Tag Archives: UMAT study

Effective Learning in the UMAT

Learning is not just about sitting in front of a text book and hoping the content will diffuse into your mind through osmosis. In order to learn effectively, you must learn actively, not passively. Active learning will allow you to engage with what you are learning and absorb it faster. New study strategies will also be introduced in this article so you can in-corporate them into your UMAT study. This will give your UMAT study sessions a direction and allow you to set goals.

What is active learning?

Active learning is all about engaging with what you are learning and how you absorb the knowledge. Learning is most effective when you assimilate new knowledge with old knowledge you already have. For example, if you just learnt something new about clouds, you may connect it to what you already know about clouds. Other strategies include converting what you just learnt into pictures or diagrams, or even explaining the new concept to others. These strategies allow you to use the new knowledge, and in turn, absorb it better.

Passive learners tend to just read the new content and try to remember it without connecting it to anything they already know. They may not even apply the new knowledge to a practice problem.

A good analogy to represent active learners and passive learners is in learning to use a toaster. An active learner, after purchasing the toaster will use it in their home, they will assimilate the appliance with the appliances they already have at home. A passive learner, on the other hand, will just watch people make toast and assume they know how to make toast.

The Key to Effective learning in the UMAT:

Effective learning is being aware of what you know about what you know. To learn effectively, you must learn actively. This may be learning there may be gaps in your knowledge, or knowing what you are good it.

Instead of just trying to learn skills for the UMAT, you can try a few of these study strategies below to try and enhance what you just learnt. These study strategies allow self-awareness during learning.

Effective study strategies:

  • I draw pictures or diagrams to help me understand the UMAT questions.
  • After learning about a new UMAT concept, I like to make up questions and answer them using the new concept.
  • When I am learning something new in the UMAT, I like to think back to what I already know about it.
  • I discuss what I am studying in the UMAT with others.
  • I practice UMAT drills over and over until I know the strategies well.
  • I think about my thinking to check if I understand the ideas.
  • When I don’t understand something in the UMAT, I like to go back over it again.
  • I make a note of things that I didn’t understand very well in a UMAT drill or practice exam, so that I can follow up on them at a later date.
  • When I have finished a UMAT drill or practice exam, I look back to see how well I did.
  • I organize my time to manage my UMAT study.
  • I make plans for how to do a UMAT drill or practice exam.

Plan before you study:

Before you start a study session, ask yourself the following questions. They will give you an aim to work towards and note down anything important for future learning.

  • What is your goal for today’s UMAT study session?
  • What will be the important ideas in today’s study session?
  • What do you already know about this topic?

Reflect after you study:

After a study session, it is always useful to reflect on what you have learnt to help your mind consolidate new knowledge. It also helps in finding questions to ask before your next session.

  • What can you relate today’s knowledge to?
  • What will you do to remember the key strategies?
  • Is there anything about this topic that you don’t understand or are not clear about?

Final note:

Using these strategies may make studying for the UMAT more engaging and allow you to learn UMAT concepts better. If you don’t already utilize any of the above techniques, it may be a good idea to start with just a few to see if there is a difference in whether you remember new knowledge better.



UMAT stress – friend or foe?


How do I get rid of test stress?


While familiarity with test content is undoubtedly helpful, sometimes just doing practise exams is not going to make the stress go away. Some common causes of test stress include: anxiety, lack of confidence, being distracted and pressure to do well.


The truth is you are going to be stressed on the day of the UMAT, but that is not all bad news. A little bit of stress can actually be beneficial to your performance.


Consider the Yerkes-Dodson Curve:

We perform best when there is a moderate amount of stress placed on us. It allows us to think rationally, and actually enjoy what we are doing. On either side of that we have under-stimulation and over-stimulation, where negative emotions and general dissatisfaction take over. Don’t think of the UMAT as a draining experience, after all, it is part of the journey to achieving your dream career.

Whilst this “optimum performance zone” may be different for everyone, we all have one and it is through practise and developing certain test tactics that allows you to find the zone where you are both calm and alert.

Knowing vs Performing:

Knowing and performing is not the same thing. “Knowing” is how well you understand the content. “Performing” is what you do with what you know. No doubt by the time you do the UMAT, you will know a lot of skills. But the real question that remains is how well you perform – that is, how well you utilise what you know.

Keeping Calm:

Your performance on the day hangs significantly on how your mindset is.

You can be the nervous person who only thinks about failing or you can approach each question on the UMAT calmly. Don’t let external factors you can’t control affect you – the ticking clock, questions presented to you on the page, the weather, etc. Stress is caused by an individual’s interpretation of the events around them. In other words, you create the stress for yourself.

A good question to ask yourself is: “what am I doing to myself that is making me feel so stressed out?” . This is the first step to recognising that you are causing yourself stress so you can identify the factors and fix them.

Common stress reactions:

Knowing what some common stress reactions are can help you identify how you react to stressful situations, like the UMAT.

  • Physically tense
  • Thinking negative thoughts
  • Being continually distracted

When you are physically tense, your body is agitated so you can’t think clearly.

Negative thinking can be the killer to the confidence boost that you need during demanding times like the UMAT. When you say you are not good enough, you are not supporting yourself. During the UMAT, your mind needs encouraging messages, rather than messages of failure. When you think negative thoughts – it is like giving up on yourself! In fact, these negative messages can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, if you think you are not going to do well and you keep insisting on it question after question, you probably are not going to do well on the UMAT!

Don’t let yourself let you down. 

When you get distracted during the UMAT, your mind cannot properly focus on the questions. This is decreasing your level of performance.

What now?

There is still time to mentally prepare yourself so you can get into that “optimal zone” where are you are alert and calm during the UMAT. When doing practise exams, try to sit in a way that relaxes your muscles so you are not physically tense. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, give yourself some encouragement. It does not have to be “bring it on! I am so good at this”. They can just be little things like, “I’ve done this before, so I know the method.” Finally, stay focused. Ignore other things happening in the room. Rather than worry about time ticking away, or other questions, just focus on the question you are working right now.

A final word:

Remember, stress is going to be there during the UMAT no matter what, but if you remember to keep calm, focused and confident. You can at least make your UMAT experience a good one.