UKCAT (UCAT) – How to start preparing for this exam

The UKCAT (UCAT from 2019) is an examination that must be prepared for. The score is a major factor influencing your choice of medical school.

It is now approaching the new year, and soon the UKCAT season will start. Blue Peanut is here to help with what for many candidates is the first step in an application to medical school. The score in the UKCAT exam will heavily influence which medical schools you are able to apply for.

The medical schools use the UKCAT score in different ways, but the most critical of this is that they decide who to call for interview based on the score, so a score below the threshold means a rejected application almost automatically after you submit your UCAS form. 

We have spoken to local sixth form teachers as well as done our own research. Even though the UKCAT exam is a test of aptitude, it is possible to improve one’s score through the correct preparation. The way to start this is by looking at strategies at dealing with the sections of the exam. There are common themes in the sections and the examiners can only change the questions so much over the years. The only other element of revision is to simply practice past questions – and lots of them.  

The most critical element of this exam is time pressure. It is intense needing a degree of mental stamina to keep going through the two hours of the exam. We normally advise around one hour of going through UKCAT questions every day. You can start off your revision by timing your answers, moving more towards being able to answer more rapidly. Once you develop your skills you should be able to answer all the questions in the allocated time frame. You can also practice full mock exams under timed conditions. 

You could purchase some books and revise on your own. However, we do have a UKCAT course in which we provide you with textbooks and then go through each section of the exam. We teach you what common themes the examiners use in setting the questions and how you can answer them. We show you common pitfalls. Armed with a day of intensive training and the textbooks we provide, you can then proceed to your revision at home with more confidence and answer questions at speed. It is just like attending a whole day of A-level classes at your school but on the UKCAT exam!

Keep an eye on our blog as we will over the next few weeks continue to post tips on the UKCAT exam.