UCAT Revision Timetables: Making a UCAT Preparation Plan

When starting your UCAT preparation, you’ll likely have some questions; when should I start, how should I start, what do I need? This guide will get you off to the perfect start for your UCAT preparation, no matter when you decide to start!

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The UCAT is designed to test a variety of cognitive abilities in a rather general sense (plus Situational Awareness), but thinking skills aren’t something you can traditionally revise. You may be thinking that it is therefore that there’s not much to do to prepare for the UCAT, but that is far from the truth. Preparing for the UCAT is important for many reasons as you’re going to need to do well to stand a chance at attending the majority of medical schools in the UK. But how can you effectively prepare for the UCAT? It all starts in the planning phase…

It’s tempting to dive straight into mock exams or practice questions without any thought and it’s equally tempting to begin all this just a couple of weeks before your test date. But unstructured and undisciplined preparation is always a gamble; for every person who can succeed through their own pure skill, there are plenty of other unprepared people who will be completely out of their depth. The answer to avoiding this is simple, you just need to plan out your preparation.  

We have created a collection of downloadable Free UCAT Preparation Timetables to help you organise your preparation! Just click the button below to gain access.

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Why Create a UCAT Preparation Plan?

Like many important things in life, you’re going to need to plan for the UCAT in order to be the most efficient and have the best chance of success. With your future career potentially depending on this exam, it’s difficult to justify leaving if to a chance. Creating a preparation plan is a job that will take you a couple of days at the most and will benefit you in all of these different ways: 

These benefits are universal to everyone who needs to prepare for the UCAT, so there’s really no reason not to take some time to plan everything out. However, different people learn in different ways and have different requirements. One of the biggest things you will need to consider is how long you prepare.

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6med offers everything you could possibly need to train yourself for UCAT success, with tonnes of resources included in the UCAT Bundle!



Create the perfect UCAT preparation plan with 6med.

6med offers everything you could possibly need to train yourself for UCAT success, with tonnes of resources included in the UCAT Bundle!

If you want to smash the UCAT, then this bundle is the one for you…

How Long Should You Prepare For The UCAT?

The UCAT is only a two-hour-long exam and requires no subject knowledge, so you may initially think that preparing for this test could be done in a couple of weeks. However, once we have a greater understanding of the UCAT we can see that there is more to it than we thought. The exam is only two hours, but you’re going to need to get through over 200 questions across five subtests in that time. You’re going to need to optimise a variety of thinking skills which cannot be revised in a traditional sense, so rigorous practice is essential. There will be tonnes of exam techniques to learn and implement throughout each part of the exam, so getting yourself in the correct mindset to achieve all of this can take some work. 

The official UCAT website provides some input into the matter with the following quote: 

“It’s best to start at least 4-6 weeks before your test date…”

That seems fairly definitive, doesn’t it? Four to six weeks is definitely a great time to start preparations for many applicants sitting the UCAT (including the hypothetical “average applicant”. But it’s not the only answer to this question though. There are multiple factors to consider, including the fact that there are many dates available for UCAT testing. The UCAT is available to sit on most days between late July and Late September which means your preparation time could look very different depending on when you choose to take it. 

If you’re sitting the exam early in the testing cycle, you will be doing the majority of your preparation alongside your regular school work (if you are attending school or college at this time). Your study time will therefore be much more limited and you will have more academic distractions. 

If you’re sitting the exam between mid-August and early September, your preparation will primarily be taking place during the summer holidays. Hypothetically, you will have much more free time to spend studying, but life can very easily get in the way. Plus, you will already be beginning preparations for the rest of your application if you’re sensible (open days are a must at this stage!) 

If you’re sitting the exam within the last few weeks of the testing cycle, you will be trying to prepare during the busiest time of the year for your application. You’ll be choosing your universities, writing your personal statement and potentially preparing for the BMAT, all of which is due the next month. Plus, you’ll be back in school at this point, so your UCAT prep can very easily get sidelined. 

So assuming you’re studying for six weeks, there are pros and cons to each testing period. But you do have the option to spend more time preparing (as well as less time but we’ll discuss that later!). 

