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June 18, 2024, 04:08:58 am

Author Topic: If you're in Year 11 this year, do not worry about the UCAT (3300 score tips):  (Read 5662 times)

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ArexRew

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Hey guys,

I'm in Year 12 right now and in a break from studying for spesh I just wanted to put this out there. This time last year many of my friends were stressing about the UCAT and spending hundreds of dollars on resources. Don't do this.

These were my scores from the UCAT:

UCAT ANZ SUBTEST SCORES

Verbal Reasoning   830
Decision Making   790
Quantitative Reasoning   800
Abstract Reasoning   880
Total Score   3300
Situational Judgement   623

I studied for it in the one week before my exam without spending a dollar on resources. Some of my friends who spent months and bought MedEntry etc scored hundreds of point less than me. It's a waste of stress, time, and money.

So what should you concentrate on?

First, know your strengths. Think about if you are a naturally fast reader, good at pattern recognition, fast at math, or any other relevant attributes. So many of my friends focused on the wrong subtests and got worse scores than me because of it.

The other thing is if you aren't a fast reader now, learning to speed read is one thing that you could start concentrating on right now. It'll be useful for VR but also just good for SACs and Exams in your ATAR studies.

But most importantly don't stress yet. You have months until the test, so just don't worry. Don't bother spending hundreds on MedEntry or the like either -- these exploit insecure students and parents out of tonnes of money you don't need to spend. There are plenty of resources like the official question bank and PassMedicine that you can use, as well as a couple free trial exams from the paid services. Don't give these guys a dollar, how they prey on anxious students is really repugnant.

Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions!

james.358

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I seriously couldn't agree more.

Also completed UCAT this year (albeit a much lower score than OP at 97th percentile), and wasted so much time (and money) on commercial resources. To all the Y10s and Y11s out there, please don't fall victim to the anxiety inducing tactics of these companies. It is an aptitude test, and you can do very very well simply using the official resources and YT videos (highly recommend KharmaMedic). All the UCAT techniques can easily be self-taught through the official question bank.

These companies seriously just make tonnes of money exploiting the students and parents to make them to feel insecure about their abilities... This is perhaps even more so for the interview course which is completely ridiculous. Trust your own ability and do your own prep, you'll do great!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 02:37:35 pm by james.lhr »
VCE Class of 2022: 99.90 ATAR
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fun_jirachi

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I think it's okay to spend money (despite not doing so myself), but it's important to stress that it a) should be your decision, b) genuinely helps you, and c) gives you value for the money that you pay.

By and large, I agree with the points raised above, but it's important to note that everyone has their own methods of preparing and everyone is different; self-learning techniques may not necessarily be for everyone (despite me agreeing that free stuff and self-learning being significantly more positive in this case). As above, companies generally won't give you value for money and will attempt to convince you with some pretty dodgy stuff, which breaks the criteria I've presented. If you do find something that passes all the criteria, and it genuinely works for you, it may be worth considering paying for whatever service that happens to be.

Don't do this.

In general, yes - but it's important not to generalise for every student, as above. Congrats on your scores! :D

First, know your strengths. Think about if you are a naturally fast reader, good at pattern recognition, fast at math, or any other relevant attributes. So many of my friends focused on the wrong subtests and got worse scores than me because of it.

The other thing is if you aren't a fast reader now, learning to speed read is one thing that you could start concentrating on right now. It'll be useful for VR but also just good for SACs and Exams in your ATAR studies.

But most importantly don't stress yet. You have months until the test, so just don't worry.

Great advice; agree with everything in the quote; but for students reading this, it's important to personalise the time frame you start. Gauge early where you stand with the key techniques Arex has mentioned; then you can allocate time depending on how quick you learn, how much you want to improve, etc. It may take a week like Arex, it may take longer, it doesn't really matter so long as you end up being confident enough to attempt the test at the standard you set yourself.

-snip-

Agree here too, but in a similar vein, I'd be wary of calling self-teaching easy. In general, it requires you to understand your own methods of learning, which a lot of people don't have yet, as well as having the motivation to keep self-learning and improving. People may find being taught is better, in which case I'd recommend learning around peers (whether or not you decide to pay for resources in the end).

These companies seriously just make tonnes of money exploiting the students and parents to make them to feel insecure about their abilities... This is perhaps even more so for the interview course which is completely ridiculous. Trust your own ability and do your own prep, you'll do great!

And yeah, about as dodgy as primary school tutoring really, as far as I can tell; I'm yet to see evidence to the contrary.
Spoiler
HSC 2018: Mod Hist [88] | 2U Maths [98]
HSC 2019: Physics [92] | Chemistry [93] | English Adv [87] | 3U Maths [98] | 4U Maths [97]
ATAR: 99.05

UCAT: 3310 - VR [740] | DM [890] | QR [880] | AR [800]
Guide Links:
Subject Acceleration (2018)
UCAT Question Compilation/FAQ (2020)
Asking good questions

wingdings2791

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Just adding onto this, I would also say that whether tutoring is effective depends from person to person but definitely isn't necessary for doing well in the UCAT. I've seen people at either end of the tutoring spectrum do extremely well, so it all comes down to your preferred method for preparation. Everyone gets something different out of tutoring too: some get the most out of the resources and practice papers provided, some people learn more easily having things explained by a teacher, and some feel more motivated/find it easier to stay consistent. However, tutoring can easily be overwhelming, badly paced, or more confusing for natural self-learners. I know I tend not to get much out of preparation seminars; it just feels draining and doesn't have the same flexibility as self-study to me. It really just depends on what method suits you.

