August 24, 2014 by Emedica
Starting to work with the UKCATprep.com team was great – everyone was funny and friendly and made me feel welcome. I enjoyed learning about the exam, getting used to the question formats, proofreading material and editing the website. I learned how everyone took their tea. I had even begun to write a few tentative new style Verbal Reasoning questions.
There was just one dark cloud looming on the horizon…taking the actual UKCAT exam! Yes, everyone on the team, everyone in the office, all of us take the UKCAT every single year, I was told. No escape! My co-trainee and I booked a date together at our nearest Pearson Vue centre and had a mere week to prepare.
I printed off the paperwork/receipt that Pearson Vue emailed me straightaway so I couldn’t forget it on the day. Then I wrote a quick checklist, just because lists rule my world:
- Print off receipt (tick)
- Check centre’s location online so there would be no chance of getting lost
- Check it again and decide to take a taxi
- Book taxi in advance
- Put receipt and passport in my bag the night before
I used the UKCATprep.com site to revise of course, but in hindsight I should have also spent time on basic maths skills like calculating percentages and averages quickly. Coming from a language and literature background, I knew this would be my weakest area, but some advanced maths students can have problems with the Quantative Reasoning section as well, as they have moved far beyond the simpler skills tested in the exam.
Abstract Reasoning was my next weakest area, and I was glad to be able to practice the different question styles that could come up in the exam.
The night before my UKCAT I went through my checklist again and then tried to relax – last minute revision can make me a little panicky…
My co-worker and I shared a taxi to the test centre together and we made sure to be very early! I’m glad we did, as we had to register and then stow our belongings in lockers. Then, clutching only our passports and locker keys attached to wooden spoons (cute idea) we separated to have our photos taken. After that I went to the test room, where the official there checked my ID again, had me roll my sleeves up to show my arms to the elbow and also checked my ears….yes my ears! I wear a headscarf and so had to prove that I didn’t have anything like headphones lurking under it.
I was given some snazzy pink ear plugs (which I never used, but I actually would have liked to keep…) and some laminated sheets to take notes on. Only then was I allowed into the room, two walls of which were windows. Walking past all the people taking their driving theory tests, I sat down and kicked off my trainers – I had to get comfy!
Verbal Reasoning I felt well prepared for, although I ended up rushing through the last few questions. Yes, I wished revised for Quantative Reasoning more. Abstract Reasoning I felt prepared for and fairly confident about. Decision Analysis burned! It was harder than I expected – I should have practised more with tight time constraints. Here was where I found the laminated note sheets handy. Situation Judgement I felt I could relax a little with as I have generally found this section comes easily to me. (My results reflected this!)
All too quickly, each section finished and I was flung headfirst into the next. I took my colleague Anna’s advice and stood up to stretch between each section as I felt it helped prepare me mentally for what was to come.
Then it was time for me to emerge, blinking, get my stuff out of my locker and retrieve the print out of my results from the front desk.
Verbal Reasoning – 650
Quantative Reasoning – 590
Abstract Reasoning – 650
Decision Analysis – 610
Situation Judgement – Band 1
Please don’t judge me harshly guys, a month or two before I hadn’t even heard of UKCAT! Next year I will be brushing up on my maths and it seems I need help with Decision Analysis too…
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