6 Practical Ways To Improve Your UCAT Score From 2300 to 2800!

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The UCAT is an exam that is used as part of the selection process for entry into medical, dental and veterinary schools in the United Kingdom and Australia.

The UCAT consists of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Decision Making and Situational Judgment.

Thousands of students take the exam every year and therefore you must do everything you can to score highly and stand out from the rest.

In order to improve your UCAT score, you must first understand what the test is looking for.

The UCAT is designed to measure how well you can think critically and solve problems.

Here are some ways you can improve.

How is the UCAT scored?

The UCAT is scored on a scale of 300 to 900 per subtest, based on a student’s raw marks.

A good score is considered to be anything above 650.

Every year the scale changes slightly to ensure that easier UCAT exams don’t yield too many high-scoring candidates, and likewise, students aren’t penalised for sitting harder UCAT exams by using the same scoring system.

Each score is converted into percentiles based on a national distribution and this is what medical schools use to create cut-offs when selecting candidates for interviews.

As a general rule of thumb, if you score upwards of the 70th percentile, ie. the 7th decile, you should expect to be a competitive candidate.

Below is a table showing deciles from previous years.

{{UCAT Decile and equivalent score between 2017 to 2019}}

How To Improve Your UCAT Score From 2300 to 2800!

1) Understand the format of the UCAT

It is important to understand the format of the UCAT if you want to improve your score.

The best students know exactly the order of subtests to be shown, exactly how much time is required per question, and what tools and resources are available to them at the test centre or online.

Assuming things are back to normal and students are able to take the test in person, you should have a whiteboard and pen given to you.

Before each subtest, there is usually one minute to prepare yourself. This is where you should be writing all your mnemonics, formulas and memory devices for syllogisms, abstract reasoning questions, verbal reasoning tactics, conversion tables, halfway timers etc.

If you want to save even more time, you should do all this before the test even starts.

Do not start your test immediately

In each test centre, YOU are required to begin the exam.

When you double-check your name is correct on the monitor, you should not start the exam yet, as this will trigger the minute timer before the verbal reasoning subtest indicating the start of the exam.

Instead, use this time to read the instructions before starting, but also jot down any notes you need to us

e throughout the exam.

In addition, you are allowed to use a calculator via the on-screen window, however, you should be leaving a space on the whiteboard for handwritten calculations as these can be quicker.

Remember in the UCAT, you may not have an erasable whiteboard so if you use all the space and request a new one, you may lose all the information jotted down in the beginning.

2) Familiarize yourself with the question types

Students often familiarise themselves with the general structure of the exam, however, fail to spend time learning the various question types they may encounter.

There are numerous question types for each subtest of the UCAT exam, most of which have been covered prior in the guides for VR, DM, SJT, QR, and AR.

The good news is that all questions are in multiple-choice format, and as such, no text-based answer is required.

Knowing exactly what question types you will face, and roughly how many will put you in good stead when it comes to triaging and answering questions you are strongest with first.

For example, the verbal reasoning subtest has 2 distinct question types, with the first generally being quick to answer.

Unfortunately, out of the 11 sets, there are likely to only be 3 or 4 sets which are type 1.

This knowledge however means that you can find all the type 1 questions first, then look to the more involved type 2 questions which usually make up a larger portion of the verbal reasoning questions.

3) Practice, practice, practice

While there’s no substitute for experience, practising answering UCAT questions can help you improve your score greatly.

The more questions you answer, the better you’ll become at identifying the correct answer and eliminating incorrect responses.

Unfortunately, question banks can be very pricey, especially when they are online.

The good news is there are many things you can do to improve your test skills, namely improving your cognitive ability, practising your skim reading, and revising your GCSE maths and basic numeracy.

The free question banks on the official UCAT website are sufficient to familiarise yourself with questions, however, an overreliance on the older question banks on the website may skew your understanding of what to expect in the real thing.

2 hours a day, 3-4 days a week is sufficient time for UCAT practice.

Early starts aren’t necessary (ie beginning revision 10 months+ ahead of time) so instead, you should roughly aim to start revising 2-3 months ahead of your test.

Your practice should be varied or else stagnation is risked. Instead, you should practice a different subtest or question type, every other day.

4) Get adequate rest before the test

It is important to get adequate rest before taking a test.

Your brain needs time to rest and recharge in order to perform its best.

When you are tired, your focus and attention span are both shortened, which can lead to lower test scores.

In addition, lack of sleep can cause physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches, both of which can also distract you from the test.

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your exam!

During practice, you should also be well rested, hydrated, and alert as this promotes better revision sessions and less corner-cutting when practising for the UCAT.

5) Boost your confidence by practising positive self-talk

Positive self-talk is something more students should be engaging in.

Affirm your success, visualise it, feel it, and make it your reality.

Here are some example affirmations your can say.

“I am good at maths and logic puzzles”.

“I am good at revising for the UCAT exam”.

“I am proud of my performance in my upcoming exam”.

“I avoid procrastination, and am able to do what it takes to secure a place at medical school”.

“I am a hard worker”.

“I am serious about going to medical school, and understand what I must do to get there”.

Positive self-talk is an important re-programming technique to get you in the right mindset to achieve success.

6) Practice answering UCAT questions under timed conditions

Additionally, practising under timed conditions will help you develop a sense of how much time you need to spend on each question.

An important tip is to memorise all the durations of each subtest and to write down the halfway point on your whiteboard.

this will help you roughly gauge if you are slightly ahead or behind on the number of questions you have done.

Initially, you should practice questions in untimed conditions.

It won’t help anyone if you are timing a question you don’t understand in the first place.

So the first step is to ensure you understand all question types, then slowly ramp up timing.

I advise using the UCAT Tools Timer to help. You should begin at roughly 2-4x the actual timings, then slowly work your way down to 1x the timing (actual timings).


In conclusion, if you want to improve your UCAT score from 2300 to 2800, you need to focus on the following areas:

– Time management

– Being well-prepared for the exam

– Practicing under test conditions

– Identifying your weaknesses and working on them

-Practice positive self-talk

-Getting sufficient rest

-Practice 2 hours a day

Following these tips will help you achieve the best UCAT score possible and get one step closer to getting into the medical/dental school of your dreams!

Do you want some extra UCAT tips?

Get a list of 20 secret UCAT tips used by the best students to improve their scores on test day!


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