Taking a Preparation Course for UCAT Preparation

If you don’t even know what UCAT preparation courses are, then read through this short paragraph.

There are two clear and equally opposite positions on the question of whether or not to conduct one or more UCAT preparation courses: 

  1. One time a clear no, from the universities
  2. The fact that a lot of applicants still take preparatory courses

So the subject is controversial. At this point, it makes sense to take a closer look at the whole thing.

What does a UCAT preparation course bring me?

Regardless of which provider: UCAT preparation courses do not reinvent the wheel. In a course, the test parts text comprehension, cognitive abilities and skills and social-emotional competencies are usually dealt with. The teaching of all subjects usually includes an introduction with rules and incidents of the sub-test (e.g. putting figures together). Then you learn different processing strategies for the subtests. Finally, many preparation courses usually also have a test simulation.

(The BMS is too comprehensive, which is why there are seldom courses that teach it in 3 – 5 days. In our opinion, this does not make sense.)

The goal of your UCAT preparation

The ultimate goal of your preparation is of course to get a place at university. How do you do that? In which you achieve an overall value that brings a commitment for the chosen study location. To do this, you have to know the admission limits of the last few years and be better than them. You can find the admission limits for the last few years on the internet

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Roughly estimated, the limit in all contingents and all study locations is around 80% of the total. That is why you will surely receive a confirmation from UCAT if you achieve a total value of approx. 85%.

Important: That is the goal of your UCAT preparation. In the next few weeks and months, you should check again and again what your total value is and adapt your preparation so that you then also achieve 85% total value with the UCAT.

Who is a UCAT preparation course suitable for?

The most important effect of a preparatory course is that it prevents the so-called “warm-up effect”. In addition, you learn processing strategies with which you can solve the individual subtests more effectively. Because the above are qualities that well-prepared applicants already have, preparation courses are particularly worthwhile for the following applicants:

  • Applicants who are going to take the UCAT for the first time
  • Applicants whose total score is less than 60%
  • Applicants who have major, ongoing problems with one or more sub-tests

We do not recommend a UCAT preparation course to any other applicant.

How expensive are UCAT preparation courses actually?

Depending on which provider you choose and the scope of your preparation course, a course is moderate to very expensive. The price range for UCAT preparation courses is between $ 199 and $ 2000.

There is a great organization that will reimburse you for a large part of the course costs. The name of the organization is MedicMind, with this organization, the applicants receive support who have participated in preparatory courses with up to $ 350. 

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Advantages and disadvantages of UCAT preparation courses

In the following, we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of UCAT preparation courses.

Advantages of preparation courses

  • Prevention of “warm-up” effect
  • Learning new machining strategies
  • Time-saving when learning
  • Insider knowledge from experienced trainers

Disadvantages of preparation courses

  • High price
  • Improvement in the overall value is not expected
  • BMS is almost never treated
  • Is tied to one place (mostly a big city, e.g. LONDON)

Optimal duration of the UCAT preparation

Every participant in the UCAT has an individual situation. Some were at a technical high school, others had no physics at all from high school. Some come straight from school and others are already studying a course other than medicine or dentistry to bridge the gap. In the following, we give you recommendations for a preparation time in months. We assume that you study an average of 3 hours on 5 days a week.

Important: Our recommendations are based on statistical evaluations from previous UCAT participants. We questioned thousands of them and found that beyond a certain length of UCAT preparation the chances of being accepted increase very quickly. The bottom line is that you can say the following: the average duration of the UCAT preparation should be between 3 – 6 months.

People who study for a shorter period of time are far less likely to receive an acceptance than those who study for 3 to 6 months. It is also important that the total value does not get much higher if you study for more than 6 months. Instead, it is better to do a lot of test simulations in your preparation.

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What do you do when you only have a month or two left to study UCAT?

If you only start learning shortly before UCAT, there is only one chance you can get a place at the university: you carry out many test simulations until the test day and work specifically on your weaknesses.

Test simulations during UCAT preparation

All successful UCAT participants do test simulations – without exception. A test simulation is the best way to find out your current level of knowledge and also to learn exam questions. We, therefore, recommend that you carry out at least 5 – 6 test simulations during your preparation and do a test simulation on-site at least once (i.e. with a real trainer and the course of the UCAT).

Why we are so passionate about test simulations.

Test simulations improve your overall UCAT work with scientific precision. A very large meta-study from 2018 shows that test simulations improve your results not only in the knowledge part but also in the cognitive part of entrance exams. This fact is so well established in science that it even has a name of its own: the “retest effect”. Our own surveys of previous applicants also show that those who do a lot of test simulations have better results.

As a conclusion we can summarize:

If you are new to UCAT preparation, it is worth taking a preparation course. But if you have a little experience with UCAT, it’s of no use, move ahead to prepare for it now.