My 2019 UCAT Experience: Taking the Exam on Day 1

Read about this UCAT Masterclass student's UCAT experience

In this article, a UCAT Masterclass student shares their experience of taking the test on the first day.

My 2019 UCAT Experience

The UCAT exam was a pretty big deal for me. I want to be an orthodontic surgeon, so I knew I needed to ace this.

Here’s how I spent my last 24 hours before the test and my experience of the UCAT.

 

24 hours before the exam

So, here’s my experience of taking the 2019 UCAT.

With one day left to go, I felt a bit anxious and the nerves were kicking in.

I set aside Sunday to revise and do practise questions. I chose the first day available (Monday) to do my UCAT exam because I wanted to get it out of the way – but I was regretting this decision now!

 

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So, I woke up early on Sunday and had a light breakfast. After that, I sat at my computer and did the 2-hour exam simulation.

I already had one of the UCAT Masterclass online exams saved because I wanted a real practice run before my exam day.

So, I put myself in strict exam conditions and mimicked the exam environment. This made me feel more prepared on the actual test day.

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Perhaps it was my exam stress, but time was passing by so quickly!

I was starting to feel nervous about tomorrow and I knew I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I would have hoped!

Abstract Reasoning is the section that I always struggled with. And I did worse than I’d expected in my practice exam!

 

So, after I finished the practice exam, I knew I had to brush up on Abstract Reasoning.

I did some quiz questions and read through my theory notes and examples. This helped me get remember the most common patterns in Abstract Reasoning.

 

However, I DIDN’T pull an all-nighter brushing up on Abstract Reasoning. I wanted a good night’s sleep before the exam to be ready tomorrow.

So, I gave myself some downtime after dinner and got ready for bed.

 

The day of the exam

After weeks of preparation, it was finally the day of the UCAT exam.

My exam was at 321 Pitt Street Sydney. I arrived at the test centre 30 minutes earlier than my scheduled exam time to check-in and get organised.

I showed them my driver’s licence (you can also use any of the photo IDs listed here) and a printed out version of my confirmation email.

Then, I placed my bag and belongings in a locker. You’re not allowed to bring anything into the test room with you, not even food or drinks.

I was checked to make sure I had nothing in my pockets.

The supervisors asked me to pat my pockets and lift up my sleeves before entering the exam room.

They were friendly about it which made it feel less intimidating.

 

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After that, I was given a laminated note board and a pen. I asked for extra pieces of note board before my exam to save time!

Even though I was 30 minutes early to my exam, they asked if I wanted to sit my exam straight away. That suited me fine!

 

I headed into the exam room to my assigned computer. There were 16 computers set up in the room, with around 9 candidates already taking the exam.

 

You can choose when to start the exam after you have settled in. I took some time to take a few deep breaths and make sure everything at my test station was set up:

  • I adjusted my seat height
  • I made sure my keyboard and number pad were working
  • I set up my note board on my desk
  • And made sure that the pen was working.

 

What to expect in the exam

The UCAT question types were very similar to the UKCAT practice tests and UCAT Masterclass practice exams I had done online.

If anything, the real exam was a tad easier than the UCAT Masterclass practice exams so I felt really prepared going into the real thing.

 

As I expected, the timing was extremely tight and I only had time to spare in Situational Judgement.

Overall, I was happy that I kept pace during most of the exam and managed to answer all of the questions in 4 of the 5 sections, even if I had to guesstimate some of the more difficult ones.

 

Verbal Reasoning

  • I was super disappointed that I lost track of time in Verbal Reasoning. I left about 10 questions unanswered at the end of the section. This is a huge mistake in the UCAT because there is no negative marking.
  • Each of the passages was three to four short paragraphs and there were a lot of historical names used.

 

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Decision Making

  • The order of the questions was as I had expected – Syllogisms, Logic Puzzles, Strongest Argument, Interpreting Information then Probability.
  • The Venn diagram questions were easier than the practice ones I had done.

 

Quantitative Reasoning

  • The Quantitative Reasoning section was much easier than I had anticipated. There were no long passages of information.
  • I did use my calculator a lot but most calculations were straightforward. The majority of questions involved percentage calculations and there were a lot that involved conversions.
  • The main currency used was pounds, which makes sense since UCAT comes from UKCAT.

 

Abstract Reasoning

  • The shapes that were used in the Abstract Reasoning section were quite basic (lines and regular shapes). However, I still had to guess some of the patterns as this is my weakest section.
  • The sequence and analogy questions at the end were very straightforward.

 

Situational Judgement

  • This was my least time-pressured subtest – I finished with about 10 minutes to spare.
  • The types of Situational Judgement scenarios were quite standard. There were scenarios involving doctors, dentists, nurses and patients as well as some university-based scenarios.

 

3 surprises…

  1. I could sit the exam immediately despite turning up early (or at least this was my experience).
  2. It was quite a relaxed atmosphere – the candidates already there were quietly sitting their exam and the exam supervisors would pop in and out to take candidates to their seats.
  3. I received my results online! I received an email 20 minutes after I had finished my exam saying my results were available online. You simply logon to your Pearson’s account and you can see your results there after you leave the exam.

5 of my top tips from my 2019 UCAT experience

  1. Make sure you go to the bathroom before beginning the exam. You have 120 minutes to complete the UCAT and there are no breaks, so any bathroom breaks will eat into your exam time.
  2. Set everything up at your test station and make sure you are comfortable before commencing the exam.
  3. Use the time in between each subtest to take deep breaths or write down anything you need to use in the next subtest (key formulas or other information you can use).
  4. Don’t spend too long on any one question. Whenever you are stuck on a question, guess an answer, flag the question, and move on. You can return to the question at the end if you have time.
  5. Use the UCAT keyboard shortcuts – this will save you precious time in the exam.

 

If you are sitting the UCAT exam, good luck!

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