Tag Archives: UMAT question structure

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!

Inside the minds of the UMAT test writers

The general aim of multiple choice tests is to gain truthful information about what students have learnt. The UMAT is slightly different as it tests an individual’s generic skills rather than specific content (as multiple choice tests usually do), however, the process by which test writers create psychometric tests such as the UMAT is very similar to the processes for creating any other multiple choice test. Writing a multiple choice test is much harder than it seems. For every question that is ultimately published there would have been many questions and drafts that were written, trialled and rejected, prior to arriving at the final question that is issued as part of the test. ACER states that “all test questions must pass detailed panelling, trial testing, analysis and final review.” This scrutiny ensures that all of the questions on the test are relevant, fair and reliable, enabling truthful results to be attained.

The following are the two most basic and fundamental elements to writing an effective multiple choice test: Firstly, test writers eliminate any barriers that could potentially prevent a knowledgeable candidate from responding correctly.  Secondly, they will discard any clues that could assist a ‘less-than-knowledgeable’ candidate from correctly answering the question. This means that those who have not practiced or did not learn the skill should answer incorrectly.

The vocabulary used (other than terms you are expected to know) in multiple choice tests is generally kept simple (except in the case of Section 2 of UMAT which uses complex emotion vocab) and is usually high school level – sometimes a little higher. Therefore, if you are finding it quite difficult to understand the vocabulary throughout your preparation and practice tests, it is something you should work on before sitting the actual test.

Testers will not ask questions that can be answered using your common knowledge. You should always refer to and draw from any information or content provided in the question or the material you have learnt in order to answer the questions.

When creating the answer options, test writers will aim to keep all options at relatively similar lengths because it is likely that a longer option is the correct answer due to a more lengthy explanation. Beware of this, because longer options make great distracters. Distracters are options that are extremely close to being correct and aim to put a little bit of doubt in the candidate’s mind when they think they have the correct answer. Often you will be able to eliminate options until you are left tossing up between the correct answer and the distracter. This highlights the importance of using the process of elimination to eliminate all incorrect answers first. If you need to make an educated guess, the chance of selecting the correct answer then becomes much higher. Test writers will also avoid using the same words in the stem and the correct answer as it is often an obvious clue to the solution. This can work both ways, as associations between the question stem and the answer can act as great distracters.

You should beware of trying to think like the examiner or assume that they are trying to trick you. While they are often trying to trick you, it could waste valuable time you could use to answer the questions and it could also cause great confusion, not to mention the endless cycle of ‘what do they think I will think?’ Trying to anticipate the moves of a test writer can be quite dangerous and it is generally best to just focus on answering the questions using the information you know or through your own logical reasoning and  UMAT practice that you have done. Nevertheless, you can always look out for some of the small things mentioned above when preparing for or sitting a test like the UMAT.