What Is UCAT? The Beginners Guide To UCAT

Welcome to “What is UCAT? The Beginners Guide To UCAT”.

In this guide you’ll discover everything you need to know about the UCAT exam to excel on it!

This guide is perfect for anyone in Years 10, 11 or 12 at high-school (or with a child currently in these year levels) that wants to gain admission into Medicine at the end of Year 12 and must sit the UCAT.

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

Chapter 1 – What Is The UCAT? (UCAT Basics)

Chapter 2 – How To Prepare For The UCAT? (UCAT Prep)

Chapter 3 – Next Steps From Here

Lets get started!

Chapter 1 – What Is The UCAT? (UCAT Basics)

The UCAT exam accounts for ~33% of your child’s chances of getting into Medicine.

This means that it is just as important as all of their school subjects combined.

What is the UCAT?

The UCAT (also known as UKCAT or University Clinical Admissions Test) is a 2-hour computerised test that is designed to identify students who have the skills and characteristics of someone who would become a successful doctor.

How many questions on the UCAT?

The UCAT exam has 233 questions across 5 sections.

What are the 5 sections on the UCAT?

The first section is Verbal Reasoning, which has 44 questions (to be completed in 21 minutes). This section assesses students abilities to critically evaluate information presented in written form.

The second section is Decision Making, which has 29 questions (to be completed in 31 minutes). This section assesses students abilities to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information.

The third section is Quantitative Reasoning, which has 36 questions (to be completed in 24 minutes). This section assesses students abilities to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form.

The fourth section is Abstract Reasoning, which has 55 questions (to be completed in 13 minutes). This section assesses students’ abilities to use convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information. 

The fifth and final section is Situational Judgement, which has 69 questions (to be completed in 26 minutes). This section measures students abilities to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.

Why the UCAT?

The UCAT was created with the goal of identifying students with the skills and characteristics of successful doctors. This allows universities to identify students that are both an intellectual fit, and character fit for the medical profession.  

When is the UCAT?

The UCAT is held every year in July. You are able to choose any day within July to sit your exam as it is held in small computer labs across Australia.

What score do you need to succeed on the UCAT?

Over the past 2 years, universities have generally required students to score in at least the 90th percentile (top 10% of students) on the UCAT to be considered for selection into Medicine. This makes it considerably more difficult than the ATAR exam because you are only competing against students hoping to gain admission into Medicine (who are the top 2-3% of students in each state). 

What does it take to succeed on the UCAT?

Given that you need a score in at least the 90th percentile to gain admission into Medicine, this means that out of the 18,000 students that sit the exam each year in Australia, under 1,800 of these students gain admission into Medicine. The difference between the students who succeed on the UCAT, and those that fail, largely comes down to their preparation.

Chapter 2 – How To Prepare For The UCAT? (UCAT Prep)

When to prepare for the UCAT?

Many students leave their preparation to the last minute, however many students who are certain that they want to study Medicine and are wanting to maximise their chances of success, start preparing from the end of Year 10 (over the school holidays), or at the end of Year 11 (over the school holidays).

Given that a score in the 90th percentile is quite competitive, and the 95th percentile all but guarantees medical admission (alongside a strong ATAR and Interview), we recommend students start preparing for the UCAT exam as early as possible (to reduce weekly workload).

We go into more depth on when to prepare for the UCAT in our report titled “Why It’s Harder Than Ever To Get Your Child Into Medicine”. You can start reading it by clicking here >>

Blog Link: https://medprepschool.com.au/medicine-harder-than-ever/

How should you prepare for the UCAT?

Given that the UCAT exam is just as important as all of your school subjects combined, and you need to achieve a score in the 90th+ percentile to be competitive, we recommend treating your UCAT preparation just like how you’d treat any of your school subjects.

For your school subjects you have:

  1. Structured Curriculum – you follow a structured curriculum that guides you from the start of your preparation to your final exam.
  2. Constant Assessments –  you have constant assessments to measure your progress (and so you knows if you’re on track for success).
  3. Accountability & Motivation – you have teachers and tutors to hold you accountable and ensure you are submitting homework tasks.
  4. Access To Tutors & Teachers – you have access to teachers and tutors for guidance and advice whenever you are stuck.

Likewise, we recommend incorporating all 4 of these elements into your UCAT preparation.

We go into more depth on how to help your child properly prepare for the UCAT in our free information sessions on “How To Help Your Child Excel In Medicine Entry”. You can register by clicking the following link: https://support.medprepschool.com.au/freeinfosession

Chapter 3 – Next Steps From Here

At this point you are equipped with all the basic information you need on what the UCAT exam is, how it works and some pointers on how to successfully prepare for it!

If you are looking for more information how your child can excel in the entire Medical Admissions process (including the UCAT, but also in the Interview and ATAR), then you may be interested in registering for our free webinar on how you can help your child excel in the Medical admissions process, and prepare in the right way for their Medical Admissions. 

In this webinar, Medical Admissions expert Charlie will cover the following 3 things:

  1. How the Medicine Entry process works in Australia
  2. How to help your child excel in the Medicine Entry process
  3. How to find the right support for your child in the Medicine Entry process

So if you’re looking to set your child up for success, then register by clicking here:

https://support.medprepschool.com.au/freeinfosession

About MED PREP SCHOOL

Med Prep School is the school for future doctors, guiding students to excel in their ATAR, UCAT and Interviews to earn a place into Medicine.

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