Category Archives: About UMAT

Lowering UMAT exam anxiety

Lowering your UMAT exam anxiety

Let’s face it. From here on in, we will be surrounded by exams, the UMAT, end of year 12 exams, not to mention all the University exams looming not so far into the future. So with all these exams, it is important to develop techniques to reduce and deal with UMAT anxiety. Below are some helpful techniques to help you deal with anxiety in the lead up to the UMAT.

Set up a UMAT study group

Studying with others is an effective way of lowering UMAT anxiety. However, the people you choose to be in your study group influence how effectively the study group will function. Be wary of choosing your friends to be part of your UMAT study group as you may get easily distracted and lose sight of your purpose. Instead, choose people with similar goals and aspirations as you.

Plan a revision schedule for school and UMAT

Make sure you include all your extra-curricular activities such as work commitments. You also need to allocate time for re-revision and going over any areas of the UMAT exam that you are unsure of. The key part of making a revision schedule work is ensuring that the goals you hope to achieve are manageable and realistic.

Planning a UMAT study sessions with breaks

Set a goal for each UMAT study session. Breaking down revision into more manageable goals makes revising less overwhelming. Most people can only concentrate for 20 minutes. Once you fail to absorb any more information, it’s time for a break. Short frequent study periods with breaks helps retention and recall.

Also, half hour time slots are useful for quick revision. If it takes a half hour train trip to get to school in the morning, why not try to work through some UMAT questions you have been having difficulty with or memorising techniques that will be useful for answering certain types of UMAT questions.

Find out the exam details

This will make you feel more comfortable before actually sitting down to do the UMAT. If you learn the details before hand, you won’t be thrown on the day.

Find out what to do if you get stuck on a UMAT question.

If you get stuck on a question during the UMAT, your anxiety level will rise. Fortunately, the UMAT consists of multiple choice questions. If you get stuck, choose an answer, mark the question and move on. If you have time at the end, go back and try to work through the question again. If you run out of time, at least you have a 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 chance of getting the right answer. Don’t let being unsure throw you, the answer is there, you just have to deduce which one it is.

 

Interested in studying Medicine?

If you are, then you need to sit the UMAT. The UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admissions) test is required for entry into most undergraduate medical courses and health science courses.

The UMAT is not a test of knowledge. It tests your skills in three different areas: Logical reasoning and problem solving, understanding people and non-verbal reasoning. These three areas used to be divided into three separately timed sections and completed sequentially during the exam.

However, since last year, questions from the all three areas have been mixed together to form one large exam. This change actually makes the test harder, so it is even more important now to go into the UMAT with an effective test taking strategy.

Should you prepare for the UMAT?

Would you go into your end of year exams without preparing? Entrance into some universities usually have 3 equally weighted criteria: your UMAT score, ATAR score and performance in an interview. So your UMAT score actually plays a significant role as to whether you get into medicine. 

Even though the UMAT isn’t knowledge based, you can dramatically improve your scores by learning new thought processes and familiarising yourself with the types of questions. This will also lower your nervoursness on the day, because you have already encountered UMAT-styled questions. Many other students are treating UMAT preparation as another school subject, except it has an exam earlier in the year! You’ll be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t prepare yourself.

In fact, UMAT prep is even more important now with the new changes to UMAT. Speed reading, and learning how to decode patterns quickly are essential to doing well in the UMAT.

What is the UMAT?

Considering a career in medicine?

Then you need to know about the UMAT.

UMAT stands for Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test.

It is a three hour exam administered by ACER (The Australian Council for Educational Research), and it tests your ability in three areas:

*logical reasoning & problem solving

*understanding people, and

*non-verbal reasoning

Most Australian and New Zealand Universities use your UMAT score, together with your high school results and your performance at an interview, in their selection of students for medicine, dentistry and health science courses.

There is help available to students who want to get the best possible results in the UMAT. Online courses such as those offered by MedEntry can greatly assist your preparation for the UMAT.

