The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), formerly known as the UKCAT, is certainly not an exam of theory; however, it is not only an exam of practice. Success in the UCAT requires you to learn the most efficient strategies and methods to solve each question type, then practice these techniques enough to know when to use them during the test. Watch our 1 minute tour of theMSAG UCAT question bank below:
The MSAG question bank has been overhauled and updated for the UCAT 2021 to bring you a technology and data-driven platform. Our question bank allows you to personalise your prep, work on your weaknesses and learn as you answer questions - all proven by our many successful students to help you ace the real exam!
The key to acing the UCAT is not just blind practice. If you only practice but continue to make the same mistakes, how will your score improve?
This is the reason why learning the correct methods and strategies is key to success in the UCAT.
But when learning strategies, how do you know which ones you need to focus on? And how can you find the revision material right at the time when you’ve identified your learning needs?In our 2021 question bank - we have created a more intuitive way to learn. We collaborated to include the knowledge, tricks and skills of 12 different top scorers to compile our UCAT strategies.
The full interactive version of our online UCAT self-study course is included with our UCAT question bank, representing roughly 7 hours of teaching. You can check out the quality of the learning and production on our youtube channel.
This teaching material is available, broken into bite-size videos accessed straight from each question’s review screen. You click “Learn” straight from the UCAT question review, and it'll take you to the few minutes of teaching from our tutorials relevant to that specific question. This feature follows the best educational practices, teaching you right after you have practised.
Additionally, you can access the full-length UCAT self-study course anytime from your platform account if you’d like the option to learn at your own pace.
Everyone knows (or soon discovers) that the biggest issue in the UCAT is timing. The questions in quantitative reasoning, for example, are not complicated and are at high school maths level - so how come many high-calibre students, aiming to be medics, struggle with this section? Well, it’s not the difficulty of questions for all five sections, but rather that the official UCAT has set the time limits to be tight!
Therefore, a good timing strategy is vitally important for you to do well on test day. This means knowing how long you should be spending on each question and how long you are currently spending on specific questions, compared to other applicants - so that you can identify your own personal weaknesses.
We have the only UCAT question bank designed to improve your speed as a primary outcome of progress.
• Track the progress of your average time per question (per section) on practice mode
• Know when to move to timed practice
• Observe the average time other users spend to get the correct answer
• Understand the relationship between the time you spend in a question and the likelihood of getting it correct
• Improve your holistic exam-taking strategy by tracking how much time is left per section when you have a quarter of the questions left
Track how long you take to get answers right overall, per section, and the difference overtime to set timing goals. Use per cent of time wasted on wrong answers as an indication of improved exam timing strategy. When it comes to a fantastic UCAT score, speed is just as important as knowledge.
When preparing, if I’m struggling with complex patterns in Abstract Reasoning, you are struggling with long passages in Verbal Reasoning, and our friend doesn’t know when to skip questions, our UCAT preparation plan should reflect these differences.
The MSAG question bank is technology and data-driven. We believe that harnessing technology enables education to be personalised to deliver more effective teaching.
In 2020, we created one of the most advanced dashboards to share practice data with students, monitoring:
• Per cent correctness per section, question type, data type
• Overall score and percentile rank per section and for mock exams
• A time tracker to see a scatter plot of your timing across all questions you do per section
• Graph that monitors the time lost in questions you got wrong
• Activity monitoring
Students commented that seeing in detail which question types they were weaker in and the advanced timing monitoring helped them to know which sections to focus on in their practice.
Medify and Medentry also show some granular data on where you get your questions wrong, but they do not allow you to select practice modes by those different question types, so the use of that is limited. What is the point of knowing you are weak in percentage questions if when you practice QR, you cannot choose to practise just percentage questions? Our timing data is also not found on any other platform in that format.
In May 2021, we are releasing our brand new analytics aspect of the UCAT question bank with four dashboards to help you track YOUR performance:
• Overall/Summary Dashboard - A summary of your most recent practice data
• Performance Dashboard - Are you improving? Where do you need to focus?
• Timing Dashboard - Find out where you are losing precious time
• Activity Dashboard - Track your practice activity and section progression
With an entire Dashboard dedicated to each of the most critical aspects of your UCAT prep, you will be able to see and understand where your strengths and weaknesses are, at a glance, as well as observing how you are improving over time.