In my own case, I only used Passmedicine (a site with about 10 sets of free exams available for use), the official mocks, as well as some Youtube videos to prepare over the span of a few months; these got me a score I was very happy with (3000+), although nothing compared to the amazing 97th and 99th percentiles around on AN. If you like to self-learn, I really recommend Emil Eddy on YT; he has a series of excellent tips and even completes UCAT subtests live with narration. I honestly credit 90% of my success to his channel, so check it out if you're interested!

tl;dr: tuition services can definitely be a useful tool, but are not the only method to achieve UCAT success. Just as tutoring in VCE is perhaps beneficial but not crucial, the effectiveness of tuition really varies for each person :)
ATAR: 99.75
UCAT: 95th

2022-2025: B. Radiography and Medical Imaging (Honours) @ Monash

vehura

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I just wanted to say too that you don't need to achieve huge 3000+ UCAT scores that base some sort of intangible or inherent "worth" on your ability as a student. I worked really hard and put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the UCAT, and the score I got I personally believe did not reflect that effort - it was hard for me to come to terms with that. There is quite a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and UCAT score, just as there is with any standardised testing (such as the ATAR), so often people who come from these backgrounds (of which I personally do not) can talk about their phenomenal 3000+ UCAT scores and make it seem like this should be a standard to meet at a very basic level, when in reality it is quite difficult for anyone to achieve that - which of course is the very nature of a 97th percentile. It is really remarkable to study for a week and achieve a 3300, so that's a very impressive achievement - I studied for three months and didn't get anywhere near that.

You will worry about the UCAT, as anyone taking a test that is worth potentially 33% of your university entrance will - but don't feel the need to have incredibly high standards set as a "benchmark" to base your entire academic intelligence or worth as a person on. One two hour test does not define your ability, and in reality there are people who will put the effort in and still will not manage to rise to the level that some universities require for, in my opinion, quite a classist university entrance system. If prep companies like Medify are helpful to people who need guided learning and targeted practice, I believe they are worth the investment. Although, I did score "hundreds of points less" than the OP so maybe I shouldn't have used them :P

Regardless, this is overall good advice. Just wanted to add my two cents re UCAT standards, since websites like AN and MSO do wonders for the self confidence of some potentially not as high achieving students!
class of 2021
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Snow Leopard

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For the people who did well in the UCAT like let's say 90%+, are you all just naturally smart/good at speed reading, mental maths etc? How did you stay motivated when you were getting everything wrong at the start?

james.358

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Hey Vehura,

You're definitely right about the over-importance of UCAT. Some of my friends who are absolutely brilliant and compassionate and altruistic are forced to take at least take a 2 year detour to their dream career because of a 2 hour test.

I am angry for them and everyone else who will be hampered because of this, and even more so about the socio-economic barriers like you pointed out. It is unfortunate that arguably the career path that should have the most equitable selection of candidates have become so overwhelmingly favouring students from advantaged backgrounds. One of my goals for the summer breakis to create a completely free, Khan Academy style online course for UCAT with some of my other high scoring mates. Too late for us, but hopefully not for the next generation.

In saying that, please don't feel discouraged by the results - it's only indicative of how you performed in a brief 2 hour test and got nothing to do about you as a person. Anyways, a raw 50 under your belt already is absolutely phenomenal result! Probably something a lot of 3000+ UCAT students (me included!) can only dream of :D

Best of luck for the rest of your exams!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 08:22:05 pm by james.358 »
VCE Class of 2022: 99.90 ATAR
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fun_jirachi

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For the people who did well in the UCAT like let's say 90%+, are you all just naturally smart/good at speed reading, mental maths etc? How did you stay motivated when you were getting everything wrong at the start?

Speed reading is not really what I'd call the relevant skill; it's more speed synthesis if you will (same idea though).

It's actually not difficult to improve in these skills in the sense that you can see tangible progress reflected in results every time you practice. There's also always room to improve, regardless of how much natural ability you have. The key issue here is actually making the jump and making those improvements, as always (as you've rightly pointed out) and keeping your motivation. Be wary also of the diminishing returns on time spent vs. percentage improvement.

