Step 1 – Learning the techniques (most students completely skip this step)
iCanMed has identified there are 15 question types found in section 1, 2 and 3 and it is up to you to learn the exact processes to answering each type of question. When I mean figured out/learnt exactly the steps you would take for each of the 15 question types to the extent where if you were given a question, you would be able to list the steps you take to answering every question.
Specifically, you will need to make notes on:
1. What you need to read in the stimulus of each question type
2. The summarised version of the key findings in each stimulus (e.g. table format to present the information in a way that summarises all important information with the relationships between each other)
3. What the question stem asks you to do
4. Justification on why you selected one option as the correct answer, and the other three options as incorrect (provide justification for all)
Preparation is not about feeling ok or not ok; it's about knowing what you explicitly know or not know. It's the same with any other test. If you know how to answer a math question is because you can do the working to get to the right answer, if you don't know how to answer a math question it is because you either cannot complete the working or don't know where to start. You need to MEASURE your progress - and the best way to measure UMAT prep is to see if you can write down the steps you take (as suggested from 1 to 4). Only when you can, you are 'properly' prepared - because you can see it. The steps described above allows you to build accuracy (i.e. actually getting questions correct).
The next step to take after finalising techniques for all UMAT question types is to start attempting a variety of similar questions e.g. you figured out how to do rules type questions, now it's time to apply the techniques to additional rules type questions. This practice will help you build 'transferability' meaning that the technique you have acquired can be used for new but similar questions. Making your techniques 'transferable' is very important as now you have the skills to figure out unfamiliar questions.
An analogous example can be made about how after learning the steps to solving a particular math question and then attempting several math questions if you were then given a similar but previously unseen math question you can still figure it out with ease. Completing step 1 and step 2 help you build accuracy and consistency, respectively.
The last step after building accuracy and consistency is to build speed in completing UMAT questions. There is no value completing the exam quickly and getting the questions consistently incorrect. The development of speed occurs after the mastery of step 1 and step 2 when you have become so accustomed to the process of answering questions (step 1) and gain superior confidence in applying the process in new questions (step 2). Therefore, the only way to increase speed is to:
i) know what to do very well (covered by step 1 and step 2)
ii) be able to carry it out very quickly (covered by step 3 below)
Only now is the time you should spend doing a high-volume of practice questions - for only your speed and no longer for your accuracy and consistency.
The earlier you complete step 1, step 2 and step 3 for a particular answering technique, the more time you have to focus on completing the same steps for other answering techniques. For the preparation to manifest in the development of solid techniques and skills required to answer UMAT questions, each step must be 100% completed before moving to the next to ensure maximum effectiveness.