Frequently Asked Questions
MedEntry UCAT Prep is an international Registered Training Educational institution committed to helping students enter medicine. MedEntry is the trusted UCAT preparation institution which specialises in UCAT Preparation. Unlike other 'grind schools' which have UCAT Prep as an 'add-on', the only thing MedEntry does is UCAT preparation and therefore is focussed on this core activity.
We are a team of academics, doctors and professionals with expertise in test development, measurement and analysis. We have been training students for tests such as the UCAT for over 30 years. Our comprehensive course has been remarkably successful in helping students achieve their goals.
There are many preparation providers around - many of them have little or no expertise but have slick websites and marketing.
This is a crucially important test for your (or your child's) future. Choosing the right preparation provider can be critical in whether you enter medicine or not.
MedEntry is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), has hundreds of five star reviews, is trusted by more students each year than all other preparation providers combined - in short, we offer a guarantee of quality training.
On our About Us page, you'll find more detail about why you should choose MedEntry for quality UCAT preparation.
MedEntry's approach is holistic. We realise that entering a health science course involves much more than simply doing well in high school or university. We guide students through the whole process – providing information on university admissions procedures, training students for the UCAT and helping students tackle interviews.
MedEntry's products and services include:
- An Online Learning Platform (OLP) which provides instant feedback
- Full length UCAT practice exams with fully worked solutions
- Guides that cover all five sections of the UCAT, general strategies for tackling the UCAT and information on how to perform exceptionally well in interviews
- Extra preparation material and drills – including over 20 000 practice questions
- Online community to enable discussions in real time
- Exclusive Skills Trainers
- Two day UCAT Courses that train students for the UCAT
- One-on-one tuition for the UCAT
- Day long interview training sessions
- MedEntry App (Android and Iphone)
- UCAT Headstart purchases
- Personal statement reviews
- Student support via email and telephone
- Comprehensive knowledge base, online community, and support from MedEntry tutors
The resources provided by MedEntry are much more challenging than those provided by others. Some other courses last only one to three days - MedEntry's lasts for up to 12 months or more. Since our course is by far the most popular, more able and motivated students enrol in our courses, so students have the unique opportunity to interact with more students on online forums and at the UCAT Course, thereby enhancing their thinking skills.
We realise that most of our students are in university and are very busy. Our program is comprehensive and focussed on UCAT, which means you do not need to do any other preparation.
Research and other evidence overwhelmingly backs our claim that MedEntry UCAT preparation helps:
- Feedback statistics show that 99.1% of our students would recommend MedEntry’s services to their friends. Here at MedEntry UCAT Prep, we are result orientated.
- A survey of a random sample of students who have been through our full training program showed that 92% were offered interviews, and 88% were offered places in one or more medical schools.
- Research on students re-sitting UCAT has shown that UCAT Preparation results in an average improvement of about 35 percentile points in UCAT results.
- Evaluation by an independent statutory organisation, RDWA, carried out every year, has shown that students found MedEntry courses extremely useful. You are welcome to look at these at our business premises.
- There have been many published research papers which indicate that the reason for better performance of certain groups is due to such groups participating in preparation courses, such as that offered by MedEntry (e.g. BMC Medical Education, 2013, 13:155).
- Emeritus Professor Max Kamien (Australian Doctor 26 July 2012) stated: "If you are going to play in a tennis tournament, attend an interview or sit an exam, it is obvious that you will do better if you know the rules of the 'game' and have had practise in applying them. To test the obvious requires a much more sophisticated approach than statistical correlations or an opinion based questionnaire."
- If preparation does not work/help, the organisations which offer UCAT coaching services would cease to exist. As a practicing doctor pointed out: "If test preparation does not work and is not effective, UCAT courses such as MedEntry would cease to exist. The fact that an increasing number of students undertake the MedEntry UCAT Course is in itself evidence that it is beneficial and works."
- MedEntry UCAT Prep will also significantly improve your school / university score for several reasons: it will enhance your motivation to study; hone your thinking skills and it will make you a more efficient and effective learner which is invaluable for high school, university and throughout your life. It is a fact that each year, most students who obtain perfect GPA/A-Level/GCSE scores have done the MedEntry course. MedEntry UCAT Prep also helps with two sections of the GAMSAT. We don't coach to the test; we teach to the constructs.
- Aptitude tests (such as the UCAT) rely on the fact that the candidates do not prepare, so testers actively discourage the candidates from preparing. They do this by propagating various myths such as: preparation does not help; it will be a waste of resources; preparation may hinder your performance; coached students may mis-apply simplistic rules etc. Accredited testers know that such organisations go to great lengths to place fear in candidates to ensure they do not prepare, precisely because preparation works! If it is really true that you can't prepare for the test, universities should have no objection to intense UCAT preparation (rather than actively discouraging students from preparing).
- In fact, all psychological tests and experiments involve deception (e.g. placebo). All national and international professional organisations in psychology (eg. Australian / American / British Psychological Societies) approve of deception in psychological experiments and tests.
- The government also feels, "rural and disadvantaged students got a raw deal as most coaching and training centres were in cities/better schools". It is one of the reasons given for much lower entry requirements into Medicine for rural students and quotas for them (i.e., they don’t have easy access to UCAT Prep which city students have). It is also claimed that coaching ‘compromises’ the validity of the test. The issue of equity is also raised i.e. UCAT coaching benefits those who are able to afford it. These three claims again imply that UCAT Prep helps.
