Theme: Prospective Medics
As a prospective UK med student, one of the many stages of the lengthy medical application process involves sitting the admissions tests to get into university. In my case, there are 2 that I will have to sit: the UCAT, formerly known as the UKCAT and the BMAT. Whilst the first testing date of the UCAT is still many weeks away, and too far into my summer for me to start any official preparation, I can’t help but feeling anxious about getting a head start. Resources recommend that you spend around 4-6 weeks doing intensive prep for this aptitude test but the fact that i’m conscious of the approaching UCAT period without having anything to do is definitely adding to my stress levels.
As a result, I’ve turned to a pre UCAT study routine that really just involves familiarising myself with the content of the test and any tips and tricks that past students have used to maximise their scores, before it is time to do practice questions intensively. Whilst youtube videos and websites have been my main source of ‘UCAT prep prep’, I was fortunate enough to come across the ACE the UCAT course e book online - who reached out to us via social media.
As someone who feels safety in having content to revise/memorise rather than relying solely on performance on the exam day, this UCAT course book really helped settle my nerves in terms of understanding what the test entails and particular methods and techniques to apply when answering the questions.
You’ve probably heard YouTubers say that they’d never endorse or promote a product if they truly didn’t believe it was great - and as cliche and rehearsed as it may sound - I feel the same way about this e book. Prior to reading it I was a nervous wreck, with little idea on what the test looked like and how to approach each question, but after a thorough read and making notes I feel so much more confident going into the actual prep that I plan to do in the coming weeks.
Not only was this e-book written by a previous student who scored over 835 and band 1 in the situational judgement section - which is a score in the 99th percentile - but it is a comprehensive guide that encapsulates almost everything you need to be aware of before you start practising. I should also mention that this e book gives advice for both the UK and AUS/ANZ versions of the UCAT so it is super versatile for both versions of the test!
For those of you who aren’t aware, the UCAT admissions test comprises 5 main sections that tests different skills that medical schools believe are pertinent to clinicians. There’s verbal reasoning which looks at your ability to infer information from texts. Quantitative reasoning tests your problem solving and mathematical skills. Abstract reasoning tests your non verbal skills as it requires you to determine patterns and scrutinise shapes. Decision making determines how well you can logically reason out a problem, and situational judgement which focuses on one’s ability to judge clinical situations using knowledge of medical practice and ethics.
This e-book gives you a detailed breakdown of each section, sharing with you the best method to approach the question, time management, guessing techniques if you’re really unsure/run out of time and key points to keep in mind such as mathematical formulas and little ‘life hacks’ to help answer the questions. Alongside all of this section-specific advice, the book provides insight on more general aspects of the UCAT such as general exam technique, keyboard shortcuts and the best resources available to help you maximise your score.
At a cost of only £14.99, I would highly recommend investing in this online guide because the information you may pick up here and there has been condensed to one document that you can have on hand and refer to whenever you want. Ace the UCAT also offers full bursaries to anyone who has had free school meals, bursaries or universal credit during their time at school so that everyone has the opportunity to access what I think is genuinely a great resource. If you’re planning to sit the UCAT this year, you can access the guide at www.acetheucat.com, and I wish you the best of luck with your studies!