My guide to the UKCAT

The UKCAT is the part of the application that you have control of, so it’s important that you prepare fully to maximise your score.

The UKCAT is out of 900, with an average score being 600 and the closer the score is to 700 or above the better! It consists of 4 sections Verbal reasoning VR, Quantitative Reasoning QR, Abstract Reasoning AR, and Decision Analysis DA. This year a trial of judgement took place which suggests it may appear in future years.

My favourite sections are AR and DR with QR being my weakest as I haven’t studied maths since GCSE (although it was my second strongest in the exam with a score of 710 which I think was just down to a good day and a good set of questions!)

My preparation last year consisted of using a second-hand out of date book, attending a Kaplan Course and using the official UKCAT practice tests. Now this was sufficient to get an above average score of 630, but not really a competitive score. This year I ensured I used a wider range of resources. I still had my Kaplan Book, used the 600 UKCAT Q book, 2 sets of tests on career gym, and over 20 different sources over about 3 weeks of intense revision. This gave me a score of 697.5 which is far more competitive.

I must point out that the resources are not all accurate as for example I got 19% in the career gym QR section, and a score of 548 in QR 600Q mock but on the day a score of 710. Similarly DR was my strongest in all practices but I got 660 on the day which is still pretty good! So the best way to counteract this is to use as may resources as possible.

My number 1 tip would be just to ‘mark and move on’, this ensured that I didn’t run out of time and miss easier questions due to spending too long on a harder one. This is especially important in QR where you are the most pushed for time. This allowed me to have 3 mins to go over the harder questions in QR, 2 mins in VR, 8 mins in AR, and 1 min in DR!

Also in comparison to last time I was much more relaxed which definitely helped; my way of relaxing was listening to my favourite song by my favourite band and dancing around to it in my room (‘lovers in japan – coldplay’ for those of you who would like to know!) .  Between each section I sang it in my head and tapped my foot along to the beat which was a nice distraction away from the test, even if it’s only for 40 seconds or so!  Last year I was so shaky and nervous for VR which is first that I scored 590, this time I scored 660. Take a few deep breaths before you begin the exam until your heart rate is as constant as it can be given the pressure!

With the UKCAT practice makes perfect – the content of the test itself is not hard, it is just the fact that you have  to do everything in so little time. I gave myself 30 secs per question in VR and QR, 1 min per question in DA, and approx 20 seconds to find the pattern in AR!

I hope this helps anyone who is going to take the UKCAT – if you have anymore questions, do let me know!

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