- James Tognolini, a respected psychometrician at Sydney University, said there was no research to suggest that questions assessing higher order thinking could be written in a way that made them uncoachable. "To be honest, I do think that the performance on these items can be improved by coaching, mainly teaching a formulaic approach to solving such higher-order thinking items," he said.
Excerpts from How the brain learns: what lessons are there for teaching? conference proceedings:
- p. 12: “Brain change translates into measurable change on standardised test measures; it is not just due to practice effect”, i.e. coaching increases actual cognitive ability (Barbara Arrowsmith Young).
- p. 118 “Practice testing improves learning: more and longer is better. Repeated testing improves test performance more than further teaching. Students overestimate the durability of memory and underestimate the benefits of practice. Benefit of practice is greater for harder tests.” (O Lipp, S Develle).
- Rob Urstein, of Global Innovation Programs at Stanford Graduate School of Business, found a powerful way to help students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds succeed academically (published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016). The students who were exposed to the idea that intelligence, rather than being a fixed trait, is something that grows over time and can be developed with effort, were much more likely to be successful. This concept, also known as having the ‘Growth Mindset’ has been popularised by Carol Dwerk. The UCAT Consortium, which claims ‘to support every learner’ is doing a disservice to low SES students by promoting the opposite myth: the fixed mindset.
- Research presented by K Lochner and A Preuss at the 9th ITC Conference in San Sebastian, Spain in 2014, also showed that: 'performance in cognitive tests can be improved significantly' and 'training caused a significant upward trend in performance' (p 251).
Some further points to consider:
- Any rational decision should be based on decision making theory (Probability x Benefit). However, “humans are terrible at dealing with probabilities.” (p. 68 ‘This will make you smarter’ by J Brockman).
- What is important in UCAT is not the percentage of questions you get right, but your percentile ranking. If you only use the free UCAT practice tests, you are unlikely know your true percentile ranking (how you are performing in relation to other students), or your strengths and weaknesses.
Because most students who prepare for UCAT do MedEntry and most students who get into Medical schools would have used MedEntry, you will be able to compare your performance with the best students from UK/NZ/Australia. You will also be able to interact with the best students on MedEntry Forums, during the workshop etc. When you do MedEntry, you can be confident that you are learning with the best students from around the world.
- The simple fact is: If you do not undertake quality UCAT preparation with a reputable organisation which has a proven track record (MedEntry), you will be disadvantaged because those who are competing with you for limited medical school places are getting this advantage.
Please also read the information under ‘About Us'.
Please also read the article "Do I need to train for the UCAT?" (Under "Does MedEntry UCAT prep help?)
You may find opinions expressed on forums and by some organisations that intense UCAT preparation may not help. They are mainly from:
- UCAT Consortium and Pearson VUE, which administer UCAT and therefore have a vested interest in ensuring that students don't prepare, for several reasons (for example, their job becomes harder if students prepare; possibility of legal challenges; all psychological experiments/tests involve deception).
- Universities, which also have a vested interest in claiming that UCAT and interview preparation may not help (which is hypocritical, since universities coach students for aptitude tests and interviews at assessment centres for jobs).
- Individuals who may have done a poor quality preparation course and/or may not have done the work required and therefore may not have got into medicine. Further, such students who may have obtained say 70th percentile, would have done far worse without preparation.
- Individuals who feel strongly that all education should be free, and hence are opposed to UCAT preparation. These naive people fail to recognise that universities obtain about £20,000 per student per year (most of it from the tax payers).
- Individuals who are uncritical and are 'sucked in' by propaganda; and believe in test admnistrator's stance.
- Individuals who may have done well in UCAT without preparation. What they don't realise is that if they had done good quality preparation, they would have obtained an even higher score (even in 99th percentile, there is high end, and low end of 99th percentile), which could have enabled them to gain a scholarship to study medicine.
- Students who do not want to admit that they have done UCAT Preparation for various reasons (such as wanting to appear 'smart', i.e. obtained a high score even without preparation; want to tow the uni stance etc).
- Students who do not want to admit that they are doing UCAT Preparation in order to reduce their 'competition'. An example comment from a student: "MedEntry is my secret weapon for gaining a better UCAT score. I want to be against less people who know what they are doing."
- Students who think they know 'short-cuts' to UCAT Preparation, using 'free' resources on the internet. These 'know-it-alls' seem to get a kick out of offering free advice on forums (unfortunately their advice is often misleading).
- Competitors who offer preparation services, and criticise MedEntry UCAT preparation for their own benefit.
- The 'research' published showing intense UCAT Preparation may not help is done by those who are funded by test producers and they don't declare this conflict of interest.
MedEntry was made possible by a generous grant by the Foundation for Young Australians, a non-profit organisation committed to enhancing youth participation and creating opportunities for the development of young people. Specifically, MedEntry aims to help young people keen to pursue a career in medicine, especially those who are traditionally under-represented.
View a list of our other sponsors.
MedEntry is a team of health professionals, academics in the health sciences field, professionals with expertise in test development, measurement and analysis, and students who have been successful in the UCAT and interviews. For more information, view our staff page.