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[Undergrad] Pre-UMAT 2017 Discussion Thread

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LMG!

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This is a thread for general discussion related to UMAT 2017. If you have a specific question, or are looking for UMAT resources, there may be a more appropriate thread to investigate. This is for general chat, freak outs, questions, observations, support, encouragement, other.

Feel free to participate or lurk as much or as little as you'd like! And, for those of you wondering if the existence of this thread is a sign of my superior procrastination skills, the answer is yes, definitely!

Other helpful threads (including, but not limited to...)
Specific Question Discussions
UMAT Question Discussion | Med Students Online
Study Tips by Section
UMAT Section 1 Prep Discussion | Med Students Online
UMAT Section 2 Prep Discussion | Med Students Online
UMAT Section 3 Prep Discussion | Med Students Online
Wise Words of Wisdom
Oer's Advice to all | Med Students Online
Back-up Plan Discussions | Med Students Online
Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants | Med Students Online
 

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LMG!

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And now for the selfish nature of this thread to be made clear as I launch in with my own comments and questions!!

Firstly, an introduction: I'm a mature aged student who hasn't yet learned how to stop studying and has wanted to be a medical doctor for a very long time. I have sat UMAT once previously (last year) and achieved a result at the 92nd percentile. My aim is to land a 96 or better this year, to hopefully open doors at UTAS, but I am also intending to apply elsewhere (JMP, JCU, and UWS) for the first time.

I feel like I could get a 92 again without too much panicking, but given I want to make a minimum 4%ile jump, when I'm already at the pointy end, I have bitten the bullet and invested in a MedEntry distance package. I have very little experience with this (or any) prep material, and am wondering if anyone who has accessed MedEntry previously, AND sat UMAT previously, has any thoughts on the difficulty of the MedEntry questions, in comparison to the 'real thing'. So far, I've completed approximately 25 drills, and I feel like the questions are much harder (particularly the S1 questions) than I recall from UMAT 2016. And not only do they seem harder, there also seems to be many questions that have upwards of 5 or 6 related questions, so if you're not sure you've followed the main piece of information accurately, there's the possibility you're getting 6 questions incorrect, just like that.

Does anyone have any general feelings/experience comparing the two?
 

Dnnysn

Regular Member
Hey!
I'm glad this forum is still active, not many (that I know of around)
A lot of good information and resources here!

Might want to remove the company since I'm pretty sure discussing the courses is banned here?

I'm 27 and decided to study again and get into dentistry, I probably set over the top goals for myself, I'm getting 50 practice papers and plan to do them within 2 months. I've done 2 practice papers in the past two days after studying some patterns and techniques and my score went from 61% (82/134) to 74% (100/134) , though there were repeat questions (some with different answers from the previous years). I'm aiming to get a GPA 7, though only need 5.8.

I actually wanted to know how useful the drills are, I would love to try them but no company sells them standalone and I really don't want to pay a 300-800 for a few drills.
 

LMG!

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Might want to remove the company since I'm pretty sure discussing the courses is banned here?
This definitely used to be the case, but not anymore :)

With regard to the drills on MedEntry, I actually don't know how useful they are yet, and hopefully someone else can chime in with experience? As I mentioned above, I'm generally finding them much more difficult than I remember the actual UMAT being last year, but I have no idea whether my memories of UMAT have become rose-coloured over time and, actually, these drills are pretty similar, difficulty-wise (in which case, UH OH!). Perhaps the benefit comes with gains in processing speed and general 'test taking' experience, rather than the content specifically? I'd really like to do a research project on this! Haha.

@Dnnysn, have you attempted UMAT previously?
 

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Dnnysn

Regular Member
Ah, Well if thats the case I'd love some input too! First time taking it! The practice papers I did were from Matrix

Some people are selling drills but they aren't the best at communicating in a timely manner :/

I'm getting 50 past papers from various sources (Medentry, prepgenie, matrix and face2face) but I've heard the drills are quite helpful. Apparently they changed the Section 3 last year to include some never before seen type of questions.
 

LMG!

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I've heard of prepgenie, ME, and face2face (and NIE), but not Matrix, to be honest, so I can't comment at all on their materials.

