A UCAT revision roadmap ensures you cover everything to maximise your score and don't get lost along the way.
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 that cover preparation for 12 months, 6 months and 2-3 months, to help set you up for UCAT success. Thinking about how to structure your revision well ahead of your UCAT exam will also enable you to balance UCAT study with other commitments.
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.
Finally, read through our UCAT FAQs to get up to speed on everything you need to know about the UCAT.
First, you'll need to know about the fundamentals of the exam, including what is being tested, what sections there are and how the exam is scored.
You should then assess your current ability before attempting any questions or diving into section-specific tutorials. This is known as a diagnostic test, as you're diagnosing your current abilities.
Medify’s UCAT Online Course contains a short diagnostic test that allows you to gauge which section needs most work.
You should then follow Medify’s recommended approach to UCAT preparation.
That depends on your natural ability in that subskill, as well as your learning speed.
No amount of questions can guarantee your success, but it is recommended that you go through at least 5000-10,000 questions to give you sufficient coverage of each section and question types.
Get more tips on how to prepare for the UCAT.
Aim to do at least eight mock exams during your UCAT preparation and ideally 20 or more. You should space them out throughout your preparation period so that you can regularly check how you’re doing.
There are a handful of mock exams on the official UCAT website which you can try. If you'd like more to practise with, our UCAT Online Course has 24 full mock exams which have been designed to emulate the real UCAT exam.
That depends quite a lot on your natural ability in each section, as the UCAT is an aptitude test.
In general, starting your preparation earlier (6-12 months before your UCAT) allows you to space out revision at a very manageable pace and gives you more time to work on weaker skills, which gives you a higher chance of doing well in the UCAT.
Some skilled students may achieve high scores by preparing for shorter durations, but we recommend at least 2-3 months of preparation to minimise stress levels and reduce the chance of burnout.
As we’ve previously highlighted, the best place to begin is to find out about the UCAT in general. From there, you can take a diagnostic mock, and then go through the following cycle:
1) Sit a mock exam – Simulate the UCAT exam to establish your ability level
2) Review your performance – Reflect on why you got certain questions wrong
3) View tutorials – Learn how to address your weaknesses
4) Do some practice questions/mini-mocks – Practise different strategies to experiment with what works best for you
After step 4, you should then attempt another mock (step 1) to restart the cycle. Repeating the mock/review/tutorial/question cycle above will enable you to continually improve your performance over time.
How many times you repeat this cycle and how far apart you space out the cycle is dependent on when you start preparing. For example, if you start eight months before your UCAT exam, you’ll be able to get through 29 mock exams (one diagnostic mock + four official UCAT mocks + 24 Medify mocks) at a leisurely pace of one cycle per week.
On the other hand, if you only have eight weeks to prepare for the UCAT, you might want to do two cycles per week. This wouldn’t get you through all available materials, but is still a decent amount of preparation if you’re able to handle the pace.
You should spend a few weeks learning about the UCAT, including timings, an overview of each of the UCAT sections, how the UCAT is scored, and so on.
As you’ll be spreading your preparation out over 12 months, you can spend longer becoming familiar with the UCAT at the start, compared to those who are preparing for less time.
Once you have a good understanding of the UCAT and what’s involved, you’ll want to aim for one mock/review/tutorial/question cycle per week to a fortnight.
Consistency is key – it’s better to do less but more frequently in order to build momentum over time, rather than cram in a lot every now and then.
Of course, our 12 month UCAT preparation plan is only a guide, and you should adapt your workload depending on other commitments and availability.
While 6 months is still plenty of time to prepare for the UCAT, you’ll want to increase the pace of study a little more compared to the 12 month preparation plan.
For instance, you should also aim for one mock/review/tutorial/question cycle per week, but then increase this to two cycles per week during the holidays leading up to the UCAT.
Although 2-3 months of preparation will be sufficient for some students, compared to the 6 month and 12 month revision plans, there is additional pressure to get up to speed quicker.
For instance, instead of spending weeks learning about the UCAT at a leisurely pace, you should only dedicate a day or so to this.
And rather than doing a mock/review/tutorial/question cycle per week at any point, you’ll want to skip ahead to two cycles per week throughout the entire preparation period.
Try your best to stay consistent – studying a little every day will be more impactful than studying for long periods with big breaks in between.
It’s more likely that individuals who study for less time will feel more stressed and anxious than those who study for longer, so it’s essential that you look after your mental health during this time.
After doing a diagnostic test, you can follow our 12 month, 6 month, or 2-3 month UCAT preparation plan. Focus on the sections that you struggle with and adapt your plan every day.
Start with untimed practice before moving on to mini-mocks and finally full mocks.
Our number one piece of advice would be to give yourself as much time as needed to get the highest possible result while avoiding burnout.
Although this will vary from person to person, we will always advocate for revising for less hours a day over a longer period of time, rather than more hours a day over a shorter period of time.
While it certainly is possible to succeed in the UCAT with less than 2-3 months preparation, it’s likely that it will be more challenging to achieve high scores.
Remember, there are far fewer places than applicants for medicine and dentistry, so leaving a few extra weeks couldn’t hurt!
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