One of the most frequent questions we are asked: When should I take the UCAT? Many pupils end up picking a date that isn’t necessarily the most effective in aiding their revision. Don’t fall into the same trap as them!
Before picking a date, we must first understand how much time we need to invest into our revision. First, decide how much revision you need. Obviously, every student is different, with some requiring less time and others more time to grasp the concepts or techniques necessary to answer questions. Therefore, the amount of revision you do will depend on how confident you feel. One thing that is for certain, however, is that revision is needed.
Our research at Become A Dentist proves that those who complete sufficient revision to a high enough standard consistently score higher on the UCAT. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect!”. Most Dental Schools now look at the UCAT as a serious criteria for admissions, and therefore the higher you score, the better your chances of being invited to interview. Some universities have specific cut-off scores, meaning your application will not be considered should you score below that value, whilst others only invite the top 100-200 UCAT scores into an interview day. For more information on this, please review our UCAT Section of the website, along with the Universities Section to find out each individual Dental School’s unique criteria.
So, now that we’ve established we need revision to succeed on the UKCAT, how do we go about it effectively?
The General Opinion
The majority of students tend to take their exam towards the end of August or in early September. This gives most students the entire summer holiday to prepare. Remember, the more time you spend preparing, the more likely it is you will do well. We recommend you start preparing as early as possible, ideally at the start of the summer holidays following Summer Exams, and you should start by creating a study plan.
Your study plan should be interwoven with knowledge and information given in our UCAT section on each topic in the exam, and you should begin with short bursts of study that help you understand the topic and how to answer the questions. As your confidence builds, your study plan should include longer periods of time to review our material and practice questions. You should also dissect the answer and understand the logic behind the UCAT questions. Finally, as you draw closer to your test date, your study plan should include long periods of study dedicated to completing full mock tests. These can be found on the UCAT Website
Our top tip on when should I take the UCAT: Take your exam at the end of August/start of September. You will be fully focused on the UCAT. You will not be distracted by school work, university interviews, or writing your personal statement.
Remember, even if you have already booked your test, you can still change it for free!
The UCAT will take place in 2020, despite COVID-19 Pandemic. Applicants will take the test either at home or (as in the past) at a Pearson VUE Test Centre.