Common UMAT Rumours

Rumour #1 – UMAT cannot be prepared

UMAT assesses the logical reasoning ability of a person, that is, the ability to make sound decisions based on the evidence without the influence of emotional preference and assumptions. The question you need to ask yourself is ‘have I gotten better at making sound decisions (i.e. logical reasoning) compared to when I was five years old?’. If your answer is yes, then clearly logical reasoning is something you can get better at and therefore be improved. What stops most students from successfully preparing for UMAT is the method. Read HERE to learn the best method for UMAT preparation. 

Category Result: Frankly untrue!

 

Rumour #2 – Practising questions and doing past papers is the best way to master the UMAT

Like math tests, the UMAT assesses the skills of a person to ‘figure out’ a question. If a student learns the methods (i.e. skills) to solve math questions, guess what, the math questions become much easier to do. Learning UMAT works the same way. Now, imagine if you went to math class and your teacher did zero teaching for a new topic but just gave you questions from last year’s exams to do. To no one’s surprise, you will probably find doing the questions confusing and frustrating. Learning the techniques well, to begin with ALWAYS trumps practising questions with no prior knowledge any day of the week.

Category Result: Frankly untrue!

 

Rumour #3 -  The best strategy to working out section 2 questions (understanding people) is by picking the answer that would most resonate with you if you are the character in the question stimulus

·         Question: Why does UMAT assess a person’s ability to understand others?

·         Answer: To see whether the person can accurately identify the emotions of OTHERS as an indicator for effective communication

·         Question: Can you accurately identify someone else’s feelings by assuming they would feel the same way as you in a particular circumstance?

·         Answer: No.

The whole point of understanding people is to understand THEM, not assume they are the same as you. Understanding people is achieved by carefully observing their behaviour, body language, choice of vocabulary, the mannerism of speech, etc. when you interact with them and making a decision (based on this evidence) about the kind of emotion they are experiencing. In short, the more sensitive and observant you are about others, the more likely you are to interpret their emotions correctly. The rumour describes a process which is opposite to the logical method to know someone better; you are assuming that person has the same emotions as you. Doesn’t make any sense!

Category Result: So far from the truth its surprising people even believe in it!

 

Rumour #4 – Getting 100th percentile in the UMAT is nearly impossible

Having coached UMAT for the last ten years, you start seeing some interesting trends. The most interesting of these trends is the raw mark (out of 300 total marks across three sections) students get and their corresponding percentiles. Here are the approximate trends:

To achieve 50th percentile:

If a student achieved an overall score around 150/300 marks (averages out to be 50/100 per section), they tend to receive an overall percentile of 50th percentile (meaning that your overall score is in the top 50% of all test takers who sat UMAT in the same year).

To achieve 100th percentile:

If a student achieved an overall score around 210/300 marks (averages out to be 70/100 per section), they tend to receive an overall percentile of 100th percentile (meaning that your overall score is in the top 1% of all test takers who sat UMAT in the same year). Another way to think about UMAT as if it’s a super hard exam where the top mark out of everyone who sat it was 70%.

Here is the scary part:

The difference between the marks per section between a person who achieves 50th percentile compared to 100th percentile is a mere 20 marks. We can extrapolate for every extra mark you gain over 50 marks, your percentile will dramatically increase. If we were to do one more calculation, which is finding out how many marks on average is assigned to each UMAT question, we would find that there is an average of 2.24 marks allocated per question (300 marks divided by a total of 134 questions).

Conclusion:

·         A mere 20 marks separates a result of 50th percentile and 100th percentile

·         An average of 2.24 marks is allocated to each UMAT question

·         Therefore, the number of extra questions a person needs to answer correctly to move from 50th to 100th is only 8.93 questions.

Doesn’t sound as nearly as impossible as you originally thought right? I believe the reason as to why students are not getting an extra nine questions correct is due to the mistakes they make during preparation. Read HERE to learn about the types of mistakes you should avoid when preparing for UMAT.

Category Result: Frankly untrue!

