UKCAT courses/books

(26 Posts)
Theas18 Wed 03-Jul-13 15:07:29

any recommendations or any to avoid? DS appears to know this needs doing but be a little ostrich like about how soon it'll all become urgent LOL

OP’s posts: |
wordfactory Wed 03-Jul-13 18:53:14

Do you know, I saw a young lady on the train today reading a book like that.

I think it was called How to Succeed at the BMAT and UKCAT. But I'm not 100%.

Being nosy I could see it had lots of puzzles in it. For example there was an entire page of playing cards. Then on the page next to it was an explanation.

Sorry, I'm not being very helpful am I?

alreadytaken Wed 03-Jul-13 18:54:54

the student room website has good advice. This was the most useful in most students view Some of the others were poor, none are perfect. Haven't looked at this years edition so don't know if it covers the new section of the test.

Last year some questions were piloted for the first time. Second hand books are unlikely to contain anything about the situational judgement test and the scoring on that is likely to be based on those who sat the test last year. As I know some of those who did I can tell you that they generally did so with no care at all and left early - because they'd been told it wouldn't matter. Makes a dubious test seem more dubious.

When has he booked to take the test? In my view sooner is better than later as he has time to decide where to apply to play to his strengths. Some schools haven't required it in previous years, some place little weight on the results. If he cant get to many open days the student room website is essential reading for the current information on how schools will use it this year, it does change. As an example last year Sheffield changed from a high UKCAT requirement to an average one and were swamped by applicants. Their twitter feed is here for the current cut off

peteneras Fri 05-Jul-13 19:25:38

Well OP, this much I can say about your DS - Hats off to him for taking the bull by the horn, i.e. not dodging this mightily important test in the eyes of over 80% of all medical schools in the UK including Imperial College London (Graduate Entry) in their assessment of a potential doctor.

As to recommendations, I’d say, Practise, Practise and more Practise. Although one cannot revise for the test, one can certainly familiarise oneself with the types of questions by practising and with it, learn to improve on speed (vital) in answering the questions.

I would recommend booking a late test (but make sure you get a convenient venue) and use the extra time to practise. DS used this book and this one in his time and got a tremendous score. Even so, he only applied to two UKCAT schools leaving the remainder two for BMAT schools which he also scored highly.

Good luck to your DS!

Theas18 Fri 05-Jul-13 22:52:59

Thanks peternas!

he's not interested in bmat schools as he's sure he wants an integrated course.

he's getting so bloody focused more I'm terrified for him really. never seen him like this before. he does at least have a sort of plan b but I don't think he realised how tough it is to get in...

OP’s posts: |
peteneras Fri 05-Jul-13 23:22:28

From the sound of it, he does seem to know what he’s doing and he has all the attributes of a good doctor IMO. I like the fact that he’s so very focused; my DS is the same.

He must realise to a certain extent that it’s a tough and competitive course to get in. But what he may not realise is that even after getting in there will be some ‘culling’ done in some of the medical schools. In DS’s school, 15% failed the first year (last year) and for the second year just gone, some 25% failed!

pipsqueak Thu 25-Jul-13 20:12:46

hi peteneras - can you tell me which school your DS is attending ? I had not realised that culling to this extent at med school . dd off to leeds this autumn if gets grades and had rather assumed stress was over for a bit ...


pipsqueak Thu 25-Jul-13 20:15:51

oh in answer to the original post dd attended Kaplan 2 day course - costly but worth it . she was getting low 600s average on her own with the UKCAT book and then did the Kaplan course and boosted up to nearly 700 = good luck with this test . it is a bit of a stresser !

peteneras Fri 26-Jul-13 13:31:37

Hi pipsqueak!

Many congratulations to the both of you, especially DD who’s going to Leeds - an excellent medical school! I’ve no doubts whatsoever she’ll get the grades come August 15th.

In another thread last month, I was asked the same question, which med school my DS attends that has such high failure rates in their end of year exams. I replied saying to publicly name the school in question would be inappropriate as it may deter potential medics from applying there. But you’ll be glad to know it’s a school far, far away from Leeds.

Best of luck to your DD!

pipsqueak Sat 27-Jul-13 01:50:21

Thanks peteneras - hope you ds doing ok despite these difficulties

alreadytaken Sat 27-Jul-13 13:52:35

Medical schools do sometimes might quite a mess of exams - see e.g.

peteneras Sat 27-Jul-13 16:35:34

Thanks pipsqueak. DS did well and is among the small top group who’d scored marks easily qualifying for a 1st Class Honours award at any other dept of any university. Don’t know how he did it, but he’s managed to get himself (only person) a summer job in the same teaching hospital where he trains, and still be able to negotiate a 10-day holiday on top where he is now spending in sunny Espana!

pipsqueak Mon 29-Jul-13 00:09:51

Sounds like he has got life sorted/ you must be very proud and rightly so

Stokesay Wed 07-Aug-13 08:02:03

I just wanted to add that according to my DS there is no really need to attend the very expensive courses for UKCAT run by companies such as Kaplan to be able to score highly. He has just taken the UKCAT and scored an average of over 800 (which is very good indeed) using only two books:

Score higher on the UkCAT by Kaplan (£15 from a bookshop instead of their course costing hundreds)
600Q UKCAT Get into Medical School

So don't feel that not paying for your child to attend a course puts them at a disadvantage, as I had been a bit concerned about this.

