How Long Should I Prepare for the UCAT and How Many Practice Questions Should I Do?

Starting to think about UCAT revision?

Since the UCAT doesn’t test your academic knowledge or your scientific understanding, it can be difficult to work out how to prepare. There’s no textbook to memorise, no specification to read and no past papers to try. 

This article offers several revision plans with the number of questions required per day and suggested time frames.

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Goals for UCAT preparation infographic.


How many questions should I do per section?

That depends on your natural ability in that subskill, as well as your learning speed. No amount of questions can guarantee your success, but going through 5,000-10,000 questions (as outlined in the 4-week and 8-week sample plans below) will give you sufficient coverage of each section.

Get more tips on how to prepare for the UCAT.

Before deciding how many questions to do, see where you stand

This is known as a diagnostic test - you are diagnosing your current abilities.

1. Try around a thousand questions (200 per section) to get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and familiarise yourself with the questions. 

2. The next step is to tailor your revision to your weakest areas. 

This could be entire sections, such as Quantitative Reasoning (QR) or Verbal Reasoning (VR), or it could be subsections, such as percentage increase for QR. Try to work this out as you go. 

This helps avoid the trap of gravitating towards your strengths, which will leave you in a weaker position on test day.

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How many mock exams should I do?

Aim to do at least 8 to 10 mock exams during your UCAT preparation. You should space them out throughout your preparation period so that you can regularly check how you’re doing. 

The official UCAT question bank only has 4 mock exams, whereas Medify’s Online UCAT Course has 21 Full Mock Exams that match the style of the official UCAT, even down to the calculator design. 

How to use mock exams to prepare for the UCAT effectively.

How long should I study for the UCAT? 

That depends quite a lot on your natural ability in each section, as the UCAT is an aptitude test.

We recommend 6 weeks as an intermediate figure. Some people will need 4, some will need 10+ to avoid burnout. The first step to answering this question is to do a diagnostic test (UCAT practice test) and see where you need to improve most.

If you need considerable improvement across the board, then leave 8+ weeks to revise. 

Find the average UCAT score for each section or alternatively try UCAT practice questions and a diagnostic test.

Sample 4-week UCAT prep plan

With this UCAT preparation plan, you can get through 5007 questions in 4 weeks. Notice that this is 7 days a week, which will take its toll on your stress levels.

Use Medify’s UCAT course to practice and make sure you are prepared for an intensive month!


Week 1:  

Focus on learning the question types and developing strategies to practise them. 

Week 2: 

Do half the questions required for each subsection. It’s okay if you don’t do questions under timed conditions. At this stage, just get used to the test. Medify has untimed mocks to help at this stage.

Take time to work on your mistakes and watch video tutorials (included in the course) to help you answer the questions better. 

Weeks 3&4:

Spend 2.5 hours per session; 2 hours for practice questions and 30 minutes reflecting on mistakes and developing your revision plan. 

General points:

Avoid distraction at all costs.

Take breaks to maximise your quality of concentration.

4 weeks of UCAT preparation is not ideal, but it is doable. You’ll have to work flat out and won’t get through as many questions. 

Sample 8-week UCAT prep plan 

In this plan, you’ll do 13,548 questions over the 8 weeks.

Week 1: 

Familiarise yourself with the exam and try to work out your strengths and weaknesses. Avoid diving straight into timed practice, as it can be demotivating.

Weeks 2&3: 

Start to practice your areas of weakness.

Weeks 4,5&6: 

Drill down with increasing accuracy on weaknesses. If necessary, just practise one section.

Read the following tips articles to improve your performance:

Verbal Reasoning tips

Decision Making tips

Quantitative Reading tips

Abstract Reasoning tips

Situational Judgment tips

Weeks 7 & 8:

Start to put the final touches on your revision. Focus on timed practice and take full timed UCAT mocks.

Be sure to take a break at least a day or two before the test to recharge your batteries and learn to deal with exam stress.

Summary

After doing a diagnostic test, you can follow our 4 and 8-week UCAT preparation plans.

Focus on the sections which you struggle with and adapt your plan every day.

Start with untimed practice before moving on to mini mocks and finally full mocks.

Leave yourself whatever amount of time you need to get the highest possible result and avoid burnout. Remember, there are far fewer places than applicants for medicine and dentistry, so leaving a few extra weeks couldn’t hurt!

Keep checking UCAT and admissions news for the latest updates.

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