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UKCAT 2012 Tips - My Experience

UKCAT 2012 Tips from JobTestPrep's BlogYou may be thinking of applying to study Medicine at university, or already have. After deciding on your subjects, organising work experience and completing your summer exams; one of the many other things you will have to consider is the UKCAT, an aptitude test specifically designed for medicine and dentistry applicants. 

«  As a student about to start my first year at medical school, I thought I’d offer those of you sitting the UKCAT 2012 tips based on my own experiences. »

At the beginning of year 12 when I knew I would be applying for Medicine the following
year, I was given a bunch of old UKCAT books by a friend a few years older. Reading
through the introductions and general information can be really helpful just to familiarise yourself with the layout for the test and how universities use the score.

Therefore by the time my summer exams were over in June I was already ‘prepared’

for starting to do some official UKCAT practice and trying out some questions, I found
it very important to calculate the time limits for each individual section so that you are
able to gauge how long to spend per question. For example, in the verbal reasoning
section, you have 22 minutes to complete 44 items, this works out at half a minute per

Verbal Reasoning

During the three weeks leading up to my test I continued with the books and would redo
some of the earlier sections under timed conditions. In the verbal reasoning, I found the
most effective way was to scan briefly over the text before looking back at the question
and skimming to find the key words, which would lead you to the most relevant section.
It is really important to read the question and the surrounding text very carefully as
sometimes the word choice can be quite tricky to understand. Sticking to your first
instincts and being decisive proved to be quite good for me as I found if I over-thought a
question, I would often answer it incorrectly.

 Learn more about Verbal Reasoning.

Quantitative Reasoning

I had continued with mathematics during sixth-form so was still familiar with the calculations
required on the quantitative reasoning section. You need to be ready for anything in
this section and try to approach every question logically. This was my most challenging
section when timed as I never managed to finish it successfully. So my adopted tactic
was to aim for greater accuracy in the questions I did manage to complete. If I struggled
with the presentation or layout of a question from the early onset, I would select an
answer randomly and then flag it. This leaves you more time to really make an effort at
the questions that you find easiest to answer. Everyone will have different strengths so
use that to your advantage.

 Learn more about this subsection of the UKCAT.

Abstract Reasoning

The abstract reasoning section was the one that I was most worried about initially,
because one set of shapes will have about 4-5 questions attached to it. The key to this
section I found was running through all the different ‘patterns’ quickly in order to
somehow link up the apparently random shapes. Orientation, number of sides/corners,
size, colour and many other characteristics play a huge part in figuring out the ‘key.’
Once you have worked this out, it is relatively easy to answer the surrounding questions,
so I would spend most of my time looking at the given shapes. Again it is a skill in itself
to urge yourself to move on when you have spent too much time, especially as this
section has a lot of questions.

 Learn how to pass your UKCAT Abstract Reasoning test.

Decision Analysis

I found this section the easiest in practice as it was not very pressured for time and was
not too difficult. However during the exam I didn’t do as well as anticipated here and so
it is really important to maintain concentration, particularly as this is the last section.
Try not to dwell on other parts and focus on the task at hand. This will give you a really
strong finish to your exam!

Leading up to the test I found lots of free online links and mock tests which are really good to familiarise yourself with the electronic layout of the test. I would recommend ‘saving’ the UKCAT website’s mock test to the last few days before your real exam. So here is a final summary of my UKCAT 2012 tips for succeeding at the UKCAT:

  • Prepare early - read up in books or the internet about the UKCAT a few months before
  • Book your test early to get a date that fits your timetable
  • Buy one or two good practice books (I would recommend the 600 UKCAT questions book as the most similar in difficulty to the real exam)
  • Don’t leave practice to the last minute, a little every day goes a long way!
  • Calculate rough time limits for each question so you know how long to spend on them
  • Play to your strengths and have a guess at questions which would take too long to work out
  • Don’t think about other sections during the test
  • Make use of all the internet resources
  • Stay calm and have a good night’s rest the day before
Last of all, I wish those of you embarking on university application this year good luck!
Note from the editor: Do you have a psychometric test experience you would like to share? Or would you like to hear about someone’s experiences with a specific test if so contact us, or leave a comment below.

Do you have any other tips to add?

Other articles you may be interested in:

 About the author: Y W Smart took the UKCAT in July 2011, and achieved her offer to study undergraduate medicine at a UK university in September 2012. She writes blog documenting her experiences as a first-year medical student and can be contacted at this mail.

Ten Job Interview Tips

Job interview tips - JobtestPrep's Blog
These ten job interview tips on how to successfully pass an interview are from the Executive Recruiter’s point of view.