If I recall correctly, some long-term MSO members have mentioned there are plenty of materials available 'on the internet' if you 'know where to find them' (make of that what you will ;)) if you'd rather not be splashing out cash for stuff you don't know is of any use. I'm too lazy for that, so just forked over the funds to ME.

If you're getting 50 past papers, and feel you'd be unlikely to get through all of them in full (ie. start to finish in 3 hours) between now and the exam, you might be able to use them to make your own drills? ie. go through and highlight or separate out no more than about 15 S1 (or S2 or S3) questions, then give yourself an approximate equivalent of time in which to complete them. Short and sharp. The ME drills I've done so far have all been around 15 questions in length and are divided into sections. They are then further divided into type (ie. S3, pick the middle) so you could do that, too, if you wanted, but that might not be necessary. You could probably divide a single exam into about 8-9 drills using this method.

I did UMAT in 2016 for the first time, so have nothing to compare it to to be able to comment on any changes that might have been made. Did you do it last year?
 

Dnnysn

Regular Member
Haha usually I'm very good with finding things online but I've struggled to find more than 5 full practice papers. I've found my achilles heel!

The Units I'm doing aren't very intensive, I can easily put aside 3 hours a day or two days, I've realised I struggle the most with Pick the Middle questions or What Comes Next questions that involve visualising angle changes, but I'm sure I'll learn mapping techniques/patterns eventually

I haven't done it before but in my research I found this, The course you got should cover it!
Changes to UMAT non-verbal reasoning (formerly Section 3)
 

Ri97

serial tea drinker
It's probably a good idea to contact anyone from this thread who's used the MedEntry drills, particularly @LBoG. I've also bought the MedEntry distance package trying to get a similar score as you aim to, however this would be my third time sitting the UMAT.
 

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LMG!

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I'd hesitate to 'cold-call' past commenters, as I'm sure many of them (@LBoG included) have much more important things to be doing than thinking about UMAT/prep courses, such as first year Med classes :) I thought I'd make this thread instead so that if any of them feel like they've got something to contribute, they can, but there's no pressure to do so. Plus, this way, it's all in one place for more than just one person to benefit from. Hope that makes sense.

Have you used MedEntry previously? What sort of scores have you achieved in earlier years? I'm worried that it's actually going to be very difficult to improve an already decent score into a great one. Eek!
 

Ri97

serial tea drinker
Well I've always thought that if I can 'cold-call' them, then they certainly have the right to 'cold-shoulder' me and I wouldn't take offence. In reality, sometimes people don't see every post here, while now its pretty mellow and those users can probably catch onto your thread it sometimes doesn't hurt to be a bit foward and ask for the help you think you need. Also it would suck missing the opportunity because you're so 'polite'. You can always share what they tell you here so others can benefit, given you have their permission to! Go get it!

I haven't used MedEntry before, I did a prep course last year and got an 80th percentile, but I was also studying full time and I can honestly say I could try harder. I wouldn't be worried. Looking at percentile curves, it gets steeper with increasing scores so it just means its easier to jump the last 4% you're after than go from a <40 to a 70. (at least that's what I think)
 

Dnnysn

Regular Member
Well I've always thought that if I can 'cold-call' them, then they certainly have the right to 'cold-shoulder' me and I wouldn't take offence. In reality, sometimes people don't see every post here, while now its pretty mellow and those users can probably catch onto your thread it sometimes doesn't hurt to be a bit foward and ask for the help you think you need. Also it would suck missing the opportunity because you're so 'polite'. You can always share what they tell you here so others can benefit, given you have their permission to! Go get it!

I haven't used MedEntry before, I did a prep course last year and got an 80th percentile, but I was also studying full time and I can honestly say I could try harder. I wouldn't be worried. Looking at percentile curves, it gets steeper with increasing scores so it just means its easier to jump the last 4% you're after than go from a <40 to a 70. (at least that's what I think)
Yes 100% no harm in trying! Although it won't let me message him/her or view his/her account :/ Good luck this year though!
 

