So many of us are going to be taking the UKCAT this year! I thought we could use this thread to discuss any problems we're having, the basic questions, talk about our nerves when our date's coming up and the aftermath!
For candidates sitting the examination in summer 2008, the UKCAT will consist of five subtests:
* Verbal reasoning - assesses candidates' ability to think logically about written information and to arrive at a reasoned conclusion.
* Quantitative reasoning - assesses candidates' ability to solve numerical problems.
* Abstract reasoning - assesses candidates' ability to infer relationships from information by convergent and divergent thinking.
* Decision analysis - assesses candidates' ability to deal with various forms of information, to infer relationships, to make informed judgements, and to decide on an appropriate response, in situations of complexity and ambiguity.
* Non-cognitive analysis - identifies the attributes and characteristics of robustness, empathy and integrity that may contribute to successful health professional practice.
Verbal Reasoning (VR) - 44 questions in 21 + 1 to review (22) minutes
Quantitative Reasoning (QR) - 40 questions in 21 + 1 to review (22) minutes
Abstract Reasoning (AR) - 65 questions in 15 + 1 to review (16) minutes
Decision Analysis (DA) - 26 questions in 29 + 1 to review (30) minutes
UKCAT registration opens: 01 May 2008
UKCAT testing begins: 07 July 2008
Bursary and voucher application deadline: 26 Sept 2008
UKCAT registration deadline: 26 Sept 2008
UKCAT last testing date: 10 Oct 2008
UCAS application deadline: 15 Oct 2008
First things first, almost everyone has been panicking about the QR section because of the practice section on the UKCAT site.
The night before my exam, I could barely get through half of the QR section on the website before time ran out. You've just got to try and keep calm and make sure you nail the questions that you do do - if the data is really complicated, take a guess, mark for review, and move on.
In the actual exam I guessed the last 8 questions, and ended up with a score of 830, so I don't think you're meant to be able to finish it...
I stuck to the timings for the other three sections, so managed to just about complete them as the time was up.
Apart from doing the practice sections on the UKCAT site and familiarising yourself with the timings for each section, the only advice I can give is what worked for me:
Try to do a bit of reading (new material, not old, familiar books) over the weekend - maybe from a newspaper or something - and see how quickly you can pick up the key ideas from the article. You might be surprised how much easier it becomes once you've 'warmed up'.
Maybe do a couple of sudokus or something to get your head used to dealing with numbers and logic again: if you're anything like me, your brain will have slowed down considerably since the end of the school term!
I also found going through the answers to the abstract sample questions on the UKCAT website especially handy - it let me know what types of patterns and stuff they were working from.
Apart from that, try not to worry too much about it (easier said than done, I know) - as long as you're familiar with the format of the questions, I don't think there's too much more you can do about it. Get a good night's sleep the night before!
Danielisew's note on UKCAT scoring:
This is on behalf of people who are getting angered by seemingly arrogant people in this thread, which is consequently building up tension.
The UKCAT is definitely NOT a huge part of the application by any means. I have done my research (as I am sure everyone else has despite constantly asking whether their score of 700 is good enough) and most of the UKCAT universities use it in conjunction with everything else. Even for top universities such as Edinburgh, the UKCAT plays an 8% part towards your application, which isn't much at all. Also, King's College London stated that last year, the lowest UKCAT score that got in was 513. This is lower than ANYONE'S I have seen on this thread. It just shows that the UKCAT does not guarantee a place in medical school whatsoever.
Different universities have their methods of using the UKCAT but here are a few I know of: Manchester said they will be ranking UKCAT scores this year after you pass through the initial check to potentially get an offer. However, they say they still consider everything else despite interviewing on basis of the UKCAT score. Southampton, Leeds, Keele, Leicester, Nottingham and many others use it in conjunction with other parts of the application and little weight is based on the UKCAT. From what I understand, Sheffield and Newcastle base more weight on the UKCAT and may have cut-offs at 600 or so. Southampton also declared a cut off of 550 average last year, but have not specified one this year.
Basically, there are far more important things in the application than the UKCAT. It is still a very new test, and some universities are still considering how's best to use it. Some (such as Leeds last year - correct me if I'm wrong) even take out sections such as AR because they feel it's pointless so work out an average from the other 3 sections. There are others who don't even use the UKCAT such as Bristol and Liverpool.
What make's a good doctor? Being able to place shapes in different sets with similar shapes or having a wide range of good skills developed through extra curricular activities and work experience? I think the answer is obvious and this is why most universities don't use the UKCAT much.
So, what is important? Your personal statement is very important - especially for Southampton as they do not interview. It should demonstrate a variety of things in key areas such as motivation, determination, work experience, communication and all the rest. It's your chance to write whatever you feel is best to get a place in medical school and it's greatly considered by universities. Your references are very important too. Most universities will look at these and literally mark them, giving them scores in different sections. They may go towards total points for your application or may solely decide whether you are interviewed.
Lastly, I would like to say that no one here appreciates people asking whether a score of 650-800 is good enough to get an interview. It's an extremely respectable score as they are above the 600 average and don't forget a lot of applicants will have below 600 as that's the mean. Anyway, having a high score doesn't guarantee an interview or anything as there are far more important parts of your application.
So testing begins tomorrow; when have you booked your test?
(Original post by *Princess*)
Im seriously considering postponing it though but im on holiday from july 22nd until results day so eeek
If you do make sure you decide quickly! To give them warning (which is day in advance I think, but there's also the matter of how readily available other dates are and just generally so you can prepare for sure). Let us know how it goes!
I'm quite relieved that we get our marks straight after - waiting is horrible!
is there any advantage for your application the earlier you take the test?
Stupid question I know but I heard that the earlier you send off the application the better and was wondering if not doing the UKCAT until october would make a difference?