A UCAT ANZ revision roadmap ensures you cover everything to maximise your score and don't get lost along the way.
Starting to think about UCAT ANZ revision?
Since the UCAT ANZ doesn’t test your academic knowledge or your scientific understanding, it can be difficult to work out how to prepare. There’s no textbook to memorise, no specification to read, and no past papers to try.
This article offers several revision plans that cover preparation for 12 months, 6 months and 2-3 months, to help set you up for UCAT success. Thinking about how to structure your revision well ahead of your UCAT exam will also enable you to balance UCAT study with other commitments.
First, learn about the different sections of the UCAT and then drill down into the various types of questions within each subtest:
Familiarise yourself with UCAT timings. This is the most challenging part of the test for most students.
Finally, read through our UCAT FAQs to get up to speed on everything you need to know about the UCAT.
First, you'll need to know about the fundamentals of the exam, including what is being tested, what sections there are and how the exam is scored.
You should then assess your current ability before attempting any questions or diving into section-specific tutorials. This is known as a diagnostic test, as you're diagnosing your current abilities.
Medify’s UCAT ANZ Online Course contains a short diagnostic test that allows you to gauge which section needs most work.
You should then follow Medify’s recommended approach to UCAT preparation.
That depends on your natural ability in that subskill, as well as your learning speed.
No amount of questions can guarantee your success, but it is recommended that you go through at least 5000-10,000 questions to give you sufficient coverage of each section and question types.
Get more tips on how to prepare for the UCAT.
Aim to do at least 8-10 mock exams during your UCAT preparation and ideally 20 or more. You should space them out throughout your preparation period so that you can regularly check how you’re doing.
There are a handful of mock exams on the official UCAT website which you can try. If you'd like more to practise with, our UCAT ANZ Online Course has 24 full mock exams which have been designed to emulate the real UCAT exam.
That depends quite a lot on your natural ability in each section, as the UCAT is an aptitude test.
In general, starting your preparation earlier (6-12 months before your UCAT) allows you to space out revision at a very manageable pace and gives you more time to work on weaker skills, which gives you a higher chance of doing well in the UCAT.
Some skilled students may achieve high scores by preparing for shorter durations, but we recommend at least 2-3 months of preparation to minimise stress levels and reduce the chance of burnout.
As we’ve previously highlighted, the best place to begin is to find out about the UCAT in general. From there, you can take a diagnostic mock, and then go through the following cycle:
1) Sit a mock exam – Simulate the UCAT exam to establish your ability level
2) Review your performance – Reflect on why you got certain questions wrong
3) View tutorials – Learn how to address your weaknesses
4) Do some practice questions/mini-mocks – Experiment with strategies to see what works best for you
After step 4, you should then attempt another mock (step 1) to restart the cycle. Repeating the mock/review/tutorial/question cycle above will enable you to continually improve your performance over time.
How many times you repeat this cycle and how far apart you space out the cycle is dependent on when you start preparing. For example, if you start 8 months before your UCAT exam, you’ll be able to get through 29 mock exams (1 diagnostic mock + 4 official UCAT mocks + 24 Medify mocks) at a leisurely pace of 1 cycle per week.
On the other hand, if you only have 8 weeks to prepare for the UCAT, you might want to do 2 cycles per week. This wouldn’t get you through all available materials, but is still a decent amount of preparation if you’re able to handle the pace.
You should spend a few weeks learning about the UCAT, including timings, an overview of each of the UCAT sections, how the UCAT is scored, and so on.
As you’ll be spreading your preparation out over 12 months, you can spend longer becoming familiar with the UCAT at the start, compared to those who are preparing for less time.
Once you have a good understanding of the UCAT and what’s involved, you’ll want to aim for 1 mock/review/tutorial/question cycle per week to a fortnight. Consistency is key – it’s better to do less but more frequently in order to build momentum over time, rather than cram in a lot every now and then.
Of course, our 12 month UCAT preparation plan is only a guide, and you should adapt your workload depending on other commitments and availability.
