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Distributed Practice and the UCAT: What you need to know Part 1

Over the last few years the education sector has been rampant with ideals of “studying smarter not harder”, doing “less work for more reward” and a series of other catch phrases that seem too good to be true. Nevertheless, there is one system that eclipses all others in the research conducted, the widespread implementation and the unanimous praise it has received from scientists, psychologists, students and teachers alike: distributed practice. In part one of this two part blog series, we look at what distributed practice means, why it works and why you should implement it for your UCAT study. What is...
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Distributed Practice and the UCAT: What you need to know Part 2

In part 1 of this blog, we looked at why it is important to study with distributed practice for the UCAT. In part 2, we will look at how to implement this into your UCAT plan. How to implement distributed practice for UCAT Here are some tips and strategies on how to best use distributed practice in your UCAT preparation (you can also use them in your secondary school and university study; or acquiring any skill for that matter): 1. Plan out a UCAT study schedule/timetable This is an important step. You need to make time for your UCAT preparation, even...
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Virtual Medical Interviews: Tips For Success

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some changes to medical school admissions. A significant change has been the move from in-person medical interviews to virtual interviews at some universities. A virtual interview in an interview that uses technology such as video conferencing software such as Zoom, or other online communication platforms. Several medical schools have already confirmed that medical interviews this year will take place virtually, including: Auckland UniversityMonash UniversityThe University of New South WalesAdelaide UniversityCharles Sturt UniversityThe University of Queensland A virtual interview is very different from an in-person one and requires an understanding of how to best present yourself....
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Didn’t do well in UCAT? Here’s how to bounce back in four steps

The UCAT is one of the criteria for both undergraduate medicine schools in New Zealand and Australia. The UCAT may determine whether or not you receive an interview offer at certain universities, so many students put in the extra mile to maximise their UCAT results. There are many factors that can influence performance in UCAT, and receiving a lower mark than expected may feel like all our efforts have gone to waste. I’ve been there before, and although it may feel like the end of the world (I certainly felt that way), I can assure you that it is possible to...
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How will medical and dental schools use interviews? Here’s a summary

So, you’ve completed your UCAT and now you’re working hard to achieve high grades. But what about your medical interview? Medical interviews are perhaps the most under-recognised part of the medical entry admissions process. Highly able students who have excelled in their UCAT and ATAR/GPA have unfortunately missed out on a place in medicine due to failure to understand and prepare for interviews. Each university uses medical interviews differently, and it can be confusing. Here is a summary: Course How are students selected for interview? Type of interview Interview themes How are students selected for a place? Adelaide University (Medicine &...
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Preliminary UCAT ANZ 2021 Test Statistics Released!

UCAT ANZ 2021 preliminary statistics have been released, which will help students to interpret their UCAT 2021 scores. The majority of UCAT candidates have sat their 2021 UCAT test, so it is expected that the final UCAT summary statistics will not be very different from these figures. The UCAT 2021 preliminary statistics data is available at: https://www.ucat.edu.au/media/1469/preliminary-summary-statistics_august.pdf This UCAT data shows that: Students who achieved an overall scaled score of 2960 were in the 90th percentile, which is generally required for entry into standard undergraduate medical degrees in Australia (UCAT scores required are lower for dentistry and those with very high Y13/GPA...
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3 Tips for Written Applications

Some universities, including James Cook University and the University of New South Wales, require you to submit a written application when applying for medicine. Written applications may be used to select students for interview or guide interviewers’ questions on the day. They are therefore an important part of the application process. When so many students are submitting applications, how can you make yours stand out? Here are some tips. Know what each medical school cares about Every school has a different focus: for example, James Cook university has a significant emphasis on rural, remote, Indigenous and tropical health. It is vital...
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CONVERT YOUR UCAT 2021 SCORE INTO A PERCENTILE

Want to know your predicted UCAT percentile ranking? MedEntry has released a calculator that will help you convert your UCAT scores into estimated percentile rankings. You can find the calculator here: https://www.medentry.co.nz/ucat-score-percentile-calculator The calculator produces accurate estimated percentile rankings using the deciles outlined in the UCAT ANZ 2020 Summary Test Statistics, for example, the mean cognitive total score of 2520 corresponding to approximately 50th percentile. Simply enter in your UCAT scaled scores for each UCAT subtest, and you will be provided with an estimated UCAT percentile ranking for the cognitive subtests, and a separate estimated percentile ranking for the UCAT Situational Judgement test. This...
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How Will Medical Schools Use UCAT? Here's a Summary

With the UCAT testing period underway, many students who have sat UCAT are wondering how UCAT will be used to select applicants into medical school in NZ/Australia. Most universities use a combination of three factors when selecting students into medicine or dentistry. These include: UCAT ANZ scores (either cognitive subtests* only, or all UCAT subtests)Medical interview performanceY13 performance (for Australia) or GPA (for NZ) *UCAT cognitive subtests include UCAT Verbal Reasoning, UCAT Decision Making, UCAT Quantitative Reasoning and UCAT Abstract Reasoning Each university is different, and their medical entry requirements often change at short notice. Further, they are often not transparent about the...
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7 TIPS FOR USING THE UCAT CALCULATOR

I managed to score 880 out of 900 in the UCAT Quantitative Reasoning section. A significant reason for this was my ability to use the UCAT Calculator quickly and effectively. In this blog, I discuss my top tips for using the UCAT Calculator. Learning to use the UCAT calculator took my mind off the time-consuming and seemingly never-ending calculations required to answer UCAT Quantitative Reasoning questions. I was able to actually THINK about how to solve the UCAT question without drowning in all the grunt work. Too many students are frustrated because they know they could have solved more UCAT Quantitative...
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UCAT vs GAMSAT

