by Giulia Bankov June 19, 2019 3 min read

 

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), previously known as the UKCAT, is one of the most widely required medical school entrance exams in the UK. As such, you will likely spend a big part of the application process preparing to sit the UCAT, practicing questions and learning strategies. As you might know, the UCAT is a time-pressured exam where speed and efficiency are of utmost importance for a high score. While practicing to answer questions accurately and fast is a big part of a high performance at the UCAT, there are several other strategies that, if mastered well, will help you shave off valuable seconds on test day. Some of them are becoming familiar with and getting used to using the UCAT keyboard shortcuts, which are covered in this blog post. 

 

ucat-keyboard-shortcuts

UCAT calculator shortcuts

The UCAT is a Pearson VUE computer-based test, which you will be able to navigate with the help of a keyboard and mouse. As such, there are a few keyboard shortcuts you need to make sure you are familiar with before sitting the exam, which will help you navigate through the exam quicker. The keyboard shortcuts available in the UCAT can be roughly divided into two groups - those that you can use throughout all sections of the UCAT and those that relate to the on-screen calculator and as such, are useful for the Decision Making and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the exam. Below is a table summarising all the shortcuts you can use throughout all sections of the UCAT: 

 

Keyboard shortcut

Action

Alt + N

Next

Alt + P

Previous

Alt + F

Flag

Alt + A

Review all questions

Alt + V

Review flagged questions

Alt + I

Review incomplete questions

Alt + S

Return to review screen

Alt +E

End review

 

As you can see from the table, these shortcuts help you navigate through questions faster, by moving onto the previous question, the next question or flagging the current question for later review, as well as navigating through the review. Learning to do this and practising with time would save you time over clicking through all questions with the mouse, hopefully scoring you a few extra seconds to answer those long and challenging questions.

 

The calculator-specific shortcuts, which you can use in the UCAT Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making sections, are: 

Keyboard shortcut

Action

Alt + C

Calculator

Num Lock

Activate number pad

Backspace

 ON/C

Using keyboard shortcuts is especially important and useful in the numerical sections of the exam, as sometimes there can be a lot of number crunching and it will be a lot faster for you to type the numbers in than click them on the on-screen calculator one after another. Make sure you are familiar with using the on-screen calculator for even more speed and efficiency on test day. 

Other time-saving strategies

 

Do keep in mind that the UCAT does not apply negative marking, so you need to make sure that you always answer all questions, even when you do not know the correct answer. Make sure you flag any challenging or long questions to get back to at the end - both easy and hard questions are worth the same marks, so you will be better off leaving one hard question behind for the sake of answering three easy ones in the same amount of time and ultimately scoring more points. 
Leave a minute or two at the end before you run out of time to look through all incomplete and flagged questions that were left and try to make educated guesses - have you been able to exclude a few answer choices and narrow down the options? Use every tool at hand and ultimately make sure all questions have been answered, even if you had to make a few guesses. 

 

Make sure before the actual exam that you have sat at least two mock tests in a real exam setting - this includes not only mimicking the time constraints by sitting in timed conditions and limiting all distractions, but try using these newly learned shortcuts too. This will help you get used to them and will save you valuable time on the real day.
We hope these tips about the UCAT keyboard shortcuts were helpful in your preparation and you feel more confident tackling the test. Good luck and if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@theMSAG.com
Giulia Bankov
Giulia Bankov

Giulia is a graduate medical student at the University of Glasgow. She previously studied Neuroscience at King's College London and completed her Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Amsterdam.


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