Carys Nield - Ace the UCAT Success Stories
Carys is a 2019 Ace the UCAT student who will be studying dentistry at the University of Glasgow from September 2020. You can contact her at @carysdaisy on Instagram.
I sat my UCAT test on the 10th of September 2019. I started preparing a month before using practice questions.
I originally started my preparation by using the 2019 UCAT official guide and the free UCAT app alongside some books which included the Kaplan UCAT 5th edition book and the 1250 questions UCAT preparation book.
I found these books very difficult to work with as they were very confusing and not very interactive.
However, I would recommend the official guide and the app as I found these very supportive and easy to use.
The main resource I used was definitely Medify and the official UCAT tests.
I found that Medify was very engaging and helped me to practice questions in the limited time.
It was also very helpful for showing the areas where I needed the most improvement which allowed me to focus in on areas like abstract reasoning which I struggled with more.
I also found the checklist on Medify to be very useful for helping me to prepare for my exam as once I completed it I felt ready.
Another thing I liked about Medify was the fact that it tracked your progress every day - that certainly encouraged me to completed at least 1 hour per day even when I was busy with schoolwork.
My top tips for taking the UCAT
I found that using the acronym SPONCS for the abstract reasoning section helped me go from achieving 400-500 to achieving a 660. It stands for:
Shape – first you identity if the shapes have meaning Position – does the position of the shapes have any relevance Orientation – does the orientation of the shapes have any importance Number – does the number of shapes have any meaning Colour – does the colour have any significance to the pattern Size – does the shape of the size play any importance to the pattern.
As abstract reasoning often contains red herrings to confuse people, easily running through this acronym helped me to identity patterns in a short time.
Another tip is to try as hard as you can on the questions until the last 30-40 seconds of each section, then to guess the remaining questions you have blank, as that gives you a chance to guess it right rather than get an automatic wrong answer.
Another tip is to read and highlight the good medical practice guide produced by the General Medical Council, this was extremely useful in preparing for the situational judgement part of the test.
My final tip is to not overthink things – just go with your gut - you have a limited amount of time to answer a large number of questions.
If I were to take the UCAT again, I would spend all the time available in the test. If you have time left at the end of sections do not leave or go onto the next one - instead spend your time reading over your answers.
Click here to view the Ace the UCAT Course e-book which Carys used as part of her preparation - we offer detailed advice on how to use Medify as effectively and efficiently as possible. Some of the advice from our students may contradict the recommendations in our e-book. In these cases, we recommend that you prioritise following our guidance.