The UCAT is a test of endurance and consistency. You need to build multiple skills simultaneously in the space of a few weeks to get an all rounded mark. The natural inquisition most clinicians share means that we all inevitably get to the point where we are asking ourselves "What really is the point of all these random sections?". Below is a quick low-down of every UCAT section and how they apply to what you will be doing as a future clinician.
This section tests your ability to pick out relevant points quickly, by answering questions from a long text that you will be given.
It relates to your future tasks as a clinician, for example skimming through long and complicated patient histories, and picking out key points to provide a viable diagnosis.
This is a very broad topic, made up of a range of questions including some basic maths, problem solving, and picking apart written arguments.
In the real world, the critical thinking and efficiency you use in this section will be used in a number of capacities for example when a patient suddenly deteriorates and it will be up to you to figure out why.
You may also have to figure out and reshuffle treatment plans under short notice with minimal information so having good analytical skills is crucial.
This section contains some basic problem solving questions, with some more complex data handling. This section asks you maths questions at the GCSE level, but under very strict timings.
In future you may have to make calculations such as patient doses, or finding the right concentration of medication needed for treatment.
This is the hardest section for many students, as it is something new nearly no one has seen before. You will need to identify patterns and sequences through visual cues, your spatial reasoning and pattern recognition will be tested on.
This section is still quite relevant to being a clinician. As a doctor or dentist it will be your job to find a pattern in symptoms. You will have to look at how symptoms fit together and potentially even repeat over time to come to an eventual diagnosis.
This final section is more straightforward, you will be faced with some ethical scenarios and be asked how appropriate or important certain follow up actions are.
As a student and then a doctor, you will need to prioritise tasks all the time; from life or death situations to much smaller details. Showing that you can do this from early on is important!
The UCAT will be one of the first tests you do as an upcoming clinician, and it will certainly not be the last.😛 Now you've quenched your brief burst of curiosity, you can go back to practising to get the mark you deserve! Feel free to ask anymore questions you have on the exam below, we promise we'll respond quickly ;)