You only get one shot each year so don’t rush into taking the UKCAT, it’s an important part of your medical or dental application. Preparing for the test without an effective strategy will most likely result in achieving a low score…
To help make sure you are preparing effectively this article covers some key questions to ask yourself before taking your UKCAT.
What is the minimum score I need?
This is the first question on the list, if you do not know the answer to this then it most likely means you haven’t researched into your choices properly. You need to fully understand how universities use the UKCAT and use the information to set a target score. Without a target score for your practice tests and mocks there is no way of knowing when you are ready to take UKCAT.
Which 4 Universities will I apply to if I achieve my target score?
Picking your final 4 choices is actually harder than what most students might think because medicine and dentistry are so competitive. You need to be a bit more strategic, picking 1 of your ideal choices then maybe a couple other universities that do not rely heavily on the UKCAT. I recommend researching into all the schools that use the UKCAT as well as the universities that do not require the UKCAT. Figure out how much emphasis all schools put on the UKCAT, this will help with making a more informed shortlist for your final.
Which 4 Universities will I apply to if I don’t hit my target?
Hopefully you wont achieve below your target score. However, you need to have a back up plan regardless. Have a shortlist of universities you’ll consider if you score below your target score. However, do bear in mind your decile ranking as well, a score below target might still be in the top percentile and be fine if your choices do not have a cut-off. So do double check.
What are my weakest areas in the exam?
If you do not know your weakness in the UKCAT then you haven’t taken enough time to assess your skills, to do well in the UKCAT you need to consistently improve your skill and assess your progress along way. The best way to identify your weakness is by attempting the official UKCAT practice tests without no prior preparation this will identify where your natural capabilities lie. The results from this will help with identifying weak areas to work on.
What strategy and techniques can I adopt to improve my weakness?
Taking the UKCAT without an action plan for each subtest will not end well. If you do not have a well detailed and laid out strategy for each section of the exam then you are not ready. How do you plan on saving on time on the verbal section? How do you plan on dealing with abstract questions you can’t find the patterns for straightaway? How will you attempt difficult quantitative questions?