While 6 months is still plenty of time to prepare for the UCAT, you’ll want to increase the pace of study a little more compared to the 12 month preparation plan.
For instance, you should also aim for 1 mock/review/tutorial/question cycle per week, but then increase this to 2 cycles per week during the holidays leading up to the UCAT.
It’s also important to spend time learning about the UCAT before attempting any practice, such as reading through our UCAT blogs.
Although 2-3 months of preparation will be sufficient for some students, compared to the 6 month and 12 month revision plans, there is additional pressure to get up to speed quicker.
For instance, instead of spending weeks learning about the UCAT at a leisurely pace, you should only dedicate a day or so to this.
And rather than doing a mock/review/tutorial/question cycle per week at any point, you’ll want to skip ahead to 2 cycles per week throughout the entire preparation period.
Try your best to stay consistent – studying a little every day will be more impactful than studying for long periods with big breaks in between.
It’s more likely that individuals who study for less time will feel more stressed and anxious than those who study for longer, so it’s essential that you look after your mental health during this time.
After doing a diagnostic test, you can follow our 12 month, 6 month, or 2-3 month UCAT preparation plan. Focus on the sections that you struggle with and adapt your plan every day.
Start with untimed practice before moving on to mini-mocks and finally full mocks.
Our number one piece of advice would be to give yourself as much time as needed to get the highest possible result while avoiding burnout.
Although this will vary from person to person, we will always advocate for revising for less hours a day over a longer period of time, rather than more hours a day over a shorter period of time.
While it certainly is possible to succeed in the UCAT with less than 2-3 months preparation, it’s likely that it will be more challenging to achieve high scores.
Remember, there are far fewer places than applicants for medicine and dentistry, so leaving a few extra weeks couldn’t hurt!
Keep checking UCAT and admissions news for the latest updates.
Keep practising! A month sounds like a long time, but time will quickly vanish. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals such as reaching a certain score by a certain date or time.
Niche down even further on your weaknesses – by this stage you should just be focusing on what you find hardest. Make sure you factor in breaks and days off into your schedule, as well as any important events which you need to attend.
Read the 'Good medical practice' by the Medical Board of Australia if you haven’t already. It will inform you about the different duties of healthcare professionals and how they should respond to different scenarios, which is essential for the Situational Judgement Test section of the UCAT.
Try Medify's Skills Trainers, such as inference scanning for Verbal Reasoning, to maximise your score (these are included in our UCAT ANZ Online Course). Make sure you've also completed plenty of UCAT practice tests.
The UCAT exam is two hours with no breaks in between, so practise at least two hours each time to build your mental stamina. You should also simulate the exam environment as closely as possible – this means treating every mock test as if it were a real one.
For instance, you should sit mock exams at the same time of the day as your actual UCAT exam and ensure there are no distractions. By mirroring the test conditions, not only will it prepare you for what to expect on test day, it should also help to decrease any anxiety leading up to the exam. Otherwise, your brain has to process the ‘new’ way of completing the test.
At this point, you'll know the format of the exam inside out and will have practised the questions enough times to get used to UCAT timings. Don’t give up – keep preparing in an environment where you cannot be interrupted.
Remember, a lot of your preparation will have been done in the weeks and months before this final week, so be careful not to overdo it and become too fatigued. Your motivation may drop or you might ‘peak’ before the test. Your body needs rest too.
Now is a great time to introduce or increase self-care in your regime. Whether it’s watching Netflix, gaming, or just running a bath, it’s important to detach yourself from UCAT revision from time to time to avoid the risk of burnout.
In this week you should also prioritise your nutrition and sleep. Eat well, do not miss meals and keep hydrated. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep in the days before the test by avoiding late night cramming or staying awake into the early hours.
If it puts your mind at rest, you can check last year’s UCAT scores, but remember that this is all about your personal journey and performance, so don't get hung up on that information!
