Everyone knows that early preparation has its benefits, but just how early should UMAT study begin? I would like to take the opportunity to list down some advantages of starting UMAT preparation early and provide a timeline that will give you the most advantage heading down the stretch.
Advantage #1: Learning at your pace
From my ten years experience as an educator, I have never taught a student or class the same way; this is because of the sole reason that everyone learns differently. Some students learn better when they are given visual representations of the concepts taught, rather than just being verbally told them. Other students like to learn through hands-on experimentation and discussing it with other students. Whatever the way you choose to adopt to learn UMAT, you need to have time. Early preparation allows you to have the luxury of finding out what learning style works best when studying the UMAT, compared to two months out from the UMAT when you are already swamped with school work, assignments, trials and extra-curricular activities.
Advantage #2: Spend more time on the things that need more time
By learning at your pace also allows you to spend more time on the harder question types. Almost every student has a section in the UMAT that they find much more difficult compared to the other two sections. Once you know this, it could mean you need more time to completely dissect the questions, understand the techniques, and apply them to get the hang of it for the harder section. With more time on your hands, you can properly plan, organise and take the extra steps that need to be taken to learn answer questions correctly before you become bombarded with endless work once the academic year commences. Getting the trickier section out of the way allows you to maintain your confidence while learning the techniques to the easier sections for the remainder of the year.
Advantage #3: Receive help earlier to improve faster
Starting your UMAT preparation earlier also means you can have more time to fix up weaknesses and seek more help if needed. Every year around mid-June I start to be bombarded with inquiries from students asking for help. However, due to the end of term test and assignments, most of the student can only really start studying in the July holidays, leaving them around three weeks to complete UMAT preparation.
Frankly speaking, this is not enough time for anyone to comfortably complete preparation, especially if they are aiming to score top marks in one of them most important tests of their lives. If a student started at least six months earlier (let alone a whole year earlier), he or she will most likely not be in the same predicament. Another danger of starting late is that if you are counting on a tutor or course to help you go from zero to hero in just a couple of weeks and for some reason, it doesn’t help you in the way you wanted, you are left with very limited options. You won’t even have time to look for other help.
And if the tutor or course you use is helpful, you are the one who still needs to spend the time in perfecting it. So, give yourself the time to do that.
Advantage #4: Give yourself less stress and pressure
I have not yet talked to a year 12 student who didn’t wish to go back in time and learn the UMAT properly when they had the time. Their advice for anyone in the lower years planning on sitting the UMAT? Try your best to complete UMAT studies before year 12 starts.
For many high-achieving students, a successful year isn’t only determined by the top grades achieved at the end of year exams. Other commitments in school and outside of school also take up a good chunk of your week. The typical lifestyle of a pre-med or pre-dent is busy enough at it is and if not managed well could be enough to trigger mid-year burnouts. Unexpected tests and responsibilities keep popping up left right and centre, and one question remains ‘when would you ever have time for studying UMAT?’.