We are also improving the timing monitoring in the dashboard, where you will now see summaries of all areas where you get correct responses slower than other applicants. Your UCAT ranking matters more than your score, and we provide you with the data to help you focus your efforts where it matters most!
Our written explanations for every question go a step above traditional question banks. We show you:
• The approach to a question
• The explanation for correct/incorrect answers
• Appropriate alternative explanations.
Sometimes, there is more than one suitable method to answer a question, and not everyone learns in the same way.
We use technology as a core element to improve your learning. The “way” to practice is significantly more advanced on theMSAG hub than on Medify or Medentry. Here are specific things that you cannot do on the other platforms but are standard when you practice with theMSAG:
Although we recommend that the majority of your practice be timed practice when preparing for the UCAT to simulate a more realistic environment, it is natural to start with untimed practise while you get to grips with all question types... but untimed shouldn’t mean “featureless”. When doing untimed practice using Medify or Medentry (tested in March 2021), you can only select 1 stem at a time for practice. We define a stem as one piece of data, so for QR that is 4 questions, for DM it is 1 question, for AR it is 5 questions etc. Once the stem is done, you get to decide if you want to add 1 more practice stem or not. Although you can keep clicking to add another one if you want to, it does get frustrating and distracting. This is worse in a section like DM where a stem is one question, so after each question, you are clicking to add another question.
On theMSAG untimed practise mode - you can select how many questions you want to do before you start - and the practice session will load with all those questions with no distraction in between each, like the real exam.
Our practice builder is designed to be flexible according to your study needs, so you are not limited to practise one section at a time. Significantly closer to the exam, it may be beneficial to do practice that is more reflective of the real UCAT with some VR initially, followed by a few DM questions, then QR, then AR, and SJT.
You can create as many practise sets, with whichever combinations of sections that you wish to either reflect the actual exam order and proportions or your study needs/areas of weakness.
On Medify and Medentry, you can only practise one section of the UCAT at a time.
While you practise, you should be spending most of your time on your “weaker” areas rather than split your time equally between all areas. This information is easily visible on our online platform. We offer more filtering options than all other question banks. Let’s take VR for example; with Medify and Medentry, the only two options are:
• VR true, false, can’t tell
• VR Reading comprehension
When you practice VR on theMSAG hub, you can select to practice in a more granular way, following the official UCAT VR question types:
• According to passage
• Incomplete statements
• Except questions
• Most Likely questions
• True, False, Can’t tell
On Medify the granularity is lacking in most sections, with all QR questions lumped into 1 group for practice and all DM into only 2 groups. This means that Medify does not allow you to choose a specific type of QR question you want to practise and instead, it is always “random” QR practice, which is not as efficient in improving your results. Offering more targeted UCAT practice in the areas you need it most will lead to a better overall score.
The UCAT Consortium runs the exam on specially created software with a distinctive look and feel. In addition, test-takers need to get used to the on-screen calculator, which is vitally important for a high score in quantitative reasoning and decision making. It is important to use a question bank that has the same appearance and features as the real exam so that there are no surprises at the test centre on the day!
To give you an experience that is like the real exam, we have thought of:
• The question layout
• The colours, thickness of the banners
• Font and style of buttons
• Timer, flagging and review options
• Calculator with keyboard shortcuts
• All navigation with keyboard shortcuts
• UCAT, UCATSEN, UCATSENSA timings
• Scoring in UCAT scores and percentiles
When we compare our platform to the official UCAT exam and competitors, some differences become apparent. For example, overall, Medify gives the look and feel of the exam, but when you look at the details, you notice many discrepancies.
In the last season, some of the QR questions on Medify had large, handwritten graphs that required scrolling down to view, with odd proportions. Some DM conclusion drawing questions were presented as Multiple Choice Questions, with each statement on a separate slide. The official UCAT format for these questions requires dragging “Yes” and “No” labels to their appropriate boxes on one slide, so the Medify format did not line up with the official exam. Pictures of many graphs and diagrams are pixelated/poor quality and in AR, and images in every section were inconsistent sizes.
We use professional software for all our diagrams, shapes with standard size and strive to provide a professional, reliable context for your practice. We also recommend you practice on our platform using all the keyboard shortcuts to be one step ahead in gaining valuable time in the real exam.
