I did not have enough sleep the night before the test. I was flipping over from side to side, adjusting the pressure on either side of my body while exasperating in frustration in lieu of the hot unbearable weather.
My consciousness only slipped off 4 hours before the circadian rhythm sent my body into alert mode. I was awake – wide awake at 9 in the morning.
With 7 hours more to go before the commencement of my paper, I sat up on the chair of the study, took out the UKCAT practice book and started reading through the tips. Minutes later, boredom crept in and my brain’s capacity to absorb decrease. Soon after, I found myself back on bed, drifting into deep slumber.
I woke up on time, with more than sufficient time to prepare and head out. I reached the test centre early, so they decided to have me begin the testing earlier.
Verbal reasoning (VR), the worst section of them all, had me rushing because I realized I was 3-5 questions behind time when the clock strike 11 minutes, the halfway mark which serve as a gentle reminder that time was not on my side. I guessed quite a bit of questions, tapping into the relevancy of my knowledge, and found none.
Decision Making was next. I never knew I could skip this section since this was not marked and was under trial. Nonetheless, I cracked my brain and worked towards the end. The only benefit I had was that this served as a miniature preparation for my Quantitative reasoning, the next section of the test, given that there were a few mathematical questions.
Quantitative (QR) was scary, but I had to stay calm and my eyes constantly glaring at the seconds ticking away at the digital timer. There were multiple questions where I could not understand the table. But I tried to make an educated guess and move on, I do not want to have this section ended up like VR. Skipping the questions were a right choice because I had more time to deal with the simpler questions more confidently.
Abstract (AR) came next on the list and I stumbled over a few questions, who’s pattern were hard to postulate and made a quick guess. Sometimes, my reasoning fell on the simplest chain of rules, sometimes a complicated one. So long as the rule I logically came up with was followed by the shapes, it did not matter.
The last section was the Situational Judgement Test (SJT). This made me realized why ethical situations are always difficult to address. You know what is the correct thing to do, yet, factors that affect your relationships with others, how others perceive you and all will taunt your decisions to steer clear from being ethical. Maybe that is why they have SJT in this test – to put the opinions of others aside and do right.
The results were instantly generated when you end the test.
Results for VR, QR, AR are generated on a scale of 300-900. According to the UKCAT website, 500-700 is the average score.
And here’s mine:
Can you imagine my excitement when I saw this?!
I almost burst out jumping with so much excitement and happiness!
I have been constantly tracking my progress since I started practising 2 months ago. My VR, on average is 570. Seeing how this section was slightly lower, but still within the average zone, I was sad. But then again, I would not know if 550 lies in the average zone until UKCAT release the quartiles in Late September.
My average for QR and AR is 630 and 650 respectively, with 700 and 770 as the maximum. So when I saw the first digit hitting an 8, I was so shock I almost got into a coma!
The figures 8 and 9 following the first digit was 0.0000001% close to sending me fainting!
I was so happy with my results and I started spamming everybody on the whatsapp, announcing my results! Haha.
But still, I think my excitement and happiness would be a lot more tangible only when I get accepted into the UK Medicine School!
When I posted my results online, I had many people messaging me, asking for tips. So here are the tips for QR and AR (couldn’t give VR since I did not score well in that subset).
Quantitative reasoning tips:
- Among the 36 questions, there would be 2-3 graphs of higher difficulty. If you cannot digest the question, or get the answers listed in the options after 2 tries, skip it.
- But when you skip a question, flag it and choose a random answer, or close to what you’ve calculated! You don’t want to lose these marks when you realized there’s not enough time to switch over and choose an answer.
- Despite 2-3 graphical or data questions being harder, the rest are pretty easy!
- Always read the question and understand what they are asking!
- Especially the units!
- Make sure you cover the areas the question is asking and then calculate the answer. if you are on track, then you should be able to get the correct answer
- If you are practising for UKCAT, I suggest you to try reading the QR question first before the information. This is to free space, and mitigate the feelings of panic (from not being able to digest or understand), and allow your mind to filter the information you need to answer the question from the main chunk. But, if this doesn’t work for you, read the question first!
- Always practise under timed conditions.
- Unless you are starting out, then grab the techniques first (i.e. untimed test), before you transit to timing yourself (to see how fast you take to answer) and lastly, to refining your speed (under test timed conditions).
- During the test, keep in mind the time. 9 questions should take you about 5.5 minutes. I had this habit of writing down the breakdown of time so I know when the time strikes 11 minutes, I need to be on question 18, at least.
- If you cannot understand a question, or get the answer, skip it. Focus on those that can give you the points.
- If have a strong mental calculator, rely on it. It is always faster to work using your mind than the calculator! I did this for most of my questions!
- Jot down any useful numbers you get in case you need them again. (Save time on recalculating, especially when there is a lot to add)
- Lastly, keep practising especially with distance, speed, time questions, and currency questions.
- Segment your time properly! You will need to take note of your time more often so you don’t fall back.
- Look at the 6 boxes of Set A, figure out what is the rule. Always look at the simplest box because there’s lesser distractors.
- Look out for Shape, Size, Numbers, Angles, Symmetrical lines, Arrangement. If there are arrows, look for relationship between arrow and objects.
- Sometimes, the pattern can be very easy to spot. Don’t over think too much.
- Once you settled on a rule and it works with Set A, Set B’s rule should run along the same line (i.e. Set A has 3 circles and 1 white square, Set B has 2 black triangles and 2 white circles).
- Once you figured the rules out, quickly group your test questions to group A or B or neither. Those falling into Neither have similar patterns, but does not satisfy a criteria for boh A and B (i.e. size too small, or too many or too little in numbers).
- Most type 1 AR questions belongs to either A or B.
- If you cannot figure out the rule, figure out which test shape belongs to neither A and B based on something common between A and B (i.e. all must have an arrow, so if a test shape has no arrow, most likely, it does not belong to A or B). Then guess the other shapes in either A or B.
- Type 2 and 3 questions are easier to score, so score them as fast as possible and don’t waste the chances of you collecting the marks.
- Cannot determine the pattern? Just skip, but don’t forget to pick an answer first!
Thinking back now, QR and AR is actually quite fun!
In case you guys may be wondering, I had 2 months to practice my UKCAT. How I start off my practice is to first grab the concept and see how well I fare (not in timed conditions). Subsequently, I timed myself to see how fast I can do the questions based on my abilities. This is importantly, especially to assess how well you have been improving or how quickly you are deterroriating. Lastly, do the test under the UKCAT timed conditions and determine how much to improve and ways to circumvent that issue.
Remember, do not panic and read carefully! Carelessness is something I always fall into when I was doing my practice papers.
Lastly, all the best to those taking UKCAT! Drop me a message or leave a comment if you need help! I would gladly help you guys if you need :)!