When preparing for the UCAT assessment, it can be useful to familiarise yourself with what it actually involves and what resources will be available to you. After all, the UCAT exam is very different to any other exams you may have completed in school. Consequently, it is understandable that you may have many questions surrounding the exam! One of the main aspects of the exam students wonder about is whether they are entitled to a calculator! After all, some of the maths questions in the decision making and quantitative reasoning sections can be quite tricky.
You are allowed to use a calculator in the UCAT assessment. However, this is only allowed during the second and third sections of the test. These are known as the decision making and quantitative reasoning sections. However, the calculator you are allowed to use is only available on the screen and provided by the examining board.
If you want to find out more about whether you are allowed to use a calculator in UCAT assessments and discover any tips for using it if this is the case, check out the rest of this article!
Table of Contents
What type of calculators are allowed in the UCAT assessments?
During your UCAT assessment, it is true that you are allowed to use a calculator for the decision making and quantitative reasoning sections of the exam. However, this calculator will probably not be like one you have ever come across before!
This is because it is an online calculator which pops up on a separate window to the exam, which is provided for you. There are a special set of rules you must follow in order to use the calculator properly.
Therefore, it is always suggested that you practice with the calculator before taking the real exam. After all, the UCAT exam is extremely important if you want to get into a medical or dental school!
However, you need to be aware that there are also other obstacles to getting accepted into a medicine or dentistry degree. For example, you may be interviewed. If you want to discover how to prepare for a medical school interview, check out this article from Think Student.
How do you use the calculator in the UCAT exam?
You may find the calculator a little tricky to use at first. However, the instructions from the UCAT website are very clear and you can find them easily if you click here.
As already mentioned, the calculator pops up on a separate screen to the assessment. To access it, all you have to do is click the icon found on the top left of the screen. You close the calculator down by clicking the ‘X’ in the top right corner.
You can operate the calculator by using the mouse or a number pad which is located on the keyboard – whatever you prefer! However, using the mouse can be time consuming and fiddlier than using the number pad.
It is essential that you check that the ‘Num Lock’ button is on if you want to use the number pad – otherwise it won’t work! If you want to clear the calculator, you must press the ON/C button.
There are also a couple of key operations that you need to know in order to use the UCAT calculator. For example, it is vital that you know the forward slash symbol is used for division and the asterisk is used for multiplication.
What are some tips for using the UCAT calculator?
Before taking the UCAT exam, it is essential that you learn how to actually use the UCAT calculator! After all, it can be quite fiddly, and it is very different to normal calculators. This will be a useful thing to do, as you will not want to be wasting any time during your UCAT exam!
When you are taking the exam, you need to make sure that you are not fully relying on the UCAT calculator. This is because it can’t do everything!
For example, it doesn’t have a square button. If a question requires you to square a value, you will just have to do this in your head.
You shouldn’t be using the calculator for every question in the exam, as many of the questions can be solved using mental arithmetic.
If you use the UCAT calculator for every question, this could just waste time! However, you can still use the UCAT calculator to your advantage.
The UCAT calculator does have a memory function, which you can use to save numbers and consequently save time during the exam!
All you need to do is click M+ to save a number and click MRC to recall a number. You can find out more about this and read about the tips in more detail on the Medic Portal website if you click here.
Is there an easier way to use the calculator in the UCAT exam?
As you probably know, the UCAT exam is very constrained for time. As a result, it can be easier for you if you learn quicker ways to navigate calculations during the exam.
There are a range of keyboard short cuts which can save you those precious minutes during the UCAT exam. For example, clicking the Alt + N button allows you to move onto the next question and the Alt + P button allows you to go back to the previous question.
If you want to open the UCAT calculator, all you have to do is click the Alt + C buttons. Keyboard shortcuts such as these can save so much time! If you want to discover more of these and understand why they are so useful, check out this article from The Medic Portal.
Regardless of these tips, the UCAT test is meant to be difficult. After all, it is used to select future doctors and dentists! It is challenging to get into any medical school.
However, if you want to discover the easiest medical schools to get into, based on admissions, check out this article from Think Student.
What are the issues with using calculators in the UCAT assessments?
You may think that having the option to use a calculator during the UCAT exam is a blessing and will help you pass with flying colours! However, the UCAT calculator provided to you isn’t perfect, as with most things. It is important that you understand why this is the case.
For starters, the UCAT calculator does not consider BODMAS. Instead, the UCAT calculator will complete calculations in the order that you type the different numbers and symbols in.
You need to be aware of this! Otherwise, you could end up with completely different numbers to what you think you actually calculated.
If you are interested in finding out more about the UCAT assessment, please check out this Think Student article.