Registrations for the July 2013 UMAT test are already open, so you had better get your skates on!

New: ACER changes to UMAT exam in 2013

In 2013 ACER have made some important changes to the UMAT format.
Whilst the type of questions will not change, the structure of the exam will.
Previously the exam consisted of:
Section 1 (Logical Reasoning & Problem Solving), 48 questions, 70 minutes
Section 2 (Understanding People), 44 questions, 55 minutes
Section 3 (Non-verbal Reasoning), 42 questions, 55 minutes
Now the exam no longer has separate timed divisions for each of Sections 1, 2 and 3.
A ten minute reading only time is given at the start of the test to check for printing accuracy etc.  The three test “constructs” as ACER now terms them, are mixed up throughout the three hour exam.
Students will still receive a score for each “construct” (previously “section”), however this year students’ scores will be reported as an aggregate, rather than an average.
Please click here for more information

Process of Elimination

(Consider this process when answering UMAT questions)

Most people look for the best answer and, in the process, end up falling for answer choices that are designed to look appealing but actually contain artfully concealed flaws. The part that looks good looks really good, and the little bit that’s wrong blends right into the background if you’re not reading carefully and critically. The “best” answer on a tricky question won’t necessarily sound very good at all. That’s why the question is difficult. But if you’re keenly attuned to crossing out those choices with identifiable flaws, you’ll be left with one that wasn’t appealing, but didn’t have anything wrong with it. And that’s the winner because it’s the “best” one of a group of flawed answers. If you can find a reason to cross off a choice, you’ve just improved your chances of getting the question right. So be aggressive about finding the flaws in answer choices that will allow you to eliminate them. At the same time, don’t eliminate choices that you don’t understand or that don’t have a distinct problem.

 

POE with “Could” and “Must”

Could Be True/Must Be False

POE strategy: Try to make the choice true; make an example.

For could be true and must be false EXCEPT:
If you can make the choice true, pick it.
If you can’t, eliminate it.

For must be false and could be true EXCEPT:
If you can make the choice true, eliminate it.
If you can’t, pick it.

 

Must Be True/Could Be False

POE strategy: Try to make the choice false; make a counterexample.

For must be true and could be false EXCEPT:
If you can make the choice false, eliminate it.
If you can’t, pick it

For could be false and must be true EXCEPT:
If you can make the choice false, pick it.
If you can’t, eliminate it.

Get ahead with your UMAT prep

Today the most efficient UMAT preparation companies are opting to provide students with online resources rather than the traditional, hard-copy materials. Preparation for the UMAT exam no-longer needs to be in a classroom because advances in technology make it possible for students to learn almost anywhere.

Now that distance learning is possible through smartphones, tablet computers and laptops, the time taken to master skills for UMAT can be significantly decreased and more time can be spent applying these skills to practice questions.

Online materials have been proven to be far superior to hard copy materials, which is why the best UMAT Preparation organisations are providing them. Through online learning students are able to easily interact with other student via forums, blogs, e-mail and chat. Products can be accessed immediately with thousands of pages of information being provided to students. This simply would not be possible without significant price rises if materials had to be distributed in hard copy to each student. Exams taken online can be marked instantly and students are able to receive instant and detailed feedback on their performance allowing students to compare their performance with their previous results. The online materials can be instantly updated if there are any important changes and students can have 24 hour support.

Cast aside traditional learning methods and get ahead today with revolutionary, 21st century UMAT preparation!

 

UMAT Success = Timing

To be successful in the UMAT, timing is just as important as anything else. You should aim to pace yourself throughout each section so that you finish the last question just before time runs out. If you finish early, not only would you have wasted valuable time twiddling your thumbs but you may also have ultimately sacrificed your precision for speed.