While theMSAG founder Dr Jiva was advising applicants, many shared that they scored much higher on Medify UCAT mock exams than their final UCAT result. She discovered that subsections and question types on Medify were much easier than the real exam. That’s when she launched a 3-year project to create a better, more accurate UCAT resource.
We pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality UCAT practice material. As of 2021, all of our questions have gone through a rigorous research process to ensure that they match the formatting, difficulty and variety of the official UCAT.
We ensure the quality and accuracy of questions in our UCAT question bank by:
Selection- Our writers score in the top 10% of UCAT test-takers. This threshold score ensures that all writers are masters of their subject material. Also, they all teach on our UCAT courses or in 1-1 UCAT tutoring - ensuring that they are up-to-date with the latest teaching methods.
Shortlisting- Test results do not say everything about someone’s ability to write good questions. So on top of this initial selection, writers also go through a rigorous shortlisting process. They send us a sample of their work: multiple UCAT practice questions with detailed explanations. Two independent and experienced UCAT tutors assess the work for:
• Complete accuracy in spelling, grammar and formatting
• Concordance with the style of official questions
• An adequate level of difficulty
• The clarity in language and wording
• Creativity in the uniqueness of question
• Depth of understanding in methodology and strategy
• Ability to link a question to relevant teaching material
• Outstanding pedagogy in how to approach questions
Writing:Once hired, our UCAT authors write using our UCAT Author Guides.
These best practice guides have been created by our UCAT manager and updated for 2021, after months of detailed research. This research consisted of a detailed analysis of over 10 UCAT resources, focusing on the official UCAT, to assess what attributes make a question most like the real exam.
Each subsection has a guide that details the different question types, formatting style, how to write explanations and how to select appropriate topics (new and creative) to base questions off. This guidance goes into so much detail that it is no less than 250 pages long. These guides teach authors how to write questions that match the look, feel and difficulty level of the official UCAT.
Feedback:Before the testing stage, all questions are reviewed by a manager for each subsection. Managers are specially selected medical students and doctors with a high score and extensive experience teaching in that section of the UCAT. For example, our SJT manager has a Band 1 score, teaches the Situational Judgement section on our UCAT courses and tutors students one-on-one. Our UCAT manager trains them on how to review questions and give high-quality feedback to authors.
VR is the lowest scoring section of the UCAT on average.
In our question bank, we have carefully curated from a range of sources - book passages, different person tenses used, instruction based texts - for our VR passages to match the diversity of the real exam. We have included over 20 specific traps and tricks throughout, as identified by our analysis of real questions. The text’s difficulty level affects comprehension, reading speed, and pretty much all aspects that VR tests, so a lower difficulty text - like Wikipedia - is far too easy to be reliable preparation.
Checking over a hundred questions on Medify showed all of those passages were from Wikipedia. While Wikipedia can be a helpful resource, it was created to be an “easy” read… so it is no surprise that using Wikipedia passages to prepare VR does NOT prepare you for the difficulty and timing of real UCAT verbal reasoning passages.
DM is a relatively newer section of the UCAT introduced in 2017.
We have seen that probability questions pose a challenge for many students. Unlike other question banks that put all probability questions in one category, we have identified four subtypes of probability questions in the UCAT exam that we help you identify and approach. For example, tackling a question that tests your understanding of probability theory is very different from tackling a question that requires drawing a tree diagram to solve. We have identified 15 subtypes of Decision Making questions, question styles, difficulty level, and we make sure the question bank you use reflects a fair proportion of those found in official resources and UCAT practice tests.
QR is similar to DM in the sense that there are many question types within that section. Those that test percentages are by far the most common. We have seen in other question banks, including Medentry and Medify, that percentages are grouped into two categories:
• Percentage change
Through our long-term and thorough section analysis approach, we found six types of percentage questions that each have different methods to assist in identifying them and solving them quickly. You must know what question type you are looking at in order to be able to apply the suitable method and thus, solve the question quickly.
