COVID-19 UPDATE: As a community, we are currently experiencing unprecedented circumstances, and with that comes uncertainty, stress and setback. We mustn’t forget, however, that these times are also extremely difficult…
The UMAT is unlike any other exam you will do in year 12. It’s difficult, intense and everyone has the same goal of getting into medicine. But – just like every other exam – doing well in the UMAT requires extensive preparation and guidance. Having been fortunate enough to receive this guidance myself, here are my top three tips on nailing the UMAT.
- Practice makes perfect
Practice is crucial to preparation for the UMAT. It’s only through regularly completing practice exams and drill questions that you’re able to master all the various types of questions you’ll come across, and the techniques needed to answer them. Just as important is getting a hang of timing – with 134 questions, you’ll almost always be pressed for time in the UMAT, and learning how long to spend on each question and section, as well as when to move on from difficult parts, is essential. Again, it all comes down to practice.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
Thousands of students sit the UMAT each year, and every one of them is different. It’s important to know your own strengths and weaknesses and structure your preparation accordingly. There’s no use in spending excess time on sections you already feel comfortable with – instead, challenge yourself to work on questions styles and sections you may find difficult or have trouble with. Working on your weaknesses is the best way to improve. At the same time, playing to your strengths is a smart strategy. When preparing, choose a method of study that works best for you and allows you to maximise your learning. Similarly, when sitting the exam complete your strongest section first, leaving difficult questions or areas until later.
- Stay calm
Your mental state is critical in the UMAT more than any other exam. Three hours of intense focus is needed, and most students are understandably quite nervous going into the exam. However, stress and anxiety are the enemy when sitting the UMAT, muddling your thoughts and all the hours of hard work and preparation put in. Staying calm and collected is key – and this begins even in the weeks leading up to the actual exam. Simple things such as eating well, exercising and adequate sleep make a world of difference to your mindset. Similarly, try to minimise stress in the week of the exam – cramming in extra drills or practice exams often does more harm than good, so ensure your preparation has been well spaced out so that you’re confident come exam time. On the day of the UMAT itself, arrive at the test centre early, and make sure you have all equipment needed, including water for hydration.
Studying for and sitting the UMAT can be incredibly stressful, but get the little things right and you’ll be in a much better position to nail the exam and give yourself the best chance for a place in medicine.