From how to dress, to how to follow-up on an interview, these tips cover the major bases:
  1. Dress up for the event - show you know the form, honour your interviewers by looking smart.
  2. Dress right down to your shoes. Accessories matter - clean shoes, no tattoos, less jewellery.
  3. Know where you are going (literally) and get there on time – nothing winds a busy person up more than someone who wastes their time.
  4. Know who you are going to see and find out as much about the organisation and their challenges as you can.
  5. Know the answers. OK you can’t know all the questions but you can anticipate some of them. Have really good answers ready for those predictable ones. 
  6. Be likeable - shake hands, smile, look them in the eye, be pleased to be in their company. Not gushing, but you need to come over as someone they would want to have around.
  7. Be clear - to sound confident you have to speak clearly, open your mouth, open your lungs, breathe deeply and annunciate. Pause before you answer and structure what you want to say.
  8. Be slow - nervous people will talk really quickly, you need to speak slowly and clearly.
  9. Be still, be really careful to sit up and keep your chin up, it affects your ability to speak up and makes you appear more confident but don’t fidget. Video yourself on your phone in a practice session; eliminate any silly mannerisms. And no flirty gestures.
  10. Say thank you and do the hand shake, smile, eye contact at the end. If you can, do the follow up email saying how much you enjoyed meeting them, want to work with them, etc.
These ten job interview tips form the introduction to Mary Hope’s CD "Turbo Charge Interview Confidence Booster" available in the UK at Mary Hope Career Success.

About the author: Mary Hope is a careers coach with experience as a psychometric tester and executive headhunter. Her website Mary Hope Career Success can help you achieve what you want in your career whether it is immediate success in a recruitment process, or a more strategic approach to career management.

Studying for the UKCAT

Studying for the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)
Now that A-levels results are out, UKCAT prep season is reaching its boiling temperature point. Get important tips for planning your prep journey effectively from JTP's tutors. An important part of preparing for the UKCAT is constructing a study schedule. We advise you to clear two to three weeks at minimum for preparation. 

Those who have been out of school for some time – traveling the world, saving a Rhesus Monkey's life, preparing for the 2012 Olympics - are probably in need of a longer period of study. The following article will address which sections of the UKCAT to prioritise, and what it essential to create a winning study plan. This does not include the UKCAT Situational Judgement Test which is not a factor in determining your UKCAT score. 

Section-level analysis 

It seems natural to break down the test into its main constituents which are the four subtests/sections. We would like to offer our recommended study flow with which you work through each section, leaving the full-length mock tests to the very final stage. So here we go. 

A suggested prep flow for UKCAT sections:

A suggested prep flow for UKCAT sections

As you see, three key guidelines should be followed when studying for the UKCAT:
  • Collecting useful tips
  • Spotting weaknesses  
  • Tracking progress 

Where to start?

We suggest the following order of section analysis and prep strategy when studying for the UKCAT. We will now explore how to revise for each section taking Quantitative Reasoning as an example.


UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning - In-depth prep analysis

Quantitative Reasoning - In-depth prep analysis

While the BMAT requires us to reviselots of high-school knowledge in Physics, Biology and Chemistry, studying for the UKCAT necessitates only very basic education-related skills - the rest is to be mastered through lots of practice and habituation.

However, the quantitative reasoning section includes some core elements in maths that can be easily rehearsed and memorised, and that is why we advise you to put this topic at the top of your to-do list.

For example, some students don't take Mathsfor A-level, focusing on other science-related subjects. Such students may very well want to revise or learn some important numeracy-related concepts and tricks, i.e. averages, percentages, ratios and basic geometry.

Examples of tips one should try and collect for the QR section:
  • How to eliminate distractors and obvious traps
  • Working with the computer's calculator
  • Shortcuts for percentage questions
  • Working with units
  • Reading the T's and C's of each question
For a full list of great solving strategies per section check out our UKCAT Practice Packs

Financial Recruitment and Psychometric Tests

Financial recruitment and psychometric testsWhat are finance recruiters testing when they ask you to take psychometric tests?

Companies in the finance sector, especially investment banks, are infamous for making extensive use of numerical, verbal and psychometric tests as part of their recruiting process. However, there are many aims to the tests used in financial recruitment and psychometric tests are not only used to test your mathematical ability. Here is the real purpose of those tests:

« Those tests are an easy "first cut" evaluation of general intelligence »

Clearly, the banks do not have the resources to interview every candidate that applies for a graduate job. An easy and inexpensive way to make a first cut in the applicant pool is to give what is basically an IQ test and select the best performers. While a high IQ doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a great employee, an above average IQ is often a prerequisite for most jobs in finance that typically require strong numerical abilities.

Tests show your ability to work well under time pressure and in a competitive environment

Many applicants are very smart but can unfortunately crumble in the face of competition and pressure. The ability to think fast is a skill that is critical and that is also measured in those tests. This is particularly important for banks because finance is a fast-paced industry where many decisions need to be taken under time pressure.

Basic business and common sense is also tested

Many of the questions in the verbal or numerical tests will be related to economics or current affairs. Therefore, the tests will also measure your basic understanding of the business world and business jargon.

