The UCAT Revision Roadmap

UCAT Revision Tips

4/22/2022

A UCAT Revision Roadmap makes sure you cover everything to maximise your score and don't get lost along the way. So what should you include in your roadmap?

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

What should I do to help prepare me for the UCAT?

First, learn about the different sections of the UCAT and then drill down into the various types of questions within each subtest:

Familiarise yourself with UCAT timings. This is the most challenging part of the test for most students.

If you haven't already signed up for our Online UCAT course (used by the vast majority of UCAT takers), then try some free practice questions to get a feel for your strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, read through our UCAT FAQs to get up to speed on everything you need to know about the UCAT.

How do I assess my current ability before attempting questions?

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

1. Try around 1,000 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.

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.

How many mock exams should I do?

Aim to do at least 8-10 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. 

Find out 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. 

Sample 4-week UCAT prep plan

With this UCAT preparation plan, you can get through 5,007 questions in 4 weeks. Notice that this is 7 days a week, which will take its toll on your stress levels.

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

4-week UCAT prep plan

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. 

Key takeaway

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.

8-week UCAT prep plan

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 practise your areas of weakness.

Weeks 4-6

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

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 conserve your energy.

Key advice for one month before the UCAT

Graphic marking the first step in the UCAT Preparation timeline

Read the 'Good Medical Practice' by the GMC. It will inform you about the different duties of healthcare professionals and how they should respond to different scenarios, which is essential for the Situational Judgement section.

Try Medify's Skills Trainers to automatise your technique for each section, such as inference scanning for Verbal Reasoning (these are included with all UCAT courses).

Keep practising! A month sounds like a long time, but time will quickly vanish. Factor into your schedule days off (important!) and things you've already booked.

Set goals such as reaching a certain score by a certain date or time. These should be SMART goals.

The actual exam is 2 hours with no breaks in between, so practise at least 2 hours every day to build your mental stamina.

Key advice for one week before the UCAT

Graphic marking the second step in the UCAT Preparation timeline

At this point, you'll know the format of the exam inside out and have practised the questions enough times to get used to the timings. Do not stop revising and timing yourself. Keep doing mocks and past papers in exam conditions.

Prepare an environment where you cannot be interrupted for two consecutive hours and do each section in order without breaks.

Use the on-screen UCAT calculator, not a physical one, as you will not have access to a physical calculator. If you don't have a whiteboard for Decision Making/ Quantitative Reasoning, feel free to use a paper and pen. Make sure your notes are minimal and neat.

Niche down even further on your weaknesses - by this stage you should just be focusing on what you find hardest.

If it puts your mind at rest, you can check the average UCAT score, but remember that this is all about your personal journey and performance, so don't get hung up on that information!

Key advice for one day before the UCAT

Learn some mindfulness tricks to calm your exam stress.

Revision won't usually help you much at this stage and can actually leave you worse off. If you've stuck to your plan, you should know what you need to.

Check your UCAT test centre information, route, time etc. Get up an hour earlier than normal so you can arrive early without feeling flustered, rushed or stressed.

Get more tips for preparation on the day of your UCAT.

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.

You should also think about your strategy, such as where to apply if you get a low UCAT score and the differences between the UCAT and the BMAT, if you want to prepare for both.

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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