UCAT Q&A with Cara Leighton (Cara_Studies) – Episode 001

UCAT Q&A episode 1 Cara_studies

We reached out to past candidates that took the UCAT to get their thoughts on the test, and give their insight into how to prepare for the exam. Today’s Q&A session is with Cara (@Cara_Studies on Instagram), she offers amazing advice and insight into how she prepared for the exam to achieve an overall score of 2680.

Cara is a Year 13 student doing Biology, Chemistry and Maths at A level and Offer holder for Medicine at Cardiff University 2019/20.

What year did you take the UCAT?

2018

What was your overall UCAT score?

Total score: 2680 (average score: 670)
Situational Judgement: Band 3
Verbal Reasoning: 670
Decision Making: 700
Quantitive Reasoning: 740
Abstract Reasoning: 570

What was your strongest subtest and what advice would you give to prepare?

The Quantitive Reasoning subtest. I think the best way to prepare for quantitive reasoning is by practicing the questions in the time limit and coming up with a strategy to answer as many questions right as you can, as the timing for this section is very tight. To do this you need to be familiar with the types of questions that come up so that you know which ones you’re best at and prioritise them.

What was your weakest subtest and what advice would you give to prepare?

The Abstract Reasoning section. Before you can start practicing abstract reasoning in the time frame  I would say you need to be familiar with the types of patterns that they use and what they want you to see. Also make sure you’re familiar with the four different types of abstract reasoning questions they can ask you and know which ones you’re good at so you can prioritise them. Don’t be scared of moving on and then coming back to questions in this section as often the second time you look at them you see something different.

What resources did you use to prepare for the test?

The Medic Portal mock tests, The Medic Portal UCAT Course, the UCAT Consortium mock tests and question banks, 1250 UKCAT Practice Questions (book)

How did you go about preparing for the UCAT?

I started practicing questions from each section untimed to get used to the way the questions were worded and what answers they were looking for. After finishing my AS exams (2 months before the test) I started doing sections timed. I tried to focus more on the sections that I wasn’t as good at to try and improve my scores. About 2 weeks before the exam I started doing mock tests online and then practiced questions on the sections I wasn’t as good at.

How long did you prepare for the test?

I started doing just a few questions a week about 5 months before and then practiced for an hour or two a day in the last month before the test.

From a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being ‘really easy’ and 10 being ‘very hard’ How did you find the UCAT?

I would probably score the UCAT an 8. The test was difficult to get used to as it’s so different from any other exam I had done before and it did take a lot of preparation. However, I think it causes a lot more stress than it should as, even though it doesn’t feel like it, you can still get interviews and offers from plenty of medical schools if you don’t get a score quite as high as you would like.

Did you enroll on any UCAT course or tuition?

The Medic Portal UCAT Course (1 day)

How many interviews did you get for Medicine?

Two interviews – Cardiff University and University of Leicester

For more specific advice where can readers reach you?

Instagram – @cara_studies

Be sure to follow Cara on instagram to see how she gets on with her medicine journey! For more UCAT tips check out the rest of the blog.