Students frequently argue that they wanted to finish early so they could check over their answers. Let’s be honest, it would be impossible in the remaining time to check through every one of your UMAT answers for that section thoroughly enough to alleviate any mistakes you made the first time around. If you made an error because you rushed the first time, then it is likely that by rushing through the second time you will make the same mistakes again. In order to minimise rushed errors, it is important to prepare leading up to UMAT 2013 so that you are familiar the type and style of questions you will be asked in the UMAT.

If it happens that you finish a UMAT section with time to spare and you decide to go over your answers, beware of second guessing yourself as this can be a mistake. Most often if you are unsure about a UMAT question you should stick to the answer that you first came to. If you begin to over-think and second guess your answers you may only confuse yourself more and you are more likely to change your answer and consequently may get it wrong.

Ultimately, if you do not pick up your mistake, just before you make it, while you make it or just after you make it, it is unlikely that you will pick it up later when you ‘check over your answers’. In general students will just end up flicking through the pages of the section and glance quickly at all of their answers before sitting back and waiting until everyone else finishes. This could have a real negative impact on your UMAT score.

UMAT Preparation is essential for allowing students to manage their time throughout each section of the UMAT as this is a pitfall for many student who sit the UMAT. Courses provide students with UMAT help not only regarding answering the questions but they approach the UMAT in a holistic manner, covering all facets of the test including things like timing and confidence. Many of the skills taught in UMAT courses are not only relevant for the UMAT, but for life in general. Have a look at the timing for each section on the UMAT and prepare accordingly to achieve UMAT success!

10 Tips for UMAT Success!

1. PREPARE! If you wanted to do well in a test, you wouldn’t walk in unprepared. The UMAT is no different, despite what ACER may say. Make sure you prepare appropriately for the test by exposing yourself to UMAT style questions that you are likely to receive on the day so that you can hone you logical reasoning and and problem solving skills as they are essential to scoring high on the UMAT.

2. UMAT Prep Courses – beware of the scams! There are many websites that claim to be UMAT prep organisations when they are actually scam websites. If you avoid these websites and go with a good quality UMAT preparation organisation, you are sure to get the quality preparation that you pay for so that you can practice your UMAT skills, gage your strengths and weaknesses and improve your ability to respond efficiently to questions in a timely manner.

3. Don’t leave your preparation to the last minute! The skills required to succeed in the UMAT cannot be learnt the night before. Make sure you don’t leave all your practice exams and questions to the last minute. If you practice consistently over a longer period of time the skills will consolidate and you will have time to improve in all areas as well as focusing on your weaknesses. If you are cramming the night before you will not be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and will most likely be wasting a whole heap of good value practice exams because you were ‘saving them for later’.

4. Speed Reading! It would be beneficial take a speed reading course as part of your UMAT preparation, particularly for sections 1 and 2. The whole of section 2 is based around comprehending large chunks of text, and in section 1 there are many questions which also involve reading a large text. You want to waste as little time as possible reading but you do not want to rush through it as you will not understand very much and you may have to go back over what you have already read. A speed reading course will help you increase your reading speed and your ability to understand and pick out the key ideas in the text whilst speed reading.

5. Be organised! Depending on the time you are allocated you may need to get up really early on the day of the UMAT and if not it is still important to be organised. Have all of the things you need (ie. pencils, admission ticket, correct identification, transportation) organised the night before (or earlier) so that you do not have to stress of worry about them on the morning. You don’t want to be printing out your ticket or searching for the correct pencils right before your exam. You want to be calm and collected going into the exam, not stressed and flustered.

6. Arrive Early! Make sure you organise to get to your designated UMAT testing centre by the designated reporting time on your admission ticket. Allow for any transportation mishaps (like missing your train or being stuck in traffic). Also, you may want to take a snack while you are lining up to go in. The lines are really long and you can’t take any food or drink other than bottled water into the test. If if the test has started and you are late you will not be allowed in (the UMAT begins once all of the pre-testing procedures – checking of Admission Tickets and identification have been completed).