Preparing for the UCAT primarily comes down to working through practice questions and mock papers, as there’s no subject knowledge to revise. This is a task that can be done in very small doses when given a long amount of time to prepare and in many cases, may actually be a much more effective way of cementing the knowledge in your mind when compared to a few weeks of in-depth practice. Not to mention, causally going through UCAT practice questions can be pretty fun if you enjoy puzzles and problem-solving.

This is a process that you can start at any point in the year, it really is never too early! As an example though, let’s say that you start looking at the UCAT three months ahead of your testing date. That will give you more than enough time to research the exam, learn exam techniques, practice 1,000s of questions and test your skills with numerous mock exams in time for the real thing. For most of this time, you’ll also be able to work at a more relaxed pace of one hour per day (with two days off per week). You’ll want to increase things a bit in the last month, but overall you will be able to prepare effectively with plenty of spare time for relaxation and other tasks. Remember that the UCAT is important but not your only priority. 

What if we go in the opposite direction though? Six weeks may be too much time for any number of reasons. You may be naturally skilled at what the UCAT is testing or may physically not have the time available to begin your studies over a month in advance. This isn’t an ideal situation to be in but it is still possible to create a somewhat effective preparation schedule for the UCAT. We would say that three weeks is the absolute minimum amount of time you can give yourself to study, and those three weeks will be filled with long hours and hard study. There aren’t any cases where we would actually recommend this style of preparation, but it’s important to understand that some people may be able to create an effective preparation strategy at this time. 

With that being said, each of these three strategies has its own unique pros and cons: 


With all this in mind, let’s dive deeper into each three of the revision strategies by creating three separate revision timetables. These will provide options for what you should be doing at each point in time so that you can develop your own preparation timetable. None of these timetables are definitive schedules that you have to follow, but instead offer a guideline for how you can structure your own prep time. 

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3 Month UCAT Preparation Plan

Starting with the longest of the three, let’s see how you can use three full months to perfect your UCAT skills and ensure you get the score you need!

Month 1

As you start off your preparation, the UCAT will probably feel like a million years away. While it’s definitely going to come much quicker than you think, you aren’t going to be revising too intensely for the next month or so. The aim of this month is to ensure you are aware of everything to do with the UCAT and have begun to get to grips with the question types in the exam. There are a variety of things you should do this month though: 

UCAT Research

The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you understand everything you can about the UCAT. Some of the information may not seem relevant, but understanding more about the exam could make you more competitive in some cases. Some important topics to research include: 

This stage shouldn’t take more than a week or so if you’re pacing yourself. Each of these topics will help you in some way, whether by providing more understanding of the questions, showing you the results you should be aiming for or ensuring you are fully registered and able to get to your testing centre. You can find guides explaining this information online, including 6med’s own collection of Free UCAT Resources which cover everything listed above!

UCAT Resources

In order to prepare, you’re of course going to need UCAT resources to prepare with. While a lot of this is going to involve practice questions and mock papers, there’s a lot more available than just this. When preparing for the UCAT, consider investing in these available options to boost your preparation plan: 

With all of these resources combined, you’ll be able to create the most effective preparation plan imaginable! Luckily, all of these resources are available via 6med, with most being included in the amazing UCAT Bundle!

Early UCAT Practice

Once you’ve got everything in place, it’s time to start practising. At this point in the schedule, you can start things fairly casually as there’s still a lot of time to prepare. Have a go in your chosen UCAT question bank and see how to handle each of the five question types. Now’s not the time to be worrying about acing every question or doing things within the time limit; all you need to worry about is understanding how each question works and how they are solved (worked solutions are ideal for this). 

At this early stage, you should also try out a mock exam. Again, you don’t need to aim for a good UCAT score here, it’s all about getting an honest assessment of your abilities. You’re likely not going to do too well on your first try, whether it’s because you didn’t answer all the questions in time, skipped a bunch that you couldn’t solve or just didn’t get that many correct. There’s no need to be concerned about this because the next two months are going to be all about improving this performance. With such a long preparation timeline, you’re granted the luxury to play around with the papers and get accustomed to how they work. Use this time wisely and everything else will come easily. 

