What is your view on the UKCAT ? Watch

345rty
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#41
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(Original post by Pittawithcheese)
I think there are so many valid points in this post. The UKCAT test is yet another hurdle that seems to ignore the importance of people skills in the medical profession. I understand the need for a filtering system, but I also think that Universities need to employ more holistic method to assess the way that future doctors will interact with patients. How does sitting in a box in front of a screen assess a doctor's ability to break the news to a parent that their child is terminally I'll, or how to negotiate with a drunk who is threatening staff? MMIs help to address the problem, but before being given a shot at MMI applicants first have to get a high UKCAT score. For me, I think that is the wrong way around.

I also hate that the test is advertised as something that cannot be revised for, which is nonsense. The sad fact is that a lot of applicants will take the test without revising (believing this to be true) and then score lower than those who have the connections to inform them that it can be prepared for (and who buy them the courses/books to do just that)




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An interesting counter argument might be that there is overwhelming evidence that communication skills can be taught, so why skew admissions towards those likely to do better at such MMI stations on the back of increased life experience after medical school and a correspondingly lower probable career time...
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Pittawithcheese
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(Original post by 345rty)
An interesting counter argument might be that there is overwhelming evidence that communication skills can be taught, so why skew admissions towards those likely to do better at such MMI stations on the back of increased life experience after medical school and a correspondingly lower probable career time...
The "lower probable career time" argument is always a bit of a silly one (IMHO). Do you have a link to some of the data on the evidence that
Communication skills can be taught? I'd love to replicate the tuition methods with some of my colleagues....


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345rty
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(Original post by Pittawithcheese)
The "lower probable career time" argument is always a bit of a silly one (IMHO). Do you have a link to some of the data on the evidence that
Communication skills can be taught? I'd love to replicate the tuition methods with some of my colleagues....


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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106217

That Cochrane review is probably a good place to start.

I reckon return on investment is very much worth considering when dishing out medical school places, even to the extent where the effect of the number of women who ultimately go part time should be borne in mind. If you can demonstrate that productivity is much higher in some groups who work for a shorter period than fair game, though I suspect this may be tricky.
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Pittawithcheese
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(Original post by 345rty)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106217

That Cochrane review is probably a good place to start.

I reckon return on investment is very much worth considering when dishing out medical school places, even to the extent where the effect of the number of women who ultimately go part time should be borne in mind. If you can demonstrate that productivity is much higher in some groups who work for a shorter period than fair game, though I suspect this may be tricky.
.... but wouldn't that be indirect discrimination?


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Bham_Studentessa
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While I agree with what others have said in here, I primarily think that it is a tool used by med schools to differentiate between candidates with similar profiles. Increasingly, med school applicants are aware of the high competition and thus strive to build their profile, gain work experience etc.
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345rty
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(Original post by Pittawithcheese)
.... but wouldn't that be indirect discrimination?


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Yes it would.
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EBG92
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#47
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#47
(Original post by Bham_Studentessa)
While I agree with what others have said in here, I primarily think that it is a tool used by med schools to differentiate between candidates with similar profiles. Increasingly, med school applicants are aware of the high competition and thus strive to build their profile, gain work experience etc.
We all agree the UKCAT is just a tool med school use to reduce the number of applications they have to go through.

Hypothetically then rather than having such a fluctuating intense IQ test (I say this as someone who has taken the test 3 times and got different scores each time in all the sections) why don't we brain storm what we would think a fair academic test should be. I do like the Section 2 of the GAMSAT as it gives you a quote and just says discuss.

So the test must do several things.

1, Be fair and comparable each year
2, Give an honest interpretation of the applicants skill
3, Easy to take and use against applications

I am being fully honest here if someone at a Medical School came up with a new way to assess applicants which is a hybrid of the UKCAT and GAMSAT they would make the process much more easier to come to terms with and would also make a lot of money.

Any suggestions on what you think are fair section topics/structure ?
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345rty
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(Original post by EBG92)
We all agree the UKCAT is just a tool med school use to reduce the number of applications they have to go through.

Hypothetically then rather than having such a fluctuating intense IQ test (I say this as someone who has taken the test 3 times and got different scores each time in all the sections) why don't we brain storm what we would think a fair academic test should be. I do like the Section 2 of the GAMSAT as it gives you a quote and just says discuss.