7. Time management is key! One of the most daunting factors of the UMAT for candidates is the sheer amount of work that needs to be done in a short amount of time. This is where the preparation comes in. If you have practiced UMAT style questions you are likely to be faster and more efficient at answering the questions. If you feel you are spending too much time on a question, take an educated guess and move on so that you have time to come back to it at the end (do not leave it blank, because if you run out of time, you cannot go back and you will be left with an unanswered question).

8. Utilise your nervous energy! On the day of the UMAT it is healthy to be a little bit nervous. Psychological studies have shown that people perform poorly when they are not aroused or when they are too aroused. If you are extremely stressed you are likely to become easily confused and misinterpret questions. Without any anxiety you will not perform as actively as you would with slight arousal. If you have a little bit of nervous energy and you are able to harness it, your performance will be heightened and it will allow you too perform at your best level.

9. Have confidence in your abilities! If you go into the test with a negative mindset, expecting to perform poorly, this will be the case. You should go into the UMAT confident in all of your preparation with a ‘can do’ attitude in order to make the most of the UMAT and score as high as possible! A positive mindset may be a small factor, but it does contribute significantly to a person’s performance in any test.

10. Don’t try and think like the test writer! Be careful if you are trying to think like the test writer or assuming they are trying to trick you (even if they are). You could waste valuable time channelling the writer when you could be using that time to use the methods and logic you learnt and prepared in order to answer the question correctly. Beware of the endless “what do they think I will think?” cycle. You may end up completely confusing yourself and will gain no ground on selecting the right answer.

UMAT myths

1. “You cannot prepare for a test like the UMAT”

ACER does not support preparation because they say that the UMAT is not based on a particular body of knowledge and therefore no preparation or very minimal preparation is sufficient as the test  measures skills acquired over time. Most psychometric and personality tests –  like the UMAT rely on the fact that candidates do not prepare (ie. ‘an even playing field’), which is why preparation if often discouraged.

While the questions that arise in each year’s UMAT cannot be predicted. Most of the questions use similar methods or ‘tricks’ in order to solve them. This is where preparation can be very valuable. Any opportunity to practice the types of questions you will receive in the actual exam will help you become faster and more efficient at answering UMAT style questions – especially since you are under a time limit.

2. “I am a top student at school, so I will do well in the UMAT

ACER states that the UMAT tests “general skills and abilities developed over the course of your education and life experience”. In order to succeed in the UMAT candidates will need to employ strategies, critical thinking and logical analysis that are not used in any of their usual academic studies. Students need to practice these skills instead of resting on their laurels.

3. “The UMAT doesn’t matter; it’s not that important”

The UMAT does matter, however its significance is often underestimated by many students. The UMAT accounts for a whole third of the selection criteria for entry into Medicine or Health Science courses (next to the ATAR and the interview) and determines whether or not students receive an interview offer. Without top UMAT scores, students will not be considered for most undergraduate Medicine and health science courses in Australia and New Zealand.

4. “UMAT refers to medical and scientific concepts and terms”

The UMAT has no required knowledge (unlike the GAMSAT). Subjects studied at school or University will not help you with the UMAT unless they involve critical thinking or logical reasoning as this will help you enhance your skills. The UMAT bases their questions on everyday examples and it is the interpretation and analysis that is important, not the content.

5. “Universities will know if I do a preparation course, it might jeopardise my position”

The only way that a University will know if you did a preparation course is if you tell them yourself. Good quality preparation courses will have their student’s records protected under privacy policies and laws.

6. “Universities will know if I do interview training, it might affect my score”

The only way that and interviewer will know that you have done an interview preparation course is if you spill out the same generic answers that students are told to say at all interview training courses. The purpose of an interview training course is not to provide you with a script to follow in an interview, rather they provide you with the tools to help you not only answer questions originally and efficiently, but to also express yourself in a clear manner and to present yourself well.