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The Reality…

Right, so you’re wondering what’s up with the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) and BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) – the admissions tests you’ve probably been hearing about ever since you’ve taken an interest in Medicine/Dentistry. Before we even think about preparation etc, whether you can revise for them and all that, it’s important for us all to understand what we’re dipping our toes in to!

What are they used for? ⚖️

In 99% of cases, these admissions tests are simply a filter to select applicants for interview at medical/dental schools across the country, and may potentially be used as a tie-breaker to select between applicants that achieved the same score at interview. Other than that, they’re simply a filter. A ticket to get past the gate, and through to the interview. No one cares how highly you scored on them once you secure the interview, because it does not affect your chances of getting in whatsoever, in the vast majority of cases. Why are we telling you this? Because from the outset, it’s important that you don’t head into this admissions test journey trying to be a perfectionist and gunning for some insane score!

But don’t I need to do amazing to get into Medicine/Dentistry? 😲

Fun fact… no! No matter how high or low you score, you’ll always have medical/dental schools that will be willing to take you in. Yes, you may need to apply more tactically, but the point is, you’ll still have options, and that’s all that matters. We’ll touch upon this a lot more in the tactical application section. Free your mind from the shackles of pressure, and realise that these admissions tests aren’t going to be a barrier to you pursuing your dreams!

They’re not revisable, are they? 😞

You might have heard this from some people who, unfortunately, might not be as woke with this whole applications process thing. Whilst it’s true that these are skills-based tests, and these cognitive skills are developed over many years, it doesn’t mean that preparation doesn’t help. You’ve got to prepare with full heart, whilst taking care of your wellbeing at the same time, because it’s a mental battle. Preparation IS needed, and we’ll touch upon this in a full guide! In terms of the actual questions, these admissions tests aren’t too difficult for intelligent Lions like yourselves, but the difficulty is the time pressure. And that’s what consistent practice will let you hone and refine over time.

UCAT vs BMAT – which is harder? 😱

You might be wondering what the difference is with the UCAT vs the BMAT! Both tests are testing very similar skills, but the mechanism of testing is a little bit different. On the whole, the UCAT is more time pressured, but the individual questions could potentially be said to be a bit easier, whereas the BMAT has less time pressure, but some questions are absolute scorchers! One thing that people like about the BMAT is that there are past papers available from 2003 onwards, so it’s more predictable. But really, there’s no winner here. Both tests suit different people, and the score you get in one does not really correlate with the other in a lot of cases. And yes, you can revise for both the UCAT and BMAT 🤣 if you didn’t get the message already.

Take this, or leave it 🔑

We can guarantee – if your mindset towards these admissions tests is ‘Of course I’m going to try my best to prepare for them, and give them my all on the day, but I don’t care what score I get because I know I will have options open to me regardless’ – then you won’t find this period of your medical/dental school admission journey so traumatic. If you ask anyone who still remembers their road to medical/dental school, they’ll tell you that the admissions tests were the worst part. And that’s because it is a tricky time, with self-doubt, comparison with your peers, burnout etc etc. But if you just stay focused on yourself, in your own lane, not caring what scores you get in practice or score you get in the final test – it won’t be so bad. Because one thing we have found, but can’t prove – is that the applicants who don’t get so consumed and stressed out during preparation end up getting scores they’re happy with, and it’s because of their mindset!