TLDR; Research the exam, gather your preparation resources and become acquainted with the format of the questions through practice papers and a casual mock exam. 

Month 2

Now you’ve had a month to ease yourself into the UCAT mindset, it’s time to go deeper into your practice. You’re going to need to take your practice questions more seriously to try and reach a more desirable stage by the end of the month, and you may wish to go further into the theory behind the UCAT. 

You’ve still got plenty of time at this point, so you should be fine to spend one hour per day working on the UCAT (typically for five days per week). As you start to improve your exam technique, we would recommend using each hour-long session to work through a mock version of a specific sub-test in the UCAT. For example, set yourself 50 minutes to complete 44 Verbal Reasoning questions. This should be pretty easy, so give yourself 40 minutes next week and then 30 minutes after that. You will have no more than 30 minutes per section in the UCAT (specific timings and question quantities change from year to year), so get yourself in a position where you can complete all or most of the questions within the previous year’s exam timings.

Bear in mind that many applicants aren’t able to answer every single question in the final exam. However, the test is designed that way to a certain extent. The number of questions and time limits are purposely tight so that only the most talented applicants answer everything, but getting through most of them will still give you a very good chance of success. The UCAT isn’t about perfection (it’s almost impossible to score full marks), so aim for a position that you feel confident with, monitoring your UCAT scores as you go. 

UCAT Courses

The middle of your preparation timeline is the perfect time to take part in some more intensive preparation outside of practice questions. One of the most effective ways to do this is through UCAT courses, whether it’s a live course or an online course. There are benefits and drawbacks to each, so be sure to check out our guide to the best UCAT Courses if you need help making that decision. The universal benefits to them though are that you will learn tonnes of tips and tricks on how to tackle UCAT questions and improve your timings. 

UCAT Mock Papers

By the halfway point of your preparation, you should also take on your first proper mock exam. Whether or not you’re feeling confident in your abilities at this point, it’s still worth doing as it will act as a benchmark for your progress. If you do poorly, then your job will be to see where you went wrong and what you need to work on. If you did well, then you can analyse both your strengths and weaknesses to help focus your remaining preparation. This mock exam should, of course, be taken under strict exam conditions (which can be simulated easily with UCAT.Ninja for free), as you need to see how you would perform in the real thing. No matter the result, don’t be disheartened as you still have a month and a half to get yourself where you want to be. Towards the end of the month, you should repeat the process and see how much you have developed. 

TLDR; Begin working through more practice questions, aiming to improve your timings and match exam standards. Also be sure to take a mock exam and try out a UCAT course. 

Month 3

This is your final month of preparation, which is still a good amount of time to solve any issues you may be having with your performance. This month will start off as normal really, although you may find it beneficial to have longer study sessions some days (around two hours). Now is also the time to take regular mock exams in order to fine-tune your performance. 

We would recommend trying two exams per week for the first few weeks of the month. Aim to take one at the beginning of the week and one at the end, so that you have the middle of the week to work on your weaknesses and a chance to review your progress at the end. This process should help you build up your skills right up until the last week.

The Final Week

For the final week of your preparation, you’re going to need to ensure you are fully comfortable with your position. We would recommend taking three or four mock exams during this week to get the best estimate of how you will perform in the actual test. Give yourself time in between to practice your weak areas some more, but ensure you don’t overwork yourself either. If you’ve been preparing for nearly three-month, you most likely shouldn’t be at a point where you need to panic about anything. But if you are, it may be more beneficial to take a step back and clear your head as the issues may not be coming from your abilities but from your mental state. This is a stressful week, so it’s easy to let the worry get the better of you. 

Downtime will play an important part this week no matter where your progress is. You’re very close to the testing day and your nerves are likely building up as it approaches. The best way to combat this is to save some time for yourself and do something that can help you relax or stay stimulated. The UCAT is important but you won’t be able to meet your full potential if you’re feeling too tired, anxious or unwell to perform properly. 

