through the official UCAT practice materials – but numerous tips and techniques that will ensure you are able to approach questions much more efficiently than you otherwise could.
You should both work through a number of practice questions and take full-length mock practice exams before you take the actual test. These latter practice tests should be taken under test-like conditions, including the allotted time for each section – and you should have no distractions. Using a good quality question bank – like that offered here at BlackStone Tutors – will allow you to analyse your results and thus identify areas of weakness and to develop a targeted study plan to improve those areas.
Therefore you should be clear that UCAT practice tests are a vital component of preparing for the UCAT exam. A practice test provides candidates with a realistic experience of the test format, question types, and time constraints, enabling them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop a targeted study plan. You must take advantage of the various free and paid UCAT practice tests available to improve your performance and increase your chances of success in the actual test – as other candidates will be doing just this to maximise their own chances.
First, you should carefully manage your time.The UCAT is a time-pressured exam, and you need to complete each section within the allotted time. Time management is crucial, and it’s essential to practise working quickly and efficiently under time constraints. Time management skills are also helpful in deciding which questions to answer first and which to leave for later. Through practising, you can understand exactly how long to spend on each question – and when you need to move on to the next.
Next, you should have a strategy for each section of the UCAT – this can help you save time, avoid mistakes, and maximise your score. For instance, in Verbal Reasoning, you can learn how to quickly identify keywords in passages.
You should ensure that you are familiar with the test interface. The UCAT is computer-based, and it’s essential to become familiar with the test interface before taking the exam. Familiarising yourself with the interface can help you navigate through the test quickly and easily. Using a UCAT Question Bank that accurately replicates the test – like that offered here at BlackStone Tutors – will ensure that you are confident and efficient in the test itself.
Ensure that your reading speed is adequate – or that you work through techniques that allow you to digest information more quickly. The UCAT has multiple sections that test your reading speed and comprehension. Improving your reading speed can help you save time, and you can do this by practising reading passages quickly and effectively. Work to pick up on keywords and understand them in context.
Remember that the purpose of practice tests is to iterate and develop your approach – after taking practice tests, it’s essential to review your mistakes and learn from them. Understanding your mistakes can help you identify your weaknesses, improve your performance, and develop better strategies for tackling similar questions. You should be able to recognise set types of questions that you find to be more or less difficult, and thus know what to focus on in the exam.