It’s understandable if your students feel intimidated by these two tests – after all, they’re testing a lot of knowledge and aptitude. If you’re a counselor or careers adviser for students who are applying to study medicine in the UK, there are a few strategies that might help them prepare, and help manage any pre-test jitters.
Strategy 1: Get them to work on their timings
Timing is everything in both tests. Students will be presented with a lot of challenging questions, puzzles and essays in a very short space of time. Encourage your students to work on practice papers and get them to repeat the exercise until they’ve honed their time keeping skills. Running after school clubs or workshops to get students used to working in exam conditions might be something to think about.
Strategy 2: Help them to master the different skill-sets
Fundamentally, each section of both the BMAT and the UCAT are designed to test different skill-sets and competencies, whether it’s verbal reasoning, essay writing, data analysis or emotional intelligence. Rather than letting your students get stressed about the literal content of each section, make sure they’re always asking themselves the question ‘what is this section asking me to demonstrate?’
Whether it’s through practice papers or classroom exercises, your aspiring medical students need to practice and hone all these skill-sets as much as possible.
Strategy 3: Make sure they know their deadlines
The BMAT and UCAT exams coincide with a busy application period for UK university applicants. Your students will be taking their tests alongside writing their Personal Statements and submitting their overall university applications.
It’s crucial that those students applying to a medical course in the UK have a clear idea of when they are taking the relevant tests, and how this fits into their wider university application process. And don’t forget – the summer holidays are a good time to do some extra exam prep!
As you can see, both these tests require a lot of hard work and intense preparation. If you do have students who are looking at studying medicine in the UK, they’ll need drive, tenacity and good organisational skills. Perhaps more than any other university discipline, aspiring medical students need to be sure they are ready for the demands that both the application process and, ultimately, their degree course will place on them.
To help UK medical applicants at your school, we’ve created a free cheat sheet with all the key information about both tests to guide their revision and give them a good overview of deadlines.