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5 Top Tips to Score High at the UKCAT test

5 Top Tips to Score High at the UKCAT test

If you want to apply to a Medical School in the UK you will have to pass the UKCAT test before starting on your UCAS application. The results of the tests have to be joined to your application so make sure you take the test early enough in the year to get it out of the way, so you then have plenty of time to concentrate on your UCAS application, Personal statement, etc…

But how do you make sure to achieve the best score possible? Here are a few tips to maximize your efficiency during the test.

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Practice

To be ready for the test there is nothing better than practice, practice and more practice! Make sure you are familiar with the different sections of the test, and practice past questions.

Practicing UKCAT questions will put you at ease and make you more comfortable with the exam format, and you will learn techniques to improve your accuracy.  This will make you calm and composed on test day, allowing you to perform at your best.

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Read

Make sure you read the questions and statement properly. Take you time to make sure you have understood them properly. If you go too fast, you have more chance to miss that little detail that will change the meaning of the question or that influences your choice of the right answer.

Prioritize

If you have practiced before you will be aware of your weaknesses. Make sure you start with the section that might be the hardest for you, but don’t get bogged down on these questions either. Remember that you have lots more questions to answer as well. Don’t get stuck with the hardest questions – no doubt there will be some.  In the time spent answering only one of these you may miss out on answering three easier questions.  If a question is taking too long, choose a sensible answer and move on.  You can always flag it up and come back to it at the end if you have spare time. If you made a guess then it makes sense to mark it.  Always select an answer first time round (even if it’s a guess), as there is no negative marking – you may not have time to go back to it later on! Which leads us to…

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Timing

Mastering timing is paramount.  Some candidates choose answer questions as quickly as possible to save up time at the end to check back, but this is generally not the best way to do it.  UKCAT questions are packed with information – each time it takes time to get familiar with the instructions and information.  By splitting the question into two sessions (the first run-through and the return-to-check) you double the amount of time you spend on familiarizing yourself with the data, as you have to do it twice instead of only once.  This costs valuable time.  In addition, candidates who do check back may spend 2–3 minutes doing so and yet not make any changes.  Whilst this can be reassuring, it is a false reassurance as it has no effect on your score.  Therefore it is usually best to pace yourself, aiming to spend the same amount of time on each question and finish the final question in a section just as time runs out.  This reduces the time spent on re-familiarizing with questions and maximizes the time spent on the first attempt, gaining more marks.

Guess

The test’s marking scheme is only positive – you won’t lose points for wrong answers. Each correct answer gets a mark and wrong or unanswered questions do not get one. Therefore if you are not sure about the full answer to a question, you should guess. Since each question provides you with 3 to 4 possible answers, you have a 33% or 25% chance of guessing correctly – which is likely to translate to a number of points across the test.

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If you do need to guess, try to make it an educated one.  By giving the question a moment’s thought or making a basic estimation, you may be able to eliminate a couple of options, greatly increasing your chances of a successful guess.

Good Luck!

Featured photo credit: If you want to become medical professional via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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