Other than that though, there’s not really much to consider. Your score isn’t set in stone, but the final mock exam you take will be your most accurate estimate of how you will perform on the day, so don’t overwork yourself trying to make that score better at the last minute. 

TLDR; Start taking regular mock exams each week and go all out on your final seven days. Make sure you have enough downtime though as you need to preserve your mental health. 

Three months of preparation may be perfect for you or may feel extremely drawn out depending on how you prefer to learn. Let’s next look at the 6 Week Preparation Timeline!

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6 Week UCAT Preparation Plan

This plan gives you less than half the preparation time as the previous one, but it’s the one that is officially recommended by UCAT themselves. The key is to progress quicker and allocate your time more efficiently, which we will learn how to do by breaking things down week by week: 

Week 1

Similar to the first month of the 3-Month Plan, this week will be dedicated to a variety of tasks. You’ll first need to go through the research process of both the exam and the available resources. We would suggest spending a couple of days at most on this as your time is much more limited. Some online UCAT Guides are designed to be quick and easy reads, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get through them in an afternoon or two. Once you’ve gathered your resources (including a versatile question bank) it’s time to get to know the questions and paper! 

Once again this first week should be a bit more casual as you’re just trying to understand how each question type is answered. Work your way through a mock paper in order to get a sense of how it all flows. Don’t worry about time limits but be sure to calculate your score at the end, this will be your first benchmark and will show you how far you’ve progressed at the end of your journey. 

TLDR; Don’t worry about serious practice yet. Just gather your resources, learn about the exam and spend some time with the questions. 

Week 2

This is the time to properly dive into your practice questions. Aim to work at the standards of previous UCAT exams, but be sure to give yourself some wiggle room. You’re not going to be able to achieve a perfect score or answer everything within the necessary time limit just yet, but aim to get as close as you can.

At the end of the week, it will be time for your first proper mock exam. Again, the results of this exam probably won’t be great, but you’ll give yourself a realistic view of your exam performance and you’ll be able to use this to influence the rest of your development. Remember to keep track of all your results from this point, it’s the best way to ensure you’re improving.

TLDR; It’s time to get serious about your practice questions, so aim for the exam time limits and keep track of your scores, capping the week off with a full mock exam. 

Week 3

Really, this week should play out similarly to the previous one, with practice questions dominating your time. You should be getting a clearer and clearer view of where your strengths and weaknesses lie, so you should then be able to work on the area that will improve your score.  Once again, you’ll need to sit a mock exam at the end of the week to monitor your progress.

TLDR; This week will play out pretty similarly to Week 2, so ensure your keep up the hard work!

Week 4

By Week 4, you should have a very good understanding of your UCAT abilities and where you need to put the most work in. This week would be the perfect time to attend a UCAT course as it will help you improve the areas you’re struggling with and learn some new exam tips to shave time off of your mock papers. A live course would be a more efficient use of time as it will cover pretty much everything you need to know in a single day. 

Other than that though, it’s a case of continuing with your practice questions and mock exams for the rest of the week. Look back on your first result when compared to what you’re achieving now and you should find a very noticeable difference

TLDR; Power through your prep and compare your results to when you started. Also, consider attending a UCAT course to learn some new tips and boost your skills.

Week 5

This is the penultimate week of preparation, so it’s time to start ensuring you’re at a stage where you would be happy with your final result. You need to ensure that you are following full exam conditions whenever you practice as there’s no point doing inaccurate practice at this point. The point of practice isn’t to ensure that you can answer every question but to ensure you can get enough questions correct within the time limit of the exam. The UCAT is as much about your ability to manage time and prioritise tasks as it is about getting the questions correct, so you need to ensure you are practising all of these skills to stand the best chance in the exam. 

We would suggest sitting at least two mock exams this week, one at the beginning and one at the end. Mock exams are the best way to monitor your progress and estimate your chances of success, so working through more of them will give you more measurements to work with. As always, extra prep time should be used on practice questions and tutorials, prioritising your weakest sections. 

TLDR; Sit at least two mock exams this week and ensure you’re being as strict as possible with yourself when it comes to your practice. 