Rumour #5 – If you are better at English, you have a better chance of doing well in the UMAT

Yes, section 1 and 2 of the UMAT is written in English. Therefore, for you to do well in them requires you to have a firm grasp of the English language, enough to accurately interpret the question stimulus, question stem and what each of the answer options means. Students may need to extend their vocabulary to achieve better comprehension. However, success in the UMAT is much more dependent on the logical reasoning techniques you apply when answering questions. See HERE and HERE to view these techniques. In summary, you need to have a certain degree of English to attempt the exam, but your English skills alone will not get you top marks.

Category Result: Somewhat true!

 

Rumour #6 – UMAT questions assesses scientific knowledge and math skills

ACER states that UMAT is an aptitude test that assesses attributes and abilities. It specifically says the test is not curriculum-based and does not expect candidates to have a foundation in any secondary school subjects with a specific mention of knowledge and skills in mathematics or sciences (source: https://umat.acer.edu.au/about-umat/introduction).

UMAT results form part of your application alongside academic results (e.g. ATAR or GPA) and the outcome of the interview. Your academic results already express your academic prowess, which would make no sense for UMAT to assess the same thing again. If you find any practice questions from online websites or forums, private tutors or UMAT prep companies that require you to know specific mathematical or scientific knowledge and skill, you can be sure that whoever wrote the questions do not understand what UMAT is all about. Time to throw the questions into the bin!

Category Result: Frankly untrue!

 

Rumour #7 – The earlier you start preparing for the UMAT, the better the chance you have in achieving a greater score

There are no disadvantages with starting preparation early. In fact, if you ask students who are sitting UMAT this year, most of them would tell you an earlier start would have helped give them more time and less pressure to study for the exam. However, it is important to note that there is no direct causal relationship between how much time you spend in preparation for an exam and the mark you are likely to receive IF your preparation methods are incorrect. This rule goes for any test preparation. If you are preparing for something in a way that is inefficient or incorrect, you will not improve your score despite how much effort and time you put into it. In fact, you are more likely to feel exasperated and lose confidence due to bad preparation methods.

Recently, I met an exceptionally bright and very diligent student who spent around 5-6 hours a day, every day, practising UMAT questions for two whole years. The result? The student scored in the 60th percentile while achieving state ranking for his subjects and completed his high school performance with a perfect ranking.

To find out more about how to prepare correctly, check out this article:

Category Result: Somewhat true and frankly untrue!

 

Rumour #8 – You can cram UMAT a month out from the exam

First, we need to look at what ‘cram’ means in the context of UMAT study. Since UMAT does not require students to recall any information, ‘cramming’ in this case does not refer to rote learning books and books of information. Rather, UMAT requires students to apply techniques to ‘figure out’ questions to select the best answer. If anything, cramming for UMAT is similar to cramming for a math test – you need to quickly learn the techniques to work out a question and then apply the techniques to questions to gain familiarity. The problem with cramming for UMAT in this way is that the resources for the teaching of UMAT-answering techniques are nowhere as readily available as the resources for teaching math techniques. So, only if you had these resources handy would ‘cramming’ for UMAT be possible. P.S. here are some for you: HERE

Category Result: Somewhat true and frankly untrue!

 

Rumour #9 – If someone got 98th, 99th or 100th percentile, they MUST know how to do every UMAT question perfectly

By referring you back to rumour #4, we’ve learnt it’s not all that impossible to gain top percentiles in the UMAT. In fact, you only need to answer approximately nine more questions correct than the person who scored 50th percentile to get a 100th percentile. Coupled with the fact UMAT is a multiple-choice test meaning that on any day, the candidate has a guaranteed 25% chance of guessing the correct answer, the chances of getting ‘lucky’ in the UMAT is relatively likely. I do not endorse anyone to hope on luck to carry them to UMAT stardom, but I would like to share a general piece of advice when asking high-scoring UMAT students for help. Advice: Unless the student can systematically break down how each UMAT question is solved, like how your math teacher breaks down a math question in class, tread with caution.

Category result: Frankly untrue!