How many hours per week should I spend on UCAT prep?

The first thing to remember is that the number of hours you put in doesn’t directly correlate to success. What’s more important is how you use that time—whether you’re using it to apply the right question-solving techniques and fix your procrastination points and mistakes to improve your accuracy and speed. The more efficient your prep, the less the total time you’ll need to spend on UCAT study. (For more advice on how to properly prepare for the UCAT, check out this article.)

That being said, there is still a threshold for the minimum amount of time you need to spend on prep to be adequately prepared. But of course, everyone has a different schedule, meaning that the number of hours they’ll reasonably be able to commit per week (while still having a life) could be vastly different.

Our general recommendation is that during the term, you should spend at least two 2.5-hour slots per week (e.g. two afternoons on the weekend) or three 1–1.5-hour slots per week on UCAT study. During the holidays, you should do as much as you absolutely can: think 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon and 1 hour in the evening. The more you can get done during the holidays, the less you’ll need to do during the school year.

To put this in context: in past years, most top-tier students who study efficiently for the UCAT took around 250– 300 hours to completely finish their prep, as discussed in this article. (In comparison, plenty of non-iCanMed students spend over 1000 hours on preparation because they’re using wrong and inefficient methods, and still only end up getting a score around the 50th percentile… which, again, is why efficient prep is so critical). So when you think about it, the number of hours you need to do per week really depends on how early you start prep.

The later you start, the more hours you’ll need to do per week in order to get everything done in time. (If you start 1 month before the exam, you’ll need to do around 62–75 hours per week to be test-ready in time for your exam—an impossible task, especially with schoolwork and important mid-year tests!!)

The absolute best way for you to reduce your weekly UCAT study time is to focus on getting most of your prep done during the summer holidays. By completing most of your UCAT preparation during the holidays, your workload during the school year will be a lot lighter, and you can become proficient at the UCAT before Term 1 even starts—this is an amazing advantage to have over the competition, both in terms of your mastery of the UCAT and your ability to put more time and effort into your ATAR.

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ucat guide 2022