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UKCAT testing-how hard is it ?

(16 Posts)
seenitallbefore Mon 22-Aug-11 14:43:47

It looks impossible to me ! DD4 due to sit it soon. She is dyslexic so that doesn't help. DH and I both doctors - surgeon and GP. We are struggling once past the first ones in the practice book. How do most candidates find it? DD4 is very strong academically and has achieved five A grades at Scottish Higher this year but I must say we are all a bit taken aback at this test .

seenitallbefore Mon 22-Aug-11 18:28:11


oldmum42 Mon 22-Aug-11 18:40:04

Is DD4 aware there's a special UKCAT for people with Dyslexia?

Practice, a lot, EVERY DAY!!!!

oldmum42 Mon 22-Aug-11 18:58:49

Sorry, got called away there....

We are a similar, Scottish "medical family".

DS1 sat Ukcat a year ago, is starting med school in October. A few pointers, buy some books off Amazon, "600 practice questions" is really good, but just buy them all (I think there are 4 or 5). Timing is the crucial thing, the Q need to be done VERY fast. DD1 couldn't do many at first, so if he could not get the answer after 3 mins, he'd look up, and go through the answer. Staring at the same Q for hours is not going to help learn how to do these tests - but reading the answers will, she will gradually get more and more of them in the time allowed.

You are not supposed to be able to get all of the questions right, it's set so that the av. med applicant will score around 520 ish. DD4 needs to be getting over 580 to have a realistic chance of getting an interview (a few do get interviews with less), but 600+ would be better (av. score over all the sections).

Med school applications have changed massively in the last few years. 60% of applicants get NO offers, so be warned, it is a very tough process.

seenitallbefore Mon 22-Aug-11 19:00:01

She has registered as dyslexic. I think its the same test just longer time to sit it. Practice is the thing. Do you have DCs at med school? What sort of scores did they need ?

seenitallbefore Mon 22-Aug-11 19:06:01

Thanks for that.I replied too soon. I know its hard. She has signed up for a course this weekend run by Kaplan which may help. She has the 600 question one . I will go back on to see what others to order. Having managed to see her four older siblings off to good courses and careers without much input from us,I can see medicine is a whole new ball game.

oldmum42 Mon 22-Aug-11 20:39:26

Last UKcat test this year is 7th Oct, there's one 23rd of Sept.....may be worth changing your test date - I think you can do that with no financial cost to yourself with 3 or 4 days notice. I'd suggest the later the better as she willget more study time.

My son got 732.5 Av. and that's a high score, most Unis are looking for 580+ but do interview at lower scores (the higher the score the more likely an interview is). some unis have a high cut off (around 680), see "Thestudentroom" website for lots of info, and the individual Uni websites. They all score in different ways, but the UKcat is much more important than you would think, it may "only" be 25%, or 15% of the application process but it's very important - as virtually every applicant has 5 or more A at Higher, Duke of Edinburgh, volunteering etc.

The Dyslexia is not necessarily a disadvantage in this test (as there is extra time), as it's all about pattern recognition - something we tend to be better at than "normal" people.

Edinburgh and St Andrews both have a harsh way of cutting down applicants - Standard Grade results are used (points removed for grades bellow "1"), so make sure Dyslexia is declared on her application if she got less than the perfect 8 x Grade 1, if it's declared the points won't be removed. Other Unis may do the same, but these are the ones I know about from 2010/11 application cycle.

Please PM me if you want any first hand hints re Aberdeen/Edinburgh/Dundee/Oxford, and 2nd hand hints re Glasgow/St Andrews.

seenitallbefore Mon 22-Aug-11 20:58:46

She booked her test for 18th Sept I think . Kaplan advised 2-3 weeks after the weekend course. She is fine re Standard Grades -all 1s. From what i read re UKCAT your son has scored very well indeed. If he applied to Oxford he must be a very smart boy. She has heard that St Andrews maybe slightly easier than the other 4 Scottish courses to get into so will certainly put that down. She will be otherwise a good candidate ie strong team player,1st XI captain,House Captain ,charity work for local Homeless unit, has volunteered teaching sailing and hockey for years etc. But I am well aware that so will 99%of the other applicants . Please keep your fingers crossed ! Thank you again for your advice.

oldmum42 Mon 22-Aug-11 21:31:12

Got in to Oxford....... rejected from every Scottish one he applied to! Personal statement very much written for Ox, so big emphasis on his research interests and work designing computer equipment for use at his school....this was NOT what the other Uni's were looking for......... touchy feely would be the buzzword.