Stokesay Wed 07-Aug-13 08:07:30

I should have also added that he used the app from the official UkCAT website, worked through their own guide and did that mock tests on the official website as well, all free of course. They were apparently very similar to the real thing.

Theas18 Sun 11-Aug-13 02:32:19

thanks stokesay! ds has come to exactly the same conclusion himself. we have both those books and he's been sporadically working at them. test paper tried this week average 700 with time to improve timing etc yet with a date in early Sept.

I sense a little" well if the AS results are bad it will all be a waste of time " hence the slightly sporadic work. results this week though then he plans to take the books on holiday with him.

What ever, 700 is probably enough, at least for his current favorite choice to interview him, so he just needs to reinforce and firm that level of score up.

holding my breath for Thursday now...gawd it seems the while year will be hurdle after hurdle that area all" the most important".... bad for my nerves but good for him really-keep up the pace and focus, a bit odd a " baby steps" into being a medic in training and ultimately the real thing I guess.

OP’s posts: |
alreadytaken Sun 11-Aug-13 12:32:05

the problem with waiting until September is that he then has little time to decide on his medical school choices. If he gets his 700 fine but if not he may have to rethink rapidly. Most people find the actual test easier than the practice but tests are randomly generated, they do vary and people who resit can get very different results. Might be wise to have two lists of medical schools ready based on excellent UKCAT and not as good as hoped for.

It's a very stressful process, he needs to be prepared to deal with rejection as 4 offers are rare.

pipsqueak Sun 11-Aug-13 14:50:10

agree of course Kaplan etc not essential - I was simply passing on that my dd1 found it helpful and that it would be worth thinking about if finding the practice tests hard

Theas18 Sun 11-Aug-13 19:03:45


he has that side of things covered with a range Iof choices depending on his actual score, and a fall ack to those that go on gcse grades only if he does badly.
dealing with rejection is fine lol. he knows one offer ifs enough.ffortunately he's seen dd1 go through ask of this for history, and despite being an excellent candidate ( proved by her eventual excellent grades and success at uni) she only got 2 offers !

the thing that would really upset him I think ifs if he didn't get adv offer for his reserve, non medical course.

OP’s posts: |
peteneras Sun 11-Aug-13 20:40:46

UKCAT score of at least 700 is crucial to be able to feel 'comfortable' when applying to a UKCAT school. That does not necessarily mean anyone with less than 700 won't succeed in getting in. Likewise, there were people with 780 that didn't get an interview.

OP, your child only needs 1 offer, doesn't matter from which school. Eventually they all register with the same central body, the GMC. Has he done any work experience yet?

Theas18 Sun 11-Aug-13 21:50:33

thanks peteneras. he knows 700 is a sort of minimum. his first choice basically said they click out anything below that and don't look any further at you ( and strangely if you yet that, you will be interviewed, and only then I'd that is ok will they actually look at anything else- experience,gcse grades or anything! - I'd that hadn't been the one open day I went to I'd have been a bit skeptical! )other places have said 650 and they will look and offer interview off you sound promising.

he has some basic work experience in hand, which is great, but his first choice was surprisingly rather scathing about that as in" well of course we know it's hard to get experience, and that tends till bias towards medical families have contacts, and we don't want that" way. actually, he rang the hospital, put his name on the waiting list, and that was that. no string pulling!

I'd he wasn't so dead set on his first choice I'd be very hmm.... the entry produces has changed this cohort.

OP’s posts: |
alreadytaken Mon 12-Aug-13 08:20:06

very few medical schools care that much about the UKCAT, fortunately, so you've almost identified his first choice. smile

The medical regulatory bodies are keen on widening access. Therefore all medical schools will make the appropriate noises. Some are more serious than others. They all like to see work experience that goes beyond hospitals (60% of med students become gps). Still it is what you have learnt from it not how much you have done that is most significant.

Most applicants dont seem to have a problem getting an offer for their fifth choice, an offer within a few days is common.

hackneylady Sat 24-Aug-13 10:04:05

It is such a stressful time, and really hard work for them when there's so much else going on. I came across this on Twitter - looks good and has practice questions and video tips.

rd1709 Wed 11-May-16 19:46:13

My DD school have arranged for Blackstone to come and do a UKCAT course in June for the Med & Dentistry applicants. School have subsidised it, so works out at around £75 for the day........worth going? or best to stick with books?

DentalPrep Wed 10-Aug-16 15:17:42

Hi, I am a Dental student in my 3rd year.
I also sat the UKCAT (Not the BMAT though)

It is one of the funniest exams your D/S will ever sit. Its very abstract.

I personally did attend a Kaplan course, though having said that I don't think it was worth the money. But if it meant it gave me even that little boost to do better on my UKCAT, then we as a family were prepared to pay that. The following year when my brother applied, he also sat the course without hesitation.

There are a lot of resources online, though most are trials etc.

If you are unable to book a course, its not the end of the world. But it does help, even if its just a bit!

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