Tag Archives: UMAT

Easily Distracted during UMAT preparation?

The internet is a vast expanse of information. It’s where we go to find out the latest news about everything. The downside is it can distract us from studying for the UMAT.

During UMAT prep time you should be focused. You should try and use this time to simulate exam conditions you will face on the day.

Culling your distractions is not easy, but you can make the first move to use your time more wisely.

ColdTurkey

ColdTurkey is a great program for those who cannot resist visiting distracting websites during UMAT study time.

You can set ColdTurkey to block certain websites for you during certain hours of the day, allowing you to focus on UMAT preparation.

For example: if you are going to do a practice exam from 6pm – 9pm, you can set ColdTurkey to block distracting websites for those three hours.

Where to get ColdTurkey:

ColdTurkey can be downloaded here: http://getcoldturkey.com/

Other website blockers:

Facebook nanny for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/facebook-nanny/gkpjofmdbabecniidggbbicfbcmfafmk

A final Note:

Studying for the UMAT should be done with focus. Distractions on the internet can hinder your UMAT improvement. Use your time wisely to prepare for the UMAT!

Simplifying UMAT passages

The passages that you are required to read and understand in the UMAT can be long and dense. Absorbing enough information from the passages to answer the questions can be difficult and your brain will not be able to recall all the information that you read from a passage. However, passages can be broken down into simpler forms to help you better process and recall the passages when it comes to answering the questions.

Paraphrasing

Passages may be simplified using paraphrasing. This helps transform the big, complex paragraphs and passages into small bite-sized pieces of information. Good readers paraphrase as they read. This saves time and helps them to keep the ideas fresh in their mind when answering questions. To paraphrase, you may want to write summaries on the UMAT paper, underline key sentences that you feel capture the main ideas as simply as possible. It is important to be as concise as possible while doing this without losing the main ideas, otherwise this process won’t be very helpful.

Visual Aids

Using visual aids can also help in simplifying a passage. Visualising the subject matter of the passage can help keep your interest in the passage as well as helping you to retain the information. For a story or an extract from a novel, this is relatively easy as they are written to encourage visualisation. However, it can be more complex to do for an analytical piece or article. The best way to visualise for these passages can be to picture a particular aspect of the article. If it is an article discussing Van Gough’s work, picture his paintings or him. For an argumentative piece, try and picture the article as a battle with the author’s arguments battling against possible opposing arguments.

Don’t Oversimplify

However, whilst simplifying is important, do not oversimplify. Be wary of falling into a pattern by assuming that just because some questions have answers that lean a particular way doesn’t mean all questions will. For example, do not assume that all questions that relate to paragraphs about politics will have answers that are negative and critical. To always assume patterns in answers will be costly to your UMAT score. In addition, don’t oversimplify so much that you lose the central idea of the paragraph. Simplifying is meant to help you remember it, not push it aside.

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.

I don’t have time for the UMAT during year 12, should I do the GAMSAT instead?

A lot of people think because their final year of school is such a busy one, they should forget about doing the UMAT and focus on their studies instead. Some say, “Don’t worry if you are not sitting the UMAT, you can always just sit the GAMSAT during Uni and get into Medicine that way”. Whilst this is true, the graduate entry route is no doubt harder. You compete with a far wider range of test takers. The percentage of students who actually get into Graduate Medicine is also far lower than the UMAT percentage intake.

The decision to sit either the UMAT or GAMSAT is your choice. Below is a table comparing the Undergraduate and Graduate route into medicine to help you decide.

Undergraduate Route v Postgraduate Route

  Undergraduate entry into medicine – UMAT Graduate entry into medicine – GAMSAT
Total test duration 3 hours 6.5 hours
Test type Multiple choice Multiple choice and extended response
Essay questions None Yes
Assumed knowledge None Yes. You are expected to know about:           Humanities          Social sciences           Biology           Physics
Number of sections One section – all three types of questions are now mixed together Three separate sections
Constructs tested
  •  Logical reasoning and problem solving
  •  Understanding people
  • Non-verbal reasoning
  • Reasoning in humanities and social sciences (requires essay)
  • Written communication (requires essay)
  • Reasoning in biological and physical sciences (previous knowledge assumed)
When does the test take place? You can only sit the UMAT in you FINAL YEAR of secondary schooling or higher.  Students in year 11 or lower are NOT eligible to sit the UMAT even if they are undertaking year 12 subjects You can sit the GAMSAT if you have completed a bachelor degree, or will be in your second last year/final year of study in a bachelor degree at the time of sitting the GAMSAT
Criteria for entry Entry into undergraduate medicine has three usually equally weighted factors:

  • Your year 12 ATAR score (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) and;
  • Your UMAT score and;
  • Interview score or oral assessment
Entry into graduate medical and dental program is based on these three criteria:

  • WAM (Weighted Average Mark) or GPA (Grade Point Average) of bachelor degree and;
  • GAMSAT score and;
  • MMI (Multiple Interview Rounds)

These factors may not be equally weighted. Universities may differ in their weighting of performance on each criteria

Median age of test-takers UMAT – 18 years (Usually school-leavers) GAMSAT – 25 years (from a wide range of backgrounds, lawyers, engineers, scientists, accountants, etc)

 

So should I do the UMAT instead?