We do not advise doing a mock this close to the exam. Revision won't help you much at this stage and can actually leave you worse off. Instead, use this time to wind down and get yourself into a relaxed state. This will enable you to perform at your best on test day.
Try to get to bed early and avoid things that can affect sleep, such as looking at your phone before bed. If you think that you will struggle to sleep on time, you could try doing some exercise during the day to tire yourself out.
Exercise can boost your brainpower by oxygenating your brain, helping you learn and aid sleep. Plus, activity makes your body release endorphins, which can reduce anxiety and stress levels.
Make sure you double check your UCAT test centre information, the travel route to the test centre, the time of your UCAT exam, and so on, so you’re well prepared for test day. If someone else is giving you a ride to the test centre, it’s worth reminding them.
You should start the day off with a nutritious breakfast and give yourself enough time to arrive early to the test centre to avoid feeling flustered, rushed or stressed.
Remember that buses and trains can be late and that traffic may be heavier than you had hoped, so allow extra time whichever way you are travelling. Find out how to choose a UCAT test centre.
Make sure you know how to get to the test centre – for instance you could consider taking a map with you. If you’re using your phone for directions, make sure it’s sufficiently charged and that you have spare data (otherwise you can download the map ahead of time to use offline).
On test day you will be expected to arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled test time to complete the check-in process.
You need to bring:
When you arrive at the test centre, it’s likely that you’ll be experiencing a heightened sense of adrenaline. This is completely normal, but it could be helpful to learn some mindfulness tricks to reduce your stress levels. For instance, you could focus on your breathing to help you relax.
Don’t forget, during your test there are one minute introductions between each subtest. You can skip these, but we recommend using the time to mentally refresh yourself.
If you’ve stuck to your revision plan, and followed our advice above, the best thing you can do on test day is to try and keep as calm as possible. Take solace in the fact that you have prepared for weeks/months to get to this point, and channel any nervous energy into doing the best you can during your UCAT test.
You should think about your diet well ahead of UCAT test day. Focus on foods that release energy slowly (that is, which have a low glycaemic index, or GI) which will stop you from feeling hungry. These are ideal for UCAT preparation, as well as on test day itself.
Try eating protein and low-GI carbohydrates, such as meat or baked beans, brown (whole grain) rice or pasta, or wholegrain breakfast cereals or muesli. However, do not stray far from your usual diet on the day of the test in case you feel sick. You may want to try these foods out at the same time of day a few weeks in advance.
Be wary of energy drinks and coffee. If you’re not used to them then don’t drink them, especially in large quantities. Caffeine can acutely increase anxiety, and the sugar rush of an energy drink is soon followed by insulin slamming on the brakes, leaving you feeling worse than before. These products are no substitute for a good night’s sleep, eating properly and exercising.
No food or drink is allowed in the test room so eat a healthy meal before your UCAT test and ensure you’re hydrated. While you should make sure you’re drinking enough water, do not overdo it, otherwise you might need the toilet while the timer is ticking.
Please note, access arrangements are available if you have a disability, learning difficulty or long-term medical condition. You may be entitled to extra time and/or rest breaks, and allowed certain items, such as water, at your test centre workstation.
This image shows a typical UCAT test environment:
There is no audio element to the test, but you can request earplugs to block out any noise that might disrupt your concentration.
You will have access to a basic onscreen calculator which may be useful for the Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making sections.
You will be given a laminated notebook and marker pen. Consider using these for:
If you require an additional notebook and pen, you can raise your hand and ask the invigilator. Although the invigilator will check that your pen is working before the test, we advise double-checking this to avoid seeking assistance during the test.
Do you need help preparing for the UCAT ANZ? Head over to our UCAT ANZ Online Course and we’ll get you signed up to guide you through the whole process.
We provide a huge bank of 20,000+ questions, 24 unique full mock exams, 40+ mini-mock exams, 50+ hours of video tutorials, and performance feedback. We've also upgraded our UCAT mock exams 13-24 and revised our practice question bank to enrich your preparation journey.