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 Clara Reeves (@Clara._.Studies on Instagram), she offers amazing advice and insight into how she prepared for the exam to achieve an overall score of 2950.
Clara is an A level student studying Maths, Biology and Chemistry hoping to study medicine in September 2019!
What year did you take the UCAT?
What was your overall UCAT score?
Total score: 2950 (average score: 737.5)
Situational Judgement: Band 1
Verbal Reasoning: 740
Decision Making: 870
Quantitive Reasoning: 690
Abstract Reasoning: 650
What was your strongest subtest and what advice would you give to prepare?
Decision making – although I’d never scored 870 in any practices! What really helped with this was becoming familiar with the types of questions, such as syllogisms and decisions based on interpreting numerical data. Also, utilising the whiteboard you have available really helps, I just made quick notes for some question types to layout the information from the question so I could more easily and quickly draw conclusions from it, particularly when the question gives lots of information about many different people, for example, food orders, which take a little more time to interpret. Also, I decided my strategy would be to do the question types I found easier first and then flag and come back to questions like the one I just described, which take more time.
What was your weakest subtest and what advice would you give to prepare?
Abstract reasoning – I found the timing very difficult to manage in this test so my strategy was to take my time (within reason!) on the first half and try to identify the patterns to get some correct answers! Also, educated guesses where my best friend when it came to AR because sometimes 2 of the answers looked unlikely immediately and so I took a guess between the 2 which were left. During revision, I made a note of many of the patterns I came across in an attempt to get used to the types of patterns that appear and this helped somewhat to get my brain thinking the way I needed to for AR.
What resources did you use to prepare for the test?
UKCAT 1250 questions book (briefly used this!), Medify 1 month subscription (this was so useful and good at replicating exam conditions, more so than the official UKCAT mocks in my opinion). I also used resources such as the MEDIC BLOG and the Medic portal for tips and helpful strategies.
How did you go about preparing for the UCAT?
I bought Medify a month before and started off by doing one full mock test which I would really recommend because it enabled to me to identify my weaker areas so that I would be able to dedicate more time to these. Then I started doing timed practice questions and mini mocks on medify, eventually moving on to full mock tests as it got closer to my test. I also made notes on tips and strategies from medify and youtube videos, and I trialled these in mock tests to find the ones most effective for me. For SJT I made notes of key ideas I’d identify as I went through questions and this helped me improve from a band 3 initially to managing a band 1 on test day as all the questions revolve around similar themes.
How long did you prepare for the test?
About 4 weeks, I worked part-time so did about 3-4 hours every couple of days in the month leading up to my 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 score it a 7 because in general, I found the questions manageable but the main issue was timing which adds so much pressure to the whole thing!
In hindsight, anything you wish you had done differently during Revision?
I booked my test for the end of August, which was a mistake for me as I worried about it all summer, but make sure to give yourself enough time to practice for it as well. During revision, I used the UKCAT 1300 question book briefly but personally didn’t find it helpful as I now realise that simulation of the test environment such as doing online tests was most beneficial to me, so make sure to identify resources which are actually helping improve your score.
Did you enrol on any UCAT course or tuition?
How many interviews did you get for Medicine?
I got 3/3 interviews for Medicine (Newcastle, St Andrews and Liverpool) and 3/4 offers (St Andrews, Liverpool and Edinburgh)
For more specific advice where can readers reach you?
@clara._.studies on Instagram, I’m always happy to answer any questions!