A1

Admissions Speculator
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am wondering if anyone who has accessed MedEntry previously, AND sat UMAT previously, has any thoughts on the difficulty of the MedEntry questions, in comparison to the 'real thing'.
I have seen a few comments on BoS & Atarnotes, and quietly agreed with them, that the real test's difficulty level is generally between the ACER Prac 1 and the Medentry drills. Good in a way though since practising with harder questions will help you cope better with the real ones.
 

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LBoG

BMedSci/MD-JMP II UoN
Sorry everyone, didn't get any alerts when I was tagged in previous posts!

I agree with @A1 re: the difficulty of UMAT compared to MedEntry/ACER practice papers. However, by the time UMAT came around last year I was finishing full MedEntry practice exams with time (~30 minutes) to spare, and in the UMAT I finished the exam just as time was up (had one question that many think was a 'test' question that I spent the last few minutes trying to figure out before guessing the answer in the last few seconds). Conversely, I never did as well with any full length ME exams as I did in the UMAT - though ME is pretty clear on the more full length exams you do the more 'dedicated' the people you're compared to will be.

Sorry if none of that makes sense - feel free to ask for clarity.

As for drills vs full length, it's my totally personal opinion that full length practice exams are the true indicator of how you can perform in the UMAT, and that they are the most beneficial for those who understand the basics of each section (ie don't absolutely fail in any one section - in which case of course concentrate on that section for a long time).

You've all got a while to go until the exam. Depending how many practice exams you have available to you, aim to do at least one practice exam per week in the lead up to the UMAT once you feel confident/comfortable with all three sections.

Hope that helps. As @LMG pointed out I'm unfortunately finding myself extremely busy lately, but will be around to answer anything else when I can :)
 

LMG!

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I have seen a few comments on BoS & Atarnotes, and quietly agreed with them, that the real test's difficulty level is generally between the ACER Prac 1 and the Medentry drills. Good in a way though since practising with harder questions will help you cope better with the real ones.
Thanks, @A1. And yes, if they're harder, they're still very useful! But just wondering how disheartened I should become when I find one really hard! Haha! Thanks again for weighing in :)
 

LMG!

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Sorry everyone, didn't get any alerts when I was tagged in previous posts!
I don't get tag alerts either. Are we supposed to? Hmm.

Anyway, thank you so much for adding your 2 cents; very, very much appreciated. I haven't done any of the 10 exams yet. I intend to start those with approximately 12ish weeks to go so I can do one per week in the lead up. That's very useful information re. your completion times for ME exams and how this translated to the actual UMAT on the day. Did you feel the actual UMAT was more difficult? Or did you take more care? Or you're not sure? Obviously, there's the clear difference of online vs pen and paper to take into consideration, which could actually explain some of that time difference. Much faster to click a box than make sure you've got the correct option on the answer sheet, then colour it in. A useful heads up that it's necessary to take this into consideration when doing practice exams.

I have considered the fact that the ME information provided re. %iles are marked against other ME users, rather than the general UMAT population, so it makes sense that your overall %ile for UMAT ended up higher. But that's also good to have confirmed, even if just anecdotally in a single case. I'll take it!

You've all got a while to go until the exam. Depending how many practice exams you have available to you, aim to do at least one practice exam per week in the lead up to the UMAT once you feel confident/comfortable with all three sections.

Thank you heaps for taking the time to reply to this! I really need to catch up with you about your experiences so far and get the low down on what I might be getting myself into :D
 

LBoG

BMedSci/MD-JMP II UoN
That's very useful information re. your completion times for ME exams and how this translated to the actual UMAT on the day. Did you feel the actual UMAT was more difficult? Or did you take more care? Or you're not sure? Obviously, there's the clear difference of online vs pen and paper to take into consideration, which could actually explain some of that time difference. Much faster to click a box than make sure you've got the correct option on the answer sheet, then colour it in. A useful heads up that it's necessary to take this into consideration when doing practice exams.
You're right about the pencil and paper taking longer. Not to mention the occasional erasure of an answer box. Most likely I was also taking a bit more care, so it's a bit of both I'd guess.

I felt the UMAT was easier than the full length ME exams in general - and I felt this both times I sat the UMAT.

