The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a mandatory exam to apply for most undergraduate medical programs in Australia. If your child wants to get into medicine after Year 12, they will need to take the UCAT. Given the high stakes involved, taking the UCAT can be quite a stressful event for parents and students alike. This article aims to alleviate some of that anxiety by summarising what you need to know to get your child registered and prepared for the UCAT.
Assisting Your Child With UCAT Registration
Registering for the UCAT ANZ is a two-step process. First your child would need to create a web account on the UCAT ANZ website. This needs to be done by the candidate, no one else can create the account for them. Personal information will need to be entered to create the account, like your child’s name, address, residency, etc.
Care needs to be taken here to enter the full legal name as it appears on the photo ID as discrepancies are usually not tolerated. It is still possible to change the registered name on the account, but this would need to be done via an appointment with Pearson VUE Customer Services prior to the exam date.
Once your child has submitted the registration form, they will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours containing the username they can use to login. At this stage, your child will have everything they need to log into their account and book a test. There’s a deadline every year before which a test needs to be booked.
For 2021, this was the 17th of May 2021. There is also a late deadline which ends on the 31st of May. Bookings during this time will incur an additional fee of $85 AUD. Throughout this process, there are no fees to be paid. A fee only needs to be paid at the time of the booking and is payable by credit/debit card.
The UCAT organisers adhere to a strict timeline over the course of the year. Usually, the sequence is as follows: First, the registration period begins, followed by the booking period, the exam period, and finally the results date. Everything needs to be done in order.
If, for instance, your child does register an account by the deadline but fails to book a test by the test booking deadline, they will not be able to take the UCAT that year. So, it is very important that the timeline is adhered to, and everything is done on time. For 2021, these deadlines were as follows:
These deadlines are not likely to vary significantly next year, so this table can give you a rough estimate of what you and your child need to do and when.
Preparing Your Child For The UCAT
The UCAT is an exam unlike your child has ever encountered before. This is because it is a skills-based assessment, rather than the usual content-based assessments that your child is accustomed to throughout high school.
On top of that, the stakes are high because your child only gets one shot at sitting the UCAT before they send out their medical school applications. Therefore, you, as a parent, need to make sure that they have the necessary support, guidance, and resources they need to do well.
Our experience suggests that the UCAT is not an exam where practise only leads to success. The UCAT is a complex exam, where specific skills are tested in each section. So, one really needs to break down question types and learn strategies specific to each subsection to be able to perform well overall.
For instance, the Abstract Reasoning section involves identifying patterns from visuo-spatial information. Here, a candidate’s ability to identify patterns and trends is assessed. This is also the most time-constrained part of the test, with candidates being allowed roughly 14 seconds per question.
Because of the time constraints, and the fact that some patterns tend to repeat themselves, it pays dividends to learn some commonly recurring patterns so that when they arise, they can be dealt with promptly. This not only improves the overall success rate of the UCAT, but also leaves more time to unlock more complex patterns.
What Can Fraser’s UCAT Offer?
At Frasers, we teach strategies like these and many more specific to all five sections of the UCAT. We have a range of courses designed for everyone, from students and parents looking to gain further insights into the fundamentals of the UCAT, all the way to comprehensive courses offering over 8 hours of dedicated one-to-one tutoring. You can pick the course that’s right for you and your child.
If you’re unsure, simply sign your child up for a strategy weekend, where they’ll be taught the fundamentals of the UCAT over a period of three days. This is a great way to get to know our approach to teaching the UCAT, and, if that works for you and your child, you can upgrade to a full course and get a full redemption of your strategy weekend course fee.
The UCAT is an important, yet challenging exam. The UCAT process can be daunting for both parents and students. However, with the right guidance and information many of our students are able to succeed. We hope you found this article helpful in navigating your child’s journey through the UCAT.