There are two major pathways into medicine: the undergraduate route (which generally requires you to sit UCAT) and the graduate route (which generally requires GAMSAT in Australia). As an aspiring medical student, it can be difficult to know which pathway to take, particularly when some universities strongly market the graduate route. MedEntry recommends that you choose the undergraduate (UCAT) route, as there are several advantages for you and your future medical career. For more information, check out this blog: https://www.medentry.edu.au/ucat/entry/medicine-at-unsw-or-usyd (note: links to AU MedEntry site) This blog summarises the differences between UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) and the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical Schools...
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Optimising your performance in UCAT: 5 Lessons from Sports Psychology

Preparing for the UCAT is like preparing for a marathon: it requires training, persistence and strategies to optimise your performance on UCAT test day. Just as an athlete prepares for a major sporting event, so you must prepare yourself to sit UCAT, which is one of the most important exams that you will face in your career. We can learn much from athletes about optimising performance in UCAT, as outlined in this TED talk by Martin Hagger: This talk discusses how highly successful athletes prepare themselves before a competition. The five key points are summarised below, with an emphasis on how...
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I didn’t get a good enough UCAT score – what should I do?

If you are in First year at Auckland or Otago and did not do well in UCAT: You can continue your degree and apply through the graduate category or you can apply to Australia after resitting UCAT in your second year.     If you are Year 13 in NZ and want to get straight into medicine in Australia but did not do well in UCAT:  The UCAT testing period is a big month for many students across Australasia and even other countries around the world. For information on what is a 'good' UCAT score, check out our dedicated blog. It can...
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6 COMMON UCAT VERBAL REASONING PITFALLS

  Without a doubt, most UCAT test takers find Verbal Reasoning to be the most challenging subtest. The combination of the stringent timing (~30s per question), the information dense passages and of course, testing nerves (being the first UCAT section!), can often result in lower scores in this subtest. It is important to note that participants tend to score lower in UCAT Verbal Reasoning – from last year’s UCAT test statistics, you can see that the mean for Verbal Reasoning is lower than that across the other subtests. During your UCAT practice, don’t be disheartened if you struggle with this section!...
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UCAT SITUATIONAL JUDGEMENT: 5 TOP TIPS

Situational Judgement UCAT questions test a different type of non-cognitive aptitude, and can be challenging if you do not have an effective framework to answer them. This blog covers five key tips for success in the UCAT Situational Judgement test. 1.  Identify the key issue(s) in the scenario When reading the UCAT Situational Judgement scenario, it is important to read actively, identifying the key issues raised. This will help you to judge the relative importance of considerations, or the appropriateness of various actions. For example, a consideration is likely to be ‘very important’ if it addresses a key issue raised in...
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5 Tips For UCAT Timing

If you ask any candidate sitting UCAT what the hardest part of the UCAT is, they will inevitably say one thing: timing. All questions in the UCAT are do-able if you are given unlimited time. If sufficient time is given, most students would be able to score very highly in UCAT. However, UCAT is designed intentionally to give you less time than is required to answer UCAT questions. This is the only way the UCAT Consortium can distinguish the top performers from the rest of the pack. In fact, each year over one fifth of UCAT candidates fail to mark an...
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Is UCAT Stressing You Out? Here's How to Use Stress to Your Advantage

You may have heard that stress negatively impacts on performance, particularly in an intellectually challenging test such as UCAT. You may have been told that if you are too stressed in the lead up to an important exam such as UCAT, you won’t do well. You may have been advised to look for ways to relieve your UCAT-related stress. While this may be true, in some cases trying to get rid of UCAT stress can actually cause you to become more stressed. A different approach, which might sound crazy at first, is to embrace your UCAT stress. The following three strategies...
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Optimising your health for UCAT: What I learned from getting the flu two days before my UCAT exam and other lessons

Imagine you’re a hardworking student. You have consistently studied for the UCAT for several months and you are feeling pretty well prepared for UCAT exam itself (hopefully this is not too hard for you to imagine ?). Maybe you have a week before exam day and while you are beginning to feel the nerves of the situation, you are really not too worried. Because why should you be? You have studied hard. You have completed or come pretty close to completing your UCAT tuition course. You even went to one of those famous two day MedEntry workshops with the mighty Dr...
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5 Tips for UCAT Abstract Reasoning

Struggling with UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions? Check out this blog which outlines 5 top tips. 1.  Identify the pattern first When you are first starting out with Abstract Reasoning UCAT questions, it can be tempting to focus on the test shape and try to ‘match’ it to the sets. This wastes valuable time and is unlikely to lead you to the correct answer. Instead, start by examining the sets and looking for a pattern. Once you have identified the pattern, it will be easy to determine which set the test shape fits into.  2.  Choose your own perspective Some questions are...
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UCAT Scoring and Scaling: How does it work? Part 1

A common question among students preparing to sit the UCAT is how does UCAT scoring work? This blog answers that question. Practical implications for the UCAT test taker are covered in Part 2 of this blog. Many UCAT companies claim that they can predict UCAT scores and percentiles from the number of UCAT questions that you answer correctly. This is unfortunately completely misleading and inaccurate. Most UCAT preparation companies have little to no understanding of the scoring process and therefore their platforms provide misleading information regarding predicted UCAT scores. In reality, UCAT scoring is an extremely complicated process. In this blog...
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