Psychometric tests aim to see how well rounded you are

Psychometric tests are really about evaluating your interpersonal skills: will you be able to handle conflicts, work well in teams, get along with your peers, are you a well balanced individual (i.e. not a work alcoholic or bookworm, for example), etc.

Motivation, Hard-work and Preparation skills

Finally, recruiters expect applicants to come well prepared. They know that a wide range of resources are available at the school career centres and on the Internet, therefore they believe that there is no excuse to come unprepared and get poor scores in tests. If someone is motivated enough they will make sure they practice.

Employers want to test many skills in financial recruitment and psychometric tests are a good way of assessing both abilities and motivations.

About the author: is run by a team of bankers, private equity and venture capital professionals that provide quality advice to students and junior professionals that want to make a career in the competitive fields of Investment BankingPrivate Equity and Venture Capital in Europe.

Interview Presentation Tips

Assessment Centre interview presentation tips -
A common Assessment Centre exercise is giving a presentation. There are lots of things to think about when giving a presentation aside from content – PowerPoint design, body language, interaction with the audience, etc. Here is our insider advice on how to go about presentation preparation, for more about Assessment Centre practice visit our Assessment Centre Presentation page onsite.

Assessment Centre interview presentation tips

1. Structure of the presentation

Plan the structure and timing of the presentation in advance. Make sure everything is clearly sectioned and that there are section summaries. Recommended structure:
  • Introduce yourself – See 2. below.
  • Background – It is important to introduce the concept in a broad and general manner, giving explanations where appropriate.  
  • In-depth analysis – This is the main and most substantial part of the presentation, you should appoint most time to this section. This is an informative stage.
  • Interim summary – One or two sentences which summarise the in-depth analysis.
  • Advantages / Disadvantages – In this section, present short, different opinions about the topic. Opinions should be objective and not personal at this point.
  • Solution – Suggest solution/s to the problems that were raised.
  • Personal opinion – This should be a short section. The presenter gives across his personal opinion on the topic, and the reasons why they chose this topic.
  • Questions – Invite the audience to ask you questions.
  • Summary – A short summary relating to the background of the problem, and how to drive the next stages plus food for thought.
  • Conclusion – Don’t forget to thank the audience for listening.

2. What to say when you introduce yourself

When you introduce yourself, it should be short and to the point – maximum 30 seconds. We recommend you introduce yourself in the following order:
  • Full name
  • Current role
  • Previous role (if relevant) 
  • Education

3. Tips for body language

  • Stand straight - this is likely to give an impression of confidence.
  • Don’t put hands in pockets
  • Make sure you are making eye-contact with the audience
  • Speak loudly and clearly
  • Don’t directly read  your presentation off notes (cue-cards are fine).
  • Be enthusiastic about the topic

4. Tips for content of the presentation

  • Be attentive to the allocated time given for the presentation. 
  • It is better to speak about fewer aspects of the problem in greater depth, than to talk about more aspects in lesser depth – it is more memorable. 
  • In order to clarify your ideas, try and relate to the audience as much as possible using examples and analogies that are not topic-specific. 
  • Do not use generalisations or stereotypes, you do not want to say anything that could insult your audience.

5. How to order your slides

  1. Title slide – Name of the presentation, name of speaker and the speaker’s role in the presentation 
  2. Slide 1 – Aims of the presentation 
  3. Slide 2  Contents of the presentation 
  4. Slide 3 – Body of presentation as outlined above Summary slide
  5. Slide of thanks 
  6. Back-up slide – It is good to have a number of back-up slides with examples or additional information for complicated topics.

6. Design

  • Be consistent with the background colour. 
  • Write shortly and succinctly. 
  • We recommend no more than five lines per slide, a maximum of seven words per line, "Arial" font and the size to be between 34 and 56. 
  • Any topic that needs an explanation should be explained orally and not on the slide. 
  • Each section should have a unique colour, picture or some other uniform sign so that people know when you have moved on to a new section.

7. General interview presentation tips

  • Humour  It is good to use humour once in a while, but be careful not to embarrass yourself! 
  • Practice the presentation several times beforehand!
  • Succeed at your job interview with JobTestPrep's online interview preparation pack designed by psychologists and experienced hiring managers.

Good luck!

JobTestPrep's Free RAF Test Practice - Take one

Royal Air Force Aptitude Test ExampleAbout two months ago we announced our new project – developing practice materials for the RAF aptitude test. Our test team is working hard on producing top-level questions that will mirror RAF's test content and allow hundreds of candidates to prepare for one of the most important parts of the RAF selection process. 

The short free practice session that was just aired is in PDF format and includes some test-level examples of the spatial reasoning section of the test. This section requires orientation skills in 2D and 3D spaces. All questions are followed by solutions and explanations. Throughout August we shall add more free practice questions from other test sections, and hopefully, the entire pack will air September 1st


Access our free Royal Air Force Aptitude Test now.