Why are UCAT Practice Tests Important?
To succeed in a psychometric assessment like the UCAT, theoretical understanding alone is inadequate; instead, a concrete approach that attunes your cognitive skills is much more preferable. The UCAT practice exams offered at Fraser’s are a mini-replica of the real UCAT exam. The purpose of the practice test is to give you a general summary of the nature of question-styles you will encounter, and the importance of timed testing when you have to think on your feet during the exam.
Do UCAT Practice Tests Give Scores?
Fraser's UCAT domain offers two free UCAT practice tests; UCAT Comprehensive and Express Exams. Such abridged exams take a total of 10 minutes and 30 minutes to complete respectively.
The UCAT practice tests are framed with the intention to give you a predicted final score, which can help you gauge your performance under timed conditions and whether or not you are equipped with the core skills to tackle the intellectual side of the UCAT exam.
The team at Frasers have created these UCAT practice tests as a stepping stone toward attempting UCAT mock exams. Our practice tests and mocks complement the UCAT ANZ testing standard for students to better appreciate their preparedness for the UCAT test day.
Why Are UCAT Practice Tests Difficult?
The UCAT exam is a highly challenging assessment and has unique question-types that demand you to tailor an out-of-the-box thinking process. One of the reasons for UCAT’s strong prevalence in the undergraduate medicine space is its exam format where students answer 225 distinctively themed questions within a strapped 2-hour time limit.
So to answer the question - yes, the UCAT practice exams are purposefully constructed to be difficult. On this basis, you gradually master the balance between speed and accuracy, a key combination of skills required for UCAT success.
After all, it is only fair that the UCAT practice tests mimic the uniqueness of the real UCAT exam so that you are not caught off-guard on test day.
Getting the Most Out of Free UCAT Practice Exams
Focus on Balancing Speed and Accuracy
Without any doubt, obtaining the correct responses in any exam is crucial to achieving a competitive score. However, refining accuracy alone without speed cannot guarantee excellence in the UCAT.
As stressed earlier, UCAT’s effectiveness lies in the fact that it has unique question-styles that assess your efficiency at time management. For this reason, you have to strike the right balance between speed and accuracy, which will be a slow and steady process.
In saying this, when you undertake our UCAT ANZ practice exam, you will notice a timer on each question. The purpose of this timed exercise is for you to recognise your mental endurance, particularly when you answer questions from Verbal Reasoning or Abstract Reasoning. These sections in particular require a highly focused effort to track down the right keywords or trends in the allotted 2 minute question time.
Each time you sit down to attempt a practice test, it is important to have a baseline thinking strategy that incorporates improvisation as well. This is because UCAT questions are built on a broad range of themes and having a multifactorial approach for each question can also improve your speed during the exam.
The second important factor to improve speed is learning different UCAT keyboard shortcuts and implementing them in your practice tests. There are many keyboard shortcuts applicable in the UCAT exam, however, learning a few handy shortcuts can help you save time and navigate from one question to another in an effective manner.
On the top of our head, a keyboard shortcut you definitely require in the UCAT is (Ctrl +F). This shortcut allows you to ’Flag’ questions that you are uncertain about to revisit before the completion of the exam. These are some of the key components that you can trial and test while attempting different UCAT practice questions. This will allow you to become more self aware of your progress when you go on to attempt mock examinations.
Review your Mistakes after Each UCAT Practice Test
Practice questions for UCAT add no significant value to your UCAT study if your focus is only towards finishing as many practice questions as possible without allocating ‘review time.’
Reviewing your performance across each practice test highlights your strengths and areas for improvement. Having said that, a UCAT practice test review should closely observe each UCAT subsection as a separate entity. You need to ensure that you critically evaluate your approaches and apply different filters to gauge your potential across each UCAT subtest.
In the actual UCAT exam, the scores you achieve in one subsection do not influence your performance in other UCAT sections. Hence, poor performance in Decision Making has no impact on your performance in the Verbal Reasoning section. Your scores will even be broken down and released to the different medical schools where they will weigh up different sections as they choose.
To review your performance in an individual UCAT subsection, attempt a UCAT practice test from scratch and allocate 1-hour to reflect upon each question to understand ‘why’ and ‘how’ you chose a specific strategy for a given question-type. Based on your conclusion, try to re-attempt the question but this time develop a fresh strategy and observe if it improves your speed or accuracy. It is equally important to record notes of your key findings from your review so you can track your growth on questions that you found more challenging to solve under timed conditions.
The final and most important step is to give equal emphasis on rectifying your strategies on incorrect responses and revisiting the implemented strategies that lead you to the correct response. This paves way to multiple UCAT approaches, even for questions you find confusing, you can apply one of these strategies to find the solution, without losing out on exam time.
Patience Really is a Virtue to Improve in the UCAT
The UCAT has been established as a skills-based assessment. Often specific skill sets, such as problem-solving and critical thinking are gauged in the UCAT, which doesn't necessarily come easily to everyone. This is precisely why we recommend our students to trust the slow and steady progress in your UCAT practice sessions.
Between each UCAT practice test, you can only make incremental changes, so don’t assume that one practice sitting will result in a large-scale improvement of skill-sets. Especially in the initial weeks of undertaking UCAT practice tests, your main objective should be to merely understand the exam format and timings, and learn the strategies for each question-style.
Gaining insights from a UCAT mentor can boost your UCAT performance mainly because they monitor your performance in each practice test and help construct suitable strategies when your course of action reaches a dead end.
In these moments, when you find that self-study for UCAT is not beneficial, our tutors are always there to help you devise a systematic approach to tackle each practice test. This way, you should feel confident in your overall performance.
We hope our article has been helpful to you and has succinctly highlighted the importance of undertaking UCAT ANZ practice tests.
If you are looking for additional information on UCAT fundamentals, or ways to improve your ATAR whilst scoring in the top decile for UCAT, you should check out our UCAT Intensive Workshops and ATAR + UCAT Workshop.
Furthermore, if you are a parent understanding the UCAT space, we organise a ‘Parents Webinar’ to help strengthen your UCAT basics so you can help your child in their UCAT study.