Tackling the New Format

Tackling the new Format:

The 2013 UMAT exam is less than one month away! It is now halfway through the semester break for High school students, and students partaking in the UMAT exam should be well under way with their preparations. Students should be doing a mixture of practice exams as well as drills for specific constructs. A common question that gets asked is, how should we attempt the new UMAT format?  There are multiple ways you can now approach the new UMAT format. Two of those are discussed below:

Targeting certain constructs

A method students can use is doing the questions in order of their construct (eg doing 'Understanding People' type questions first). The 3 constructs each require a different mindset when attempting the questions. Switching or alternating your mindset between questions may tire you out and hinder your speed. While this method has an initial time cost when marking the questions (REMINDER you are NOT allowed to mark questions during reading time! That means you will have to mark the questions within the writing period), it has the benefit of the questions flowing much more smoothly. Another negative with this approach is that jumbling up the order you attempt the questions puts you at risk of marking down the answer for the wrong question.

Here’s how you would do it:

During the writing time, mark all the questions relating to 'Understanding People'. You would mark this construct because the questions will often be grouped up as they would relate to a certain passage. 'Non-Verbal Reasoning' style questions are easily distinguishable so marking them would be pointless.

Attempt the 'Understanding People' construct either first or last. 'Problem Solving and Logical Reasoning' is quite similar to 'Non-Verbal Reasoning' therefore it would be much smoother to do one after the other.

Allocate yourself a time limit for each construct leaving 10 minutes to spare to go over your answers / reserve time for any construct you did not finish. Allocate the construct you have the most trouble with the most time and the construct you find easiest the least amount of time.

This method requires much more practice to become efficient but theoretically, it should be