The Only 3 Things You Need To Remember For UCAT Success

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So, you’re about to face the incredible challenge of the UCAT test, huh? Exciting, isn’t it? Sure, it might seem daunting at first, but worry not my friend; I’m here to share with you the essential keys to UCAT success. Whether you’re a seasoned student or a school leaver, everyone needs a helping hand to climb this mountain. Are you ready? Let’s dive right in. 

Intelligence and aptitude don’t score high marks, time management does

The UCAT is not an aptitude or intelligence test like they all say, it isn’t even a “practice makes perfect” exam. 

It’s an exercise in effective triage. 

Effective triage is a crucial skill one must hone. It equates to determining who requires urgent care first, amidst a sea of patients, and it’s a real-life scenario that doesn’t adhere to the orderliness of a typical exam.

Early recognition and understanding of this skill is precisely what medical schools are attempting to instill with the UCAT. 

In the broadest sense, effective triage entails prioritising tasks based on their urgency and importance. As a doctor, this may involve assigning appropriate care to patients based on the severity of their conditions.

Within the context of UCAT, effective triage refers to strategically answering questions, ensuring those with the highest value are addressed first for optimized scoring. Remember, early recognition and understanding of this skill is precisely what medical schools are attempting to instill with the UCAT.

Since most of the questions are scored evenly, the highest value questions are those that are the simplest, shortest, or briefest to address – finding this and answering in that order will guarantee the highest mark.

Not overcomplicating the exam

The key to mastering the UCAT doesn’t necessarily lie in intricate strategies or radical revamps of your thinking style. Rather, it lies in a basic understanding of the exam coupled with sustained, purposeful practice.

Often, students tend to overcomplicate the UCAT, viewing it as an insurmountable challenge. While it is true that the exam is comprehensive, it is far from impossible to conquer, especially in the section on abstract reasoning. Remember, the UCAT is designed to be answered by most people within a stipulated timeframe. Therefore, envision it as an attainable target rather than a terrifying beast. 

Play To Your Strengths, work on your weaknesses

Success in the UCAT exam hinges on a simple yet effective strategy – play to your strengths and diligently work on your weaknesses. Now, what does this mean exactly? 

The beauty of the UCAT exam is, it doesn’t force a linear approach. This allows you to tackle the questions that you can easily, quickly, and accurately solve initially. Thus, securing those crucial points without eating up too much of your limited time. 

In the heat of the exam, go for the low hanging fruits first – essentially, capitalise on your strongest areas.

However, this doesn’t mean you should overlook your weaker areas. Quite the opposite. Let’s put it this way: 

  • What’s the one section you dread the most?
  • If you had a choice, what would be the section you’d skip?

Perhaps for you, it’s the abstract reasoning portion. Or the verbal reasoning section. Or it might be decision-making that often leaves you stumped. These pain points are exactly what you need to concentrate on in your practice sessions. 

Strike a balance between boosting your strengths and turning your weaknesses into opportunities for scoring more points.

Become intimately familiar with the sections you find daunting. Repeat them relentlessly until they virtually become your strong points. This method ensures you are well-rounded and prepared for anything that the UCAT can throw at you.


Approaching the UCAT can feel like a daunting task, but remember, your success does not solely rest on intelligence and aptitude. It’s about strategy. So, as you embark on your journey towards UCAT success, here are three key points to keep front of mind.

  1. Time Management is Key: “It’s not about how intelligent you are, but rather how you can best utilise your time.”
  2. Simplicity is Your Friend: “Don’t overcomplicate the questions. Stick to what’s asked, and don’t get sidetracked by unnecessary details.”
  3. Play to Your Strengths & Work on Your Weaknesses: “Maximise your strengths and work diligently to improve areas of weakness. The road to success is paved with continuous learning and improvement.”

Please take these pointers to heart and implement them in your preparation. Good luck!

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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