If you are still undecided, consider these points:

  • GAMSAT is almost twice the length of UMAT
  •  GAMSAT has both multiple choice questions AND essay writing. The UMAT is entirely multiple choice.
  •  UMAT has no assumed knowledge. (It is an aptitude test) The GAMSAT assumes previous knowledge in several areas of sciences. (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc)
  • In order to be able to sit the GAMSAT, you have to spend about 3 more years at University studying a Bachelor degree that may not help you in your medical career.
  • By sitting the UMAT, you can start studying what you want straight away. Year 12 is already stressful enough, the last thing you would want is to continue studying at that same pace to achieve a high GPA/WAM in your bachelor degree so you can have the chance to gain entry into graduate medicine.

 

 

Time management in the final year of school

The final year of school can be a tough year. If you want to do well and obtain entry into your chosen course, you have to put in the effort and work. On top of assessments and exams, there is also UMAT preparation. How do you fit it all in? We have tips for you below on how to optimise your time.

UMAT preparation is a subject

A lot of students find it a difficult task to manage all their subjects and do UMAT preparation as well. But the process can be made easier starting with a simple mindset change. Treat UMAT preparation as if it were one of your subjects. By thinking of the UMAT this way, you will be reminded to study for it regularly. This could mean doing UMAT revision every night. If you want to get into medicine or other health fields, you have to remember that your ATAR is not the only factor taken into account. The UMAT also plays a significant part. In fact, a good way to look at it is that the UMAT is a subject that has its exam earlier in the year!

Setting time limits

A good way to include UMAT preparation as a subject is to set a time for doing practise UMAT exams. Have certain weeks where you will do a practise exam – school holidays might be ideal. Spend some time before that week studying for it by attempting some drills and reading the section guides at your own pace. Not only does this strategy make you study for the UMAT, it also develops self-directed learning. Learning in universities is independent. Lecturers do not regularly remind you of up-coming assessments or help you stay on top of what you are learning – it is your responsibility.

Splitting your time

It is easy to lose track of time when all you are trying to do is get on top of assessments. This can lead to spending too much time on one subject but not enough on others. Therefore, it is a good idea to set a maximum limit on each subject. By having a maximum limit of about 4 hours per subject, you can fit more into one night’s worth of study time.

The ATAR

The ATAR is calculated by taking into account the scores of your top four subjects and 10% of your next two subjects. This means the maximum number of subjects that goes into calculating your ATAR is six. Depending on which state you live in, English may be a compulsory subject included in your top 4, as is the case in Victoria.

If you are studying more than 4 subjects, the following tips when applied together may help you divide an appropriate amount of time to each subject.

Scaling –

Some subjects are scaled higher than others. For VCE, Specialist Mathematics is scaled higher than Mathematical Methods (CAS). This means if you get the same study score for both subjects, when scaled, Specialist Mathematics will give you a higher study score.

It may be a good idea to focus on the subjects that are scaled higher.

Play to your strengths –

Playing to your strengths means focusing on the subjects required for your course. Some courses require a certain study score in order to be eligible. This means if you are doing a subject which you are not really good at, but it is required for your course, you should spend more time on it so that you can improve. You may be good at another, but it may have a low scaling or is non-compulsory. Therefore, it is a better idea to focus on the more “important” subjects.

A final word:

The final year of school passes very quickly, but at times it can feel like a drag. It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are just living from assessment to assessment. Whilst it is important you study for your assessments, you need to know what you are studying for.

Goals and Motivation

Set a goal to work towards throughout the year – this may be the course you wish to get into. It serves as motivation for all your studies. Whenever you get tired of studying for a subject or you are stressed, take a breath and remember that all this work you are putting in now goes towards achieving your goal.

Useful links:

http://umatpracticequestions.com.au/

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!

‘Gaming’ Psychometric Tests

You may think to yourself: what is the point of tests like the UMAT? Don’t they say you can’t prepare for them?

Psychometric tests like the UMAT are actually becoming very popular in the human resources industry. Employers use them as selection criteria when hiring an employee, particularly graduate jobs, just as the UMAT test is one of the selection criteria for entering Medicine at an undergraduate level. Simple personality tests are being used less and less as they assume that all aspects of an individual’s personality are fixed, however psychometric tests like the UMAT yield results that represent how an individual’s traits vary from situation to situation. It is another screening system to eliminate unsuitable candidates, by providing deeper information about their capabilities than the well-rehearsed spiel they provide in an interview or on their resume.

While the psychometric tests can be useful, they are not without their criticisms. Defenders of tests like the UMAT state that they can achieve negative outcomes if employers use the results in the wrong way – this is a common problem with the often complex result statements. Also, recruiters are sometimes unaware of the fact that the content being tested is irrelevant to the actual position available. However when the test is relevant and fair and the results are used correctly in conjunction with other information, for example an application/resume and an interview the probability of hiring a suitable person is dramatically increased.

People often claim to try to “game” psychometric tests. That is, they answer questions in a certain way because they know what the employer is looking for. Those who offer psychometric tests such as ACER state that you can’t prepare for the UMAT, however, there is some evidence that shows that practice or exposure to the types of questions that will be on the test can improve your results. While you don’t know the exact questions that will be asked, the types of questions that appear year after year are very similar and the methodology behind solving them is generally the same. This is why students or candidates are more commonly preparing for tests like the UMAT through preparation organisations in order to get the edge over their competitors so much so, that those who choose not to prepare are actually at a disadvantage.

Some of the reasons why ACER says you can’t prepare for UMAT are given here. It is interesting that while two sections of GAMSAT are similar to UMAT, ACER is quite silent about preparation for GAMSAT.