St Andrew is NOT easier to get in to (maybe it was in the past?)! DS1 did not apply but a number of friends dc and classmates did, it's tough, I'd say the order is probably Edinburgh/Standrews, most difficult, Aberdeen/Dundee slightly less so, and Glasgow easiest (but not easy!).

Thestudentroom website has table of applicant details showing actual offers made by the different Universities - well worth a few hours to trawl through the site to find the information I think it's "medicine applicants wiki".

Very best of luck to your DD.

seenitallbefore Tue 23-Aug-11 14:00:19

Oh my God. Got into Oxford but rejected by all Scottish unis? Something is wrong with admissions panels that turn down such a top academic boy. I am wishing she had stuck to her original plan of Informatics . . .

oldmum42 Tue 23-Aug-11 17:51:08

well, rejected by the 3 he applied to (shortlisted for 1 of them tho).... don't thing admissions panels are wrong as such, it's just there has been a) massive increase in the number of applicants to Scottish Unis in the past few years, for a number of reasons, at the same time that Gov has cut places in Med schools over the whole of the UK by 20%..... a perfect storm for kids trying to get in.

It's not unusual, of 4 who applied at DS1 school, 2 got no offers at all, 2 got 1 offer! These were 4 of the top 6 students in the school (DS had 6A at Higher, 1 has 5A and a B, the other 2 had 5A....... but there were just too many applicants for too few places).

Similar story at the private school many of the applicants we know go to, DC who would have been sure 4 offers only a few years ago, getting no offers or 1 offer. There are rumors that applicants under the age of 18 on the start date of the course are being rejected by some, just to cut down on the number of applicants (my Ds is very young for his year and will be 17 when he starts).
I don't know if that is true though.

Your DD just needs to have a back-up plan, work experience etc if she doesn't get a place to make her 2nd application shine - and good AH grades (Chem seems most important). Many apply a 2nd time and get in, more sense than the graduate entry route, much harder to get in that way. Hopefully she won't need a back up plan but always good to have one......

tectime Thu 25-Aug-11 12:39:48

Does a student have to take them at the beginning of Year 13? Can they do a dummy run, in say, Year 12?

oldmum42 Thu 25-Aug-11 16:19:41

Sorry TECTIME, not sure what you mean...... did you intend to post on a thread about Alevel?
This one is about a Uni entrance exams (Ukcat), and Scottish Qualifications so no "year 12" or 13 (we have P1-7, primary and S1-S6, secondary) smile

figroll Thu 25-Aug-11 21:45:03

Sorry I haven't read all the comments here, but my dd got very wound up about the UKCAT test. She did the 600 questions book and found it very hard to do, which made her panic, particularly as she wasn't doing maths A level and felt at a disadvantage. However, when she did the test, she said it was fine and not as hard as the book. I can't remember what she got but it was enough for her to get 2 offers (more than most!).

We are now at the end of an extremely stressful year - she has failed some of her exams and had to resit. I can't believe how much work she has put in these last few weeks so fingers crossed she can go back for yet more stress in October!

peteneras Fri 26-Aug-11 00:42:16

"Does a student have to take them at the beginning of Year 13? Can they do a dummy run, in say, Year 12?" - tectime

The medicine entrance tests in the UK namely, the UKCAT and BMAT for the appropriate medical schools, are good/valid for only one cycle. Prospective medical students take the UKCAT between early July and early October i.e. end of Yr. 12 and early Yr. 13 for entry to medical schools in their UCAS application when in Yr. 13.

BMAT is usually taken in early November Yr. 13.

For whatever reason(s) if one fails to get into medical school in their application cycle then one will have to re-sit the UKCAT/BMAT all over again and re-apply no matter what the previous results were. This is not to be confused with successful students who take a gap year when their place is already guaranteed.

seenitallbefore Fri 26-Aug-11 14:21:20

Oh I like to read comments like yours figroll ! Not the ones about stressful first year though ( poor wee thing. Hope resits went OK. Fingers crossed for her ) I like the comments about CAT being easier on the day than she thought.Will pass that one onto DD4.

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