Tips for UCAT Test Day: 5 Things to do Before Clicking 'Start Exam'
5 months ago by Chris
It’s natural that after all the time spent preparing for the UCAT, that on the day of the exam, you might want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. So, on the day of the UCAT exam, you arrive at your UCAT testing centre, check in with the staff, and you are now seated at your computer. But wait! Before you click ‘start exam’, here are five things that I recommend you should do.
1. Go to the bathroom
Technically you should do this before you even sit at your UCAT computer and think about clicking ‘start exam’. However, if you forget to go to the bathroom before entering the testing room you can always ask the test supervisor for permission to go.
It sounds simple, but it is very important to go to the bathroom before the UCAT begins. Once you click ‘start exam’, you will not be able to pause or stop the UCAT. The UCAT timer will continue to run during breaks (including bathroom breaks). In such a time-pressured exam, every second counts, so you cannot afford to waste time during UCAT going to the bathroom.
Remember, you don’t want to be sitting for two hours, taking a challenging test such as UCAT while being distracted by the need to go!
2. Check you are comfortable
Before you enter the UCAT testing room, check that you are comfortable. If you are feeling hot, take off some layers. If you are feeling thirsty, have a drink. If you are feeling hungry, retrieve a snack from your bag. Remember that personal belongings, including food, water and drinks must be placed in the lockers provided before you enter the UCAT test room.
After entering the UCAT testing room and sitting down at your UCAT testing station, check that you are comfortable at your seat and desk. Ensure that when seated comfortably your eyes are in line with the screen and you do not have to adopt an uncomfortable posture. Adjust your seat if you need to. Ensure that all of the UCAT equipment on your table (mouse, keyboard, noteboard and pen) are easily accessible to you.
3. Ask for extra UCAT Noteboards if needed
Next, check that you have the resources that you need for your UCAT test. Before you enter the UCAT testing room, you will be provided with a UCAT noteboard upon which you can make notes during the UCAT. If you run out of space during UCAT, you can request additional noteboards by raising your hand. But remember, this will waste valuable seconds, so we suggest asking for extra UCAT noteboards, if needed, before you start the UCAT.
Each UCAT testing centre is different. Some testing centres will provide you with several sheets of paper bound together in a noteboard booklet, and some will provide you with a single laminated sheet. Consider your situation and ask for additional noteboards, if required. The UCAT testing staff will normally oblige.
Also, if you did not receive a UCAT noteboard from staff members, ask for one! Even though it’s an important test, UCAT testing staff are only human, and do make mistakes. They may forget to give you a noteboard, so always ask. Don’t think you can get by without it!
4. Check that your UCAT marking pen is working
Take a couple of seconds before you start UCAT to check that your UCAT marking pen works on your UCAT noteboard. The staff at the UCAT testing centre are supposed to check the UCAT pen before passing it onto you, but again, they can forget. You do not want to waste time during UCAT asking for a replacement pen. If the pen seems to be running out of ink, ask for a new one.
5. Relieve stress and get focussed
For an intellectually challenging test such as UCAT, you need a low level of arousal to perform at your best. Therefore, take a couple of moments to relieve UCAT stress.
Remember that you have sat MedEntry UCAT exams so you are already prepared for the difficulty and style of questions. You know the format, you know the shortcuts, you know the timing. You are not facing the unknown.
Close your eyes and take five slow, deep breaths. Boost your confidence with positive UCAT affirmations – tell yourself, ‘You can do this’, ‘You are well prepared for UCAT’, ‘You are ready for this challenge’, ‘You are going to be a doctor’.
Once you have completed these 5 steps, then click start and show the UCAT Consortium what you’re made of!