METC Institute Blog

UCAT Exam-taking Strategy

Posted by Dan on Jun 10, 2019 3:51:50 PM


The date has been set; your diary is marked. What next?

It goes without saying this is an exam you can’t prepare for overnight. That’s not to say that someone, somewhere, can go into a UCAT and perform well with minimal preparation – but it’s a rarity. Give yourself enough time to prepare. Chances are if you’re reading this blog, you’re invested in performing well so have at least a rough plan for your preparation. Let us at METC help you improve it and ensure that you’re working towards excelling in each of the sections, in order to maximise your score.

Practice, practice, practice. Take as many practice exams that you can get your hands on. Practice under timed conditions. Review practice papers and (in particular) those answers you get incorrect to ensure that you identify where you made your error. This exam requires quick solutions for a particular set of questions. There is no better way to prepare for this type of exam than in practicing similar questions.

Football players, for example, train with a number of individual drills that are parts or sections of their overall game. In soccer for example, corners will be repeatedly taken, and tactics practiced, ensuring that each individual part or component is perfected. Agility exercises are implemented to improve this component of an individual’s game. Each part practiced combines to form the overall game. You need to apply this to your UCAT preparation: see it as a test that can be broken down into parts, with each part worked on individually.

Identify your weaknesses. There are many ways to both objectively and subjectively do this. Most people have good insight into their performance, even if it is difficult to admit to themselves. Be honest with yourself and realise that there’s nothing wrong with weakness in an area: we all have our weaknesses, just as we have our strengths. Objectively, you could appraise yourself through tallying your practice test marks. Or, ask a study buddy their thoughts on where you need to improve.

Whichever way you choose to go about this, ensure:

  • You’re honest and thorough
  • You put the time in to improve your weak areas.

If you’re not enjoying the questions you’re doing, or they’re “tiring” or “hard”, good! We enjoy things that we’re good at, and if you’re struggling at it, it’s an area that needs to improve. Keep at it.

On the day, a couple of things to remember and plan for.

Plan your day well. You’ll likely be stressed (unless you’re a very cool cucumber), so make sure you prepare well to make the day easy and smooth on yourself. Fix yourself a decent meal to eat. Arrange transport with plenty of time to allow for transportation issues. Have your bag packed with your required items (including ID) the night before.

On the day, typical test advice applies here: read the question carefully and use a process of elimination, if required, to decide on the correct answer. Treat each question equally, moving on to (potentially) more achievable questions if you’re stuck on a particular puzzler.

Finally, don’t self-appraise your performance mid exam. If you make a mistake, no need to ruminate. The exam can be thought of as a marathon rather than a sprint, and any ‘trips’ or ‘stumbles’ throughout the performance won’t have much of an effect if you don’t let them.

For those taking an upcoming exam, from us at METC Institute, all the very best! If you’re got any further questions or would like to see how we can help you with your preparation, send us an email at

Topics: UCAT, UCAT Preparation