Week 6

As you start to wrap up your UCAT preparation, you should now regularly test yourself with mock exams. We would suggest taking at least three this week, as you need to confirm your performance and ensure you’re at the place you want to be results-wise. The last mock exam you take will be the most accurate estimate of how well you will perform in the actual test, so taking regular tests beforehand will give you the chance to see your progression at a macro level. Even if you’re improving by a few points at a time, this is progress that will help you in the long run as you overtake more and more of your competition with each rise. 

However, you shouldn’t overwork yourself this week. As long as you’ve been preparing effectively these last five weeks, you should be in a fairly comfortable position now. Any further progress is simply about further strengthening your abilities as you should already be in a more than acceptable position. However, you’re not going to be performing at the top of your game if you are too tired or stressed to work effectively in the exam. This will most likely be caused by last minute crunch in your studies, which is why it’s so important to put the work in over these six weeks.

Schedule plenty of downtime between your mock exams and revision to recharge and maintain your mental health. This is especially true for the day before your test date, where you may even want to consider taking the full day off. You could do a few practice questions for good measure, but try to take the rest of the day off to do something you enjoy and something that will help you relax.

If you’re not at a stage where you feel comfortable with your position, there’s still some hope for improvement. You need to clarify this position early in the week, which means you may need to be realistic, and perhaps a bit brutal with yourself.

If your score isn’t good enough after five weeks of preparation, you’re going to need to put the hours in from now until the testing day (without burning out of course). If you haven’t already, attend a full-day UCAT course and be sure to ask plenty of questions to the tutor running it. Their advice could give you a whole new outlook on the exam that may benefit your results. Also, make sure you’re not falling for any common UCAT mistakes.

For an even more personalised and in-depth experience, you could seek to invest in some 1-1 tuition. In these sessions, your expert tutor will get an in-depth view of why you’re struggling and will be able to guide you in the right direction with their own personal knowledge and experiences. As long as you’re willing to listen to others with more experience, you should find that you will work more efficiently and effectively.

TLDR; Double down on mock exams to estimate your chances of success, but also save plenty of time to relax and get yourself in the right headspace. If you’re still struggling, seek personalised advice from experts to improve your approach to the exam. 

So you can see now that even with a significantly shorter amount of time, you’ll still be able to achieve just as much if you put the work in. But what if we reduced our available preparation time even further?

3 Week UCAT Preparation Plan

It’s important to clarify that this is not a strategy that we would recommend anyone chooses for themselves. Instead, this timeline is for those who, for whatever reason, have found themselves in a position where they do not have more time to prepare. Three weeks is the absolute minimum amount of time that we believe an effective plan can be built upon. It’s possible to begin preparations later than this, but you will either be unable to complete everything you need to in time or you will overwork yourself and lose all motivation and energy. Three weeks isn’t ideal, but it can work in some cases: 

Week 1

Unlike the other two plans, you’re going to need to get started quickly here as there’s a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time. You’re still going to need to do a bit of research into the exam and you’ll want to get some revision materials (you shouldn’t spend more than a day or two sorting this). You may not have time to utilise every type of revision material, but a good question bank is essential. 

You won’t have the time to ease yourself into your preparation, so you’ll need to move quickly. You may wish to try out some practice questions or you may want to go straight into a mock exam. By doing this, you’ll immediately have a baseline for your performance and an idea of where you need to improve. If you’ve already got a good sense of how to perform well in a certain section, you’ll need to de-prioritise your practice for it (don’t neglect it entirely though. By the end of the week, you should have completed at least one mock exam and have a good understanding of each of the five sub-tests. 

TLDR; After some quick research, you’ll need to start practising straight away with questions and at least one mock exam to judge your current abilities. 

Week 2

As the exam gets closer, you need to look back on the previous week and determine exactly how you can best improve your performance. This could be by practising a certain question type, learning better exam techniques or speeding up your work to answer more questions in the allotted time. Whatever you do, you will need to spend at least two hours a day working on it. Your aim at the end of this week is to achieve a score that you would be comfortable with if you got it in the real exam.

