How do you PROPERLY solve UCAT questions?

The best way to prepare for and beat the UCAT is to focus on developing the question-solving skills required to solve the 14 specific question types that appear in the UCAT exam. This can be achieved by applying Kolb’s experiential cycle via mindful practice, which allows flaws to be identified and fixed after every attempt at solving a question with a technique in mind. Since the questions always change (even though the solving process stays the same), you also need the skills to adapt these question-solving techniques to each unique question as required.

So repetitively doing thousands of practice questions that definitely won’t appear on your UCAT exam, without even knowing what solving techniques you should be using or what skills you’re trying to develop, won’t get you anywhere—what you should be aiming for is a mindful improvement, not mindless repetition. Doing questions mindlessly won’t enable you to develop or improve your technique, nor will it help you to find issues for iterative improvement. It’s unfortunately a common approach to UCAT prep among high-school students, but it’s extremely ineffective and inefficient and doesn’t bring you any closer to completing questions quickly and accurately.

A helpful way to think about this is to compare the UCAT exam to a maths test, which is also a skills-based assessment. Before you can consistently answer questions correctly and improve your speed, you first need to learn the formulaic process for solving each type of question. If you try to prepare for a maths test by simply doing hundreds of practice questions, without actually knowing the step-by-step solving techniques first, your preparation would be incredibly confusing, time-consuming and just generally difficult.

To effectively prepare for the UCAT, students need to first learn the precise steps for solving a question (just as they would for maths) and then reflect on their work after every attempt to improve their execution and familiarity before attempting the next question. This is absolutely critical. Since practice makes perfect, incorrect practice—i.e. repeatedly doing questions without a technique (or with a technique that is flawed)— will make students’ wrong approaches permanently wrong.

To see examples of how we break down question-solving techniques, check out the free lessons we have here (be mindful these are just examples and these videos alone do not cover anywhere near the full scope of the UCAT):

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Why Term 1 Break Is Your Final Opportunity to Get Onto UCAT Prep

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Australian med/dent schools typically only invite students with a UCAT score of 93rd+ percentile for an interview opportunity… which means 90%+ of students fail to even pass the first barrier (UCAT) that stands between them and med/dent schools.

Due to the competitive nature and difficulty of the UCAT, most top students start their prep up to 2 years before their actual test date, and on average spend 250 hours (based on the assumption that they work with effective and efficient methods) on prep in total.

For a Year 12 student who is yet to start on UCAT prep, your two biggest opportunities to catch up on the workload will be your Term 1 and Term 2 holidays.

Register for this free UCAT webinar to organise your timeline and learn the most efficient ways to prepare!

iCanMed is a team of high-calibre assessment writers, coaches and interviewers, ensuring that the advice we give works at every stage of the UCAT preparation and test-taking process. Over 1,800 students have already chosen to use iCanMed to help them achieve UCAT success on the 2022–23 exam. As the thought leaders in UCAT preparation and teaching, the free workshops we offer are designed to help every candidate gain the necessary insights to achieve their best results and gain entry into their dream course.

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