All natural ability really does is provide you with a bit of a headstart. Staying motivated is tough, but it's generally up to you to set up some sort of carrot on a stick in the short or long term, or both. We're motivated by different things. If it so happens that you're motivated by the end goal of getting into med, or just being half a second faster every day with your arithmetic, use it! It doesn't matter how you motivate yourself, so long as that motivation significantly outweighs the desire to just give up. Personally, I just wanted to have the option open to do med, which isn't exactly the best motivation; but at the end of the day it worked. If you find yourself working for the sake of working, it might be time to take a break and recalibrate; using my analogy from earlier, stop and find a new carrot :D

-snip-

Scores should never be linked to self-worth; ultimately it's how you went on that particular day (and there are always circumstances people don't know about). People who talk about their high scores in that manner can have their 15 seconds of fame, honestly (it really lasts that long. Literally no one cares except for the people looking at your med application, and people looking for advice from people with high scores; others will generally be apathetic). Also, people tend to talk only or mostly about their successes, so please to you (and everyone else) don't take this as a standard that everyone should meet. Usually, they set abnormally high bars for themselves then inadvertently project this bar onto other people. It should be more acceptable to take your time, but unfortunately, this doesn't happen in practice at the moment. It's okay to see other people spend less time and do better, that's just the way things are and a small insight into how different people are :)

-snip-

I have similar criticisms of such a system (as well as similar thoughts about the ATAR), but there aren't a lot of realistic alternatives, which is why I tend to hold back on criticism of the system. It's all too easy to say UCAT out or whatever, but at the end of the day it's a necessary evil, at least until a realistic improvement comes around.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 08:55:27 pm by fun_jirachi »
Spoiler
HSC 2018: Mod Hist [88] | 2U Maths [98]
HSC 2019: Physics [92] | Chemistry [93] | English Adv [87] | 3U Maths [98] | 4U Maths [97]
ATAR: 99.05

UCAT: 3310 - VR [740] | DM [890] | QR [880] | AR [800]
Guide Links:
Subject Acceleration (2018)
UCAT Question Compilation/FAQ (2020)
Asking good questions

Chocolatemilkshake

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I just wanted to say too that you don't need to achieve huge 3000+ UCAT scores that base some sort of intangible or inherent "worth" on your ability as a student. I worked really hard and put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the UCAT, and the score I got I personally believe did not reflect that effort - it was hard for me to come to terms with that.
Regardless, this is overall good advice. Just wanted to add my two cents re UCAT standards, since websites like AN and MSO do wonders for the self confidence of some potentially not as high achieving students!
Just wanted to add I 100% agree with this! Some people may be able to pull an incredible score after studying for a few weeks but at the end of the day, this is certainly not plausible for everyone and depends on a whole range of circumstances. I self-studied slowly for the UCAT over 2/3 months, balancing it with studying for my other VCE subjects. I came away with a 2780 and 80%ile score, something I'm not sure I would have been able to achieve if I hadn't put in that time studying. And sure, an 80%ile score isn't reflective of the majority of scores you see advertised online, isn't near what is considered competitive, but it still got me into med.

Basically I'm just reinforcing what some of the other's have said, one week may be enough for some but it isn't enough for many. I'm not sure providing 'tips' that may have worked in your situation (such as one week of study), can be extrapolated to every student.
I think it's okay to spend money (despite not doing so myself), but it's important to stress that it a) should be your decision, b) genuinely helps you, and c) gives you value for the money that you pay.
In regards to paying for resources, word-for-word I agree with this.
2021-2025: BMedSci/M.D @ Monash

ArexRew

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I just wanted to say too that you don't need to achieve huge 3000+ UCAT scores that base some sort of intangible or inherent "worth" on your ability as a student. I worked really hard and put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the UCAT, and the score I got I personally believe did not reflect that effort - it was hard for me to come to terms with that. There is quite a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and UCAT score, just as there is with any standardised testing (such as the ATAR), so often people who come from these backgrounds (of which I personally do not) can talk about their phenomenal 3000+ UCAT scores and make it seem like this should be a standard to meet at a very basic level, when in reality it is quite difficult for anyone to achieve that - which of course is the very nature of a 97th percentile. It is really remarkable to study for a week and achieve a 3300, so that's a very impressive achievement - I studied for three months and didn't get anywhere near that.

You will worry about the UCAT, as anyone taking a test that is worth potentially 33% of your university entrance will - but don't feel the need to have incredibly high standards set as a "benchmark" to base your entire academic intelligence or worth as a person on. One two hour test does not define your ability, and in reality there are people who will put the effort in and still will not manage to rise to the level that some universities require for, in my opinion, quite a classist university entrance system. If prep companies like Medify are helpful to people who need guided learning and targeted practice, I believe they are worth the investment. Although, I did score "hundreds of points less" than the OP so maybe I shouldn't have used them :P

Regardless, this is overall good advice. Just wanted to add my two cents re UCAT standards, since websites like AN and MSO do wonders for the self confidence of some potentially not as high achieving students!

Absolutely agree with this. The UCAT is just another method of testing and is used way less than the ATAR. Getting a UCAT outside the top decile is not the be all and end all to tertiary education aspirations. Having said that, I think getting a 3000+ is absolutely achievable for most people who are serious about studying medicine -- its just often the testing day, pressures get to some people or others prepare in a suboptimal way. Having said that, your point about socioeconomic status is really kind of the crux of my post -- if you can't afford to drop 300$ on Medify or MedEntry, its entirely possible to get a 3300 was my point.