So the test must do several things.

1, Be fair and comparable each year
2, Give an honest interpretation of the applicants skill
3, Easy to take and use against applications

I am being fully honest here if someone at a Medical School came up with a new way to assess applicants which is a hybrid of the UKCAT and GAMSAT they would make the process much more easier to come to terms with and would also make a lot of money.

Any suggestions on what you think are fair section topics/structure ?
I think a suitable test to predict probability of completing medical school would ascertain:
- capacity to quickly retain information and then apply it to recognise patterns,
- applicants ability to prepare efficiently for an exam (not necessarily the same section as above),

If you wanted to make a test also look at being a good clinician I think some aspect of metacognitive skill could be included.

Wether knowledge required as a starting point needs to be assessed here I'm not sure. A levels clearly seem to do for those who have them, why duplicate it in a universal exam?
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EBG92
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(Original post by 345rty)
I think a suitable test to predict probability of completing medical school would ascertain:
- capacity to quickly retain information and then apply it to recognise patterns,
- applicants ability to prepare efficiently for an exam (not necessarily the same section as above),

If you wanted to make a test also look at being a good clinician I think some aspect of metacognitive skill could be included.

Wether knowledge required as a starting point needs to be assessed here I'm not sure. A levels clearly seem to do for those who have them, why duplicate it in a universal exam?
How about having the applicant answer 10 to 20 scenarios but before each scenario they are given a screen full of patient information they can have 30 mins to read all the patients history. The information disappears and then they will get asked questions based upon that for a section. I suppose that would make everyone on equal ground.

Another section could be essay based where they could be given a topic to discuss within the medical field such as the new NHS reforms etc etc. This would tests the applicants knowledge and preparation for a career in medicine.

???
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345rty
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(Original post by EBG92)
How about having the applicant answer 10 to 20 scenarios but before each scenario they are given a screen full of patient information they can have 30 mins to read all the patients history. The information disappears and then they will get asked questions based upon that for a section. I suppose that would make everyone on equal ground.

Another section could be essay based where they could be given a topic to discuss within the medical field such as the new NHS reforms etc etc. This would tests the applicants knowledge and preparation for a career in medicine.

???
2-3 minutes might make more sense, and perhaps less clinically specific. At least one medical school gives applicants an article to memorise at interview as they walk from the waiting room to the interview room. After 20-30 minutes of interview the last question is to regurgitate as much of the paper as they can.

Only pertinent at present for those who make it to interview there mind.
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lcsurfer
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When you look at say the average straight from school leaver applicant they all look very similar:
High GCSE's
AAA+ at A level
Work experience in a hospital
Volunteering
Sport for the school or county or country
Music grades etc

So the UKCAT is just a way of differentiating a large applicant pool where everyone is similar in background

I think with grads/mature students it's harder because everyone is from such different backgrounds and have very different life exeperience. There is also a lot less of the over achievement from school (big fish in a little pond) and more of a level playing fiel. So I think for grad's it's a tough one...

MMI interviews are so much better and fairer I believe too, having done all 3 types of interviews (selection center, MMI and traditional), they are harder to prep for and leave everyone on the same level playing field
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seaholme
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I didn't do very well in the UKCAT. I've never done very well in any similar test either - IQ tests and so on. Not sure why, but my brain doesn't seem to work that way. I found some old UKCAT papers the night before the test and was just bamboozled by the shape matching thing. It said to come up with a rule for each one, so I did, and it was the wrong rule almost all of the time. Gave the whole thing my best shot but didn't do very well in anything. Also didn't realise it was timed so tightly in terms of how many questions there were, and so I spent ages trying to figure things out when if I'd had any sense I would have just blasted it and guessed. As it was I left loads of questions unanswered, which was my own fault.

Doing practice papers and knowing to just move on would have helped a lot, I think.

Obviously having done badly I am inclined to say that the UKCAT isn't a great test, but I don't think that it's necessarily the right test for everyone. Despite a poor score, I've actually been perfectly fine at medical school (as you can guess, the BMAT was fine for me). So if only the UKCAT existed I would have been excluded when in actuality I seem to be okay!!

Thank god there is more than one type of selection. Although it is terribly skewed. So many medical schools rely on the UKCAT that if you're more of a BMAT person (is that a thing??) you've got much less choice.
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