Equipment you need to get UCAT ready!
2 months ago by Chris
The saying goes, ‘A bad workman blames his tools’, but it’s also true that having the right tools plays an important role in the successful completion of any task, including UCAT. For example, imagine trying to chop down a tree with a kitchen knife!
Not only is it important to select the right tools, you also need to use them efficiently and effectively.
So, what equipment do you need to get UCAT ready, and why?
First, it is important to understand what UCAT testing day will be like. On the day of UCAT, you will walk into the testing room where you will be allocated a desk space, with a desktop computer, keyboard with number pad, and mouse. You will also be given a laminated noteboard and marker pen to make notes during UCAT. So let’s go through each piece of equipment in turn.
In the live UCAT, desktop computers are used. The computer is usually a PC, but may be a Mac in some centres. Laptops, iPads and other devices are not used. Therefore, when practicing for UCAT, it would be ideal to practice on a desktop computer. This will make the live UCAT feel less intimidating and more familiar.
However, if you do not have a desktop computer, a laptop is an acceptable alternative. It is not recommended that you complete full length UCAT exams on an iPad, tablet or mobile phone, as it will not simulate the UCAT test day experience accurately.
When preparing for UCAT, it is important that you practice with a keyboard. Ideally this would be a keyboard attached to a desktop computer, but a laptop keyboard is also acceptable. As UCAT is a highly time pressured exam, it is vital that you learn UCAT keyboard shortcuts, for example, ALT+N to proceed to the next UCAT question. One UCAT candidate said, ‘I was actually surprised how much time this saved me in UCAT.’
UCAT numeric keypad
In the live UCAT, your keyboard will have a numeric keypad / numberpad on the right hand side. It is vital that you practice using the numberpad, as it will save you significant time when working the UCAT calculator.
With a numberpad you can get accustomed to typing UCAT equations much quicker than trying to use the numbers along the top of your keyboard. MedEntry has a UCAT numeric keypad skills trainer which will help you to develop these skills quickly.
If you are using a desktop computer, your keyboard will have an inbuild numberpad. If you are using a laptop, it won’t – so you should strongly consider purchasing a USB numeric keypad (or full keyboard) to practice.
During UCAT you will have access to a simple on-screen calculator. This will be useful for UCAT Decision Making and UCAT Quantitative Reasoning. The calculator is integrated into the UCAT testing platform and it is essential to familiarise yourself with the functionality. Using the calculator quickly and accurately is an important skill in UCAT. You can find some information and tips on the UCAT calculator in our blog.
If you do not own a desktop computer, it is possible that you have never seen or used a mouse. Do not let the UCAT be the first time you do so! It is an important way to navigate the platform on UCAT test day, so you must become familiar with using one. If you only have a laptop and do not own a mouse, it is strongly recommended that you purchase an external mouse and practice using one in the lead up to UCAT. Practice will improve your speed and precision, ultimately saving you time in UCAT.
In UCAT, you will have a laminated noteboard and marker pen to make notes during the test. If you attend a MedEntry workshop, you will be sent a noteboard and marker pen that replicates the live UCAT, which you can use to simulate the UCAT testing experience. If you are not able to attend a workshop, you can laminate some A4 sheets of paper and purchase a non-permanent marker pen.
During your UCAT practice, use the noteboard to help answer UCAT questions. You can draw diagrams, note down important numbers or equations and summarise rules. Practicing with your UCAT noteboard is essential to save time and improve accuracy for UCAT.
Of course, the most important part of preparation for UCAT is the time you spend preparing for the exam, but knowing how to get the best out of the equipment you use will greatly benefit you too!