The study which showed that UCAT coaching does not help (MedObs 5/9/8) has several flaws. Firstly there is a conflict of interest in UWS staff doing this research: they have a vested interest in showing that coaching does not help. Otherwise their job (testing/interviewing) becomes harder. Further, if interview coaching does not help, why do careers centres at all universities actively coach students in interview techniques? Are the universities wasting tax payers' money by offering dubious services? Universities also offer training to students on psychometric tests in preparation for recruitment screening at assessment centres.
If ACER/Universities truly believe coaching is of little benefit, why do they actively discourage students from undergoing training? After all, what we do is offer education, like universities. It sounds like a conspiracy to prevent students from taking up coaching.
The authors admit that those who undergo coaching have significantly higher ATAR (Year 12 results). It can therefore be concluded that UCAT coaching increases students' motivation and hence improves their school results. In fact, most students of our program say that attending the workshop has significantly increased their motivation to study.
In Australian Doctor (5/9/2008, p3), Dr Edward of MedEntry is quoted as saying "Our surveys consistently show that about 99.3% of the students find our program useful. Our approach is holistic. We believe in developing the skills of the students in a fundamental, sustainable way, developing their thinking skills, making them a better person, a more likeable person and do not offer gimmicks".
In Medical Observer (5/9/2008, page 3) article: "Dr Edward of MedEntry warned medical School hopefuls to do their homework before handing over money for courses because there are many poor quality courses".
In Medical Observer (5/12/2008, page 16) article: Dr Edward, of MedEntry is a vocal voice from the other side, frequently espousing the benefits of coaching in letters to the editor in various medical and mainstream publications. Dr Edward says statistical analyses have consistently shown that coaching does help, and that 99.3% of his students 'felt that coaching helped.' 'AMSA's (Australian Medical Students' Association) own survey found that 70% of students felt coaching helped,' he adds. Dr Edward believes there is a quality difference between what the various companies out there offer and warns that students should do their homework to find a reputable one. 'Customers should always go by word of mouth, and research the credibility of the organisation,' he says.