As it’s Valentine’s Day we thought we would get into the spirit of the occasion and remind you how amazing you are, just in case you have forgotten. The UCAT is difficult, just like a career in medicine is difficult and sometimes we can feel like it is all too much. So here are some words of wisdom and motivation from a group of final year medical students we managed to catch on their coffee break, to remind you why medicine is for you and why self-love is so important when revising for your UCAT.
Pretty much everyone remembers their UCAT journey quite clearly. It’s one that will stay with you for a while. One of the medical students went as far as to say that it may have been the hardest part of the whole medical school admissions journey as the UCAT is more about practising techniques rather than studying, memorising and applying knowledge to answer questions on an exam paper.
“I’ll be honest with you, like my driving test, it took me two attempts to pass my UCAT. At times I wanted to give up and would be quite unkind to myself for failing the first time around. This would inevitably lead me into a deep depression and I’d lose focus as to why I wanted to enter a career in medicine in the first place. Until one day I asked myself “how much do you really want this? If not medicine then what else are you going to do?”
I was one of those typical kids who after receiving a plastic doctor’s kit one Christmas and dressing up the dog as an assisting nurse had decided on a life long career in medicine by the age of 4 and had it all mapped out by the age of 9. My career plans had never changed. Was I really going to let the UCAT destroy my life long dream?
Here are three motivational steps a few of the final year medical students took to get themselves back on the beating the UCAT path:
“After having a firm but loving word with myself, I spent some time drawing out a colourful poster of why I wanted to be a doctor and stuck it up on my cork-board above my study desk. I love science and have a passion for helping people; I want to research and find cures for diseases and travel the world helping people to fight those diseases. This is my why, but the stress of the UCAT would make me forget this. So every time I was struggling I’d see my colourful why poster and would get straight back to attempting to beat the UCAT.” Why not make your own why poster? It’s definitely worth a try.
“At the beginning of studying for the UCAT I would avoid reflecting on my weaknesses at all costs. Medify’s UCAT Online Course has a great performance dashboard which I would purposely avert my eyes from so as not to feel the pain of failing.”
“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful” Margaret J. Wheatly
Whenever you find yourself browsing Amazon or ‘quickly’ checking out YouTube when you should be practising for the UCAT, try to recognise that you’re avoiding a difficult situation, as a doctor you would be faced with difficult situations on a regular, unavoidable basis. The only way to overcome difficulties is to actually go through the difficulties; to feel the fear and do it anyway.
“I would reflect on my performance and focus on my weaknesses. This helped me build my resilience and eventually, I saw my scores improve. I reflect on absolutely everything I do in order to grow, learn and attain new skills.”
It is all about what mindset you choose to have. Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” Be in control of your fears, thoughts and feelings and always choose the mindset of ‘I can’ and reflect on your UCAT performance.
How we talk to ourselves makes such a huge difference to how we feel, think and behave. We have the power to talk ourselves out of something and the power to talk ourselves into something. However, when things become hard, we tend to talk ourselves out of it.
“The first year I attempted the UCAT, a couple of my friends were practising for the UCAT too. They would text me when they were struggling and I would text back with words of support and encouragement. During practising for my second UCAT attempt, I decided to take stock of how I was talking to myself and remembered how I would talk to my friends when they were struggling and on the verge of giving up. I thought ‘Why don’t we talk to ourselves like that?’ So every time I heard myself say “I’m no good at this” I’d then add on yet. “I’m no good at this yet!” The more I said it to myself, the more determined it made me feel.”
“A good friend once said to me that it’s good to be self-aware and honest with yourself but it’s just as important to be kind to yourself and acknowledge what you have achieved. Treat yourself with the same respect and care as you would others that are going through similar things.”
So next time you hear that negative voice saying “I’m not going to pass the UCAT” take back control and say “I’m not going to pass the UCAT yet because I’m not done being awesome at practising the UCAT.”
What was interesting about hearing this group of final year medical students talk about their UCAT experience and what techniques they used to get them through it was that they have carried these coping strategies through to medical school and other areas of their life as well as incorporating other techniques along the way.
It is clear that it is not about how hard something is, it’s about how you approach it and the mindset you decide to have, hence the cliche “you can achieve anything you put your mind to”.
We can’t say it’s going to be easy but we can say it’s going to be worth it.
Just keep going.
All the best
Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious? Please don’t worry, head over to our UCAT 2020 Online Course and we’ll get you signed up to guide you through this whole process.
We have a bank of over 10,000 questions, a decision-making section, and 8 full mock exams and 18 mini-mock exams; we even give you performance feedback too.
We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009. Medify’s here to support you, just reach out to us.