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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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