If you're able to complete the full length ME exams with time to spare and get a semi-decent percentile (I can't recall mine exactly but I'd wager in the 70-80th%iles - could be way off base though, sorry) then I'd say you're in a good position in terms of timing for the actual UMAT.
 

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Dnnysn

Regular Member
Hmm, Might get the distance package from Medentry for the drills then, I don't think the extra $400 for the Full package is worth getting personal help on the few questions I have issues with, plus with the drills it's probably better to over prepare than under prepare. Better to spend $400 now and be more prepared than take the UMAT again next year and pay extra + kill a year.

I'm not sure how some people who score perfectly on the practice do poorly in the actual test, did they just try and memorise the answers for the same prac paper or get lucky with guessing? I don't know *shrug*

Medentry is the course most people recommend right?

Thanks LBoG for Chiming in!
 

Ri97

serial tea drinker
Yes 100% no harm in trying! Although it won't let me message him/her or view his/her account :/ Good luck this year though!
Thank you! Good luck to you too!

As for drills vs full length, it's my totally personal opinion that full length practice exams are the true indicator of how you can perform in the UMAT, and that they are the most beneficial for those who understand the basics of each section (ie don't absolutely fail in any one section - in which case of course concentrate on that section for a long time).

You've all got a while to go until the exam. Depending how many practice exams you have available to you, aim to do at least one practice exam per week in the lead up to the UMAT once you feel confident/comfortable with all three sections.
Given that you said 'at least one' practice exam, how many were you doing in let's say, the last 6-8 weeks before UMAT? Also, how long did you spend reviewing your solutions and the worked ones from ME? Are 10 full exams sufficient to prepare myself, given I'm about 30% through with all the drills?

Thanks for the help!
 

LBoG

BMedSci/MD-JMP II UoN
Given that you said 'at least one' practice exam, how many were you doing in let's say, the last 6-8 weeks before UMAT? Also, how long did you spend reviewing your solutions and the worked ones from ME? Are 10 full exams sufficient to prepare myself, given I'm about 30% through with all the drills?

Thanks for the help!
I only did 6 full length ME exams total, and one ACER practice exam. I was aiming for an increase from 91st%ile (increase S1 from 57).

At the time I felt like I should have done more but it worked out for me.

Reviewing the worked solutions I did a little but not too much, just enough to sort of think 'oh I see the mistake/where I went wrong'.
 

Yooxs

New Member
I can share my experience here too, though mine is a little different.

I took the UMAT for three years before getting an offer. The first year I did it, I listened to ACER's suggestion that you can't/shouldn't study for the UMAT, which was awful advice in my experience. I barely squeezed out a 40%. I had always felt very strongly opposed to how monetized the UMAT seemed to be, and I thought it was downright unethical to be choosing candidates for medicine based on how much money and time they could spend on what was supposed to be a raw aptitude test. It was because of these feelings that in the second year I took it, I was only able to put my pride aside enough to purchase one extra practice exam from ACER. This time I studied though, I went through some of the practice material - I didn't actually finish it - and again, didn't do too well, but improved to a 60%. The third year I did it, I had learned my lesson, and had been in contact enough with students from the big city that taught me that most of the people doing well in the UMAT do a preparation course. I don't come from a wealthy background by any means, and I definitely didn't have enough money to pay for MedEntry. I waited until around a month before the UMAT and purchased a course on PrepGenie with a massive discount ($100 off).

I suppose since we can now discuss the courses, I can share my experience with PG. I thought it had everything I needed, and may be a good option for anyone out there looking to do a prep course but can't afford the more upmarket courses like ME. It didn't come with very much in the way of interview prep, and had no face to face workshops, but I wasn't interested in either of them, so it was good for me. It did have heaps of drills and they even shipped me physical full length practice papers. Regarding difficulty, I'd say it was either similar or ever-so-slightly-easier than the UMAT itself, but still great for learning time management. The difference in difficulty being mainly in S1 and S3.

More than anything I would highly recommend practicing. I practiced more every year I took the UMAT and my percentile increased 20% and 30% every time. I can't say the same will happen for others, but the practice will definitely help you get the most out of your own capabilities. Even just improving in time management skills will have a massive impact on your performance, and I highly recommend using physical full length papers for that.
 

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