You should seek to complete at least two mock papers this week, one at the beginning and the end. At the end of the week, you need to have an honest assessment of where you are and how happy you are with your current scores. If you are getting good results or feel comfortable that you are close to what you want to achieve, then the following week will be about cementing this result. But if you’re not happy with where you are, this next week is going to require a lot more hard work. 

TLDR; Focus on monitoring your progress and working on your weakest areas, with mock exams at either end of the week to determine how well you’re doing. Use this information to determine what you will do next week. 

Week 3

It’s already just one week until the exam, so this week is vital to ensuring you’re ready to take it on. We would suggest sitting at least one mock exam per day for most of this week as it will give you the most authentic view of how you will perform on the big day, as well as give you plenty of opportunities to practice. Although you should avoid working beyond your means, you’re not going to have the option to take a day or two off this week to recharge. Even if you’re performing at a level you’re happy with, you still need to work to maintain that position and ensure your real exam will go just as well, if not better. 

When the week begins, if you don’t feel that you’re in a good position, some options are available to quickly boost your skills. Similarly to the 6-Week Preparation Plan, we would strongly recommend getting an expert’s perspective through a live UCAT course or 1-1 Tuition. Although these will require a larger monetary and time investment, the skills and advice that you will gain from them will give you a much greater advantage and really increase your chances of success. Bear in mind though that these aren’t easy, automatic solutions, you will still need to put the work in to ensure you absorb and utilise the things you learn. All the support in the world won’t help you very much if you are unmotivated or unwilling to make the effort and ensure your own success. 

By the time you’ve taken your final mock exam a day or two before the testing day, you will have done just about everything you can to prepare. The result that you get on that last mock is, as we’ve said many times, the best indication of your actual UCAT score. Things could always change when you’re sitting in that exam hall (for better or for worse), but you need to trust what your practice is telling you. If it’s good, then good! If it’s not good, you may need to reconsider your options. Remember that the BMAT is always sat later in the year, so a bad UCAT score doesn’t spell the end of your application. Make sure you understand why things went wrong though, as a new strategy could see you finding success in the end (as long as you remember to plan your preparation in advance!)!

TLDR; Recognise where you currently are and assess if you need additional support from UCAT experts. Aim to sit one practice test every day to boost your score and get a higher estimate for your actual result. 

Remember, these plans are just guidelines and do not have to be taken as fact. Different requirements mean that some of the things listed here won’t be possible for you, which absolutely does not ruin your chances of success. The important thing is that you’re achieving scores that you’re comfortable with and believe will get you the offer at your chosen universities. 

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You can use our three UCAT timetables to create a truly effective preparation plan. Just enter your email address to have the three timetables sent straight to your inbox!

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Last Minute uCAT Tips

Although it’s something to be avoided, last-minute revision panic revision can sometimes be unavoidable if life gets in the way. You may still have a chance of success if you’re willing to put the work in, so let’s take a look at some tips to help ease this stress:

UCAT Testing Day

Everything has been leading up to this day, but it’s not all about the exam. There are plenty of other things to do from sorting out logistics to mentally preparing yourself. These tips should help you through this stressful period:

It’s easy to forget that all of this preparation is for just a two-hour exam and it may begin to feel excessive the more you dig into it. But at the end of the day, the UCAT is an essential part of almost any UK medical school application, so you need to be confident in your abilities before walking into the test centre. Support is always available no matter what stage of the preparation journey you are in, so be sure to explore 6med’s wide range of UCAT support offerings. The UCAT Bundle is especially great for any applicant, as it covers all bases when it comes to your preparation effectively and conveniently!

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Create the perfect UCAT preparation plan with 6med.

Prepare yourself for the UCAT with comprehensive resources, an expert preparation course and full access to UCAT.Ninja, available as soon as you sign up.



Create the perfect UCAT preparation plan with 6med.

6med offers everything you could possibly need to train yourself for UCAT success, with tonnes of resources included in the UCAT Bundle!

If you want to smash the UCAT, then this bundle is the one for you…

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