All the question banks we reviewed offer good variety and difficulty levels for AR. We do as well, but this is not where the difference is. Once someone tells you what a pattern is, it is pretty easy to see it. But the right question to ask yourself is, would you have seen it? How can you ensure that you will see it next time? We have emphasised our teaching method in the answer explanations for AR so that, for each question, we teach you the approach that would enable you to have seen the pattern, rather than just directly telling you what the pattern is.
With SJT, we have found again that most question banks have good quality passages and questions that reflect appropriateness and importance topics seen in the real exam. The difference we provide once more is in our explanation of how to eliminate answer choices and be sure you have the correct answer. Many students use their previous experience or “gut” to pick the correct answer in SJT, but that only works half the time. For a more reliable SJT score, knowing how to eliminate two answer choices fast and how to discriminate between the remaining two matters more than the number of questions you practice. If any of our explanations are not clear enough to you, just ask us, and a tutor will clarify this free of charge.
We want you to perform the best you can in the UCAT. We know the selection process to get into medical school is difficult. It takes a lot of resilience to apply to universities, work on your personal statement and get a top UCAT score. Be assured that we do our part in making sure you have access to top-quality preparation materials during your efforts.
Our question bank currently has 5,000 questions to help you practise as of early June 2021
Is that enough?
For the past 12 months, we have been analysing official UCAT questions, tricks, patterns, text style, wording and more to ensure that we pick up the subtleties and intricacies in how the UCAT exam is evolving.
Speaking to students right after they sat the exam last year, we learned that VR passages in the UCAT 2020 were wordier, more complex and of a greater variety in the style of writing. Students require a greater understanding of the passage to answer VR questions than before, and simply scanning for keywords is no longer sufficient. For the students we interviewed, there were no shape equations in DM and probability questions had distinctive features, to name only a few insights.
Using these insights on style, variety and difficulty for every section of the UCAT, we are steadily growing our UCAT question bank, maintaining quantity whilst not compromising on quality.
Our release schedule for 2021 looks like:
• 6,000 questions by the end of June 2021
• 8,000 questions by the end of July 2021
• 10,000 questions by the end of August 2021
However, there is more to choosing a question bank than the highest number of questions. What about the...
• Quality of the questions
• Quality of the explanations
• Learning material included
• Practice modes
• Software capabilities
Consider the above carefully and theMSAG UCAT question bank comes on top!
For most applicants, UCAT is only step one of a costly application process. When you think of UCAT, BMAT, GAMSAT, personal statement and interview prep, the costs can rack up fast. At theMSAG, we have a strong ethos of widening access to Medicine.
This is why we’ve made the deliberate choice to make our UCAT Question Bank the most affordable on the market.
Full Access until 15th October 2021 is £60 / AU$110
There are no hidden extras in our cost - the price grants you access to all UCAT questions, mock exams, our online course, our intuitive dashboard and free email help anytime you need it.
We also offer scholarships and financial aid to students and families who need it. If you think this would apply to you, please email us for support.
Comparing prices is always delicate as companies do not offer the same content for that price. One question bank may have more questions, while another has better functionality or learning material. The price also depends on the length of access. Still, to give you an idea, here are prices found on the official Medify and MedEntry Websites in March 2021.
Medify Pricing• Until mid-Aug 2021 - £125 / AU$ 250
For a student sitting UCAT Anz and needs access until Mid August, Medify UCAT question bank is 108% more expensive than theMSAG UCAT question bank.
For a student that is sitting UCAT and needs access until Mid October, Medify UCAT question bank is 150% more expensive than theMSAG UCAT question bank.
MedEntry Pricing• Until end July 2021 - Approx £164 / AUD $295
For a student sitting UCAT Anz and needs access until Mid August, MedEntry UCAT question bank is 168% more expensive than theMSAG UCAT question bank.
For a student that is sitting UCAT and needs access until Mid October, MedEntry UCAT question bank is 125% more expensive than theMSAG UCAT question bank.
If you are studying for the UCAT Anz, rest assured. Our UCAT question bank will show you your results in the UCAT Anz format with a quantitative number for the SJT section! If you buy the UCAT question bank from our Australian website, your access will automatically show this. If you purchased your access on our UK website, email us at email@example.com, and we can change your set-up to show your data as per the UCAT Anz
After hearing all about our Question Bank, why not sample our free practice questions and see yourself? You can try 200 free UCAT questions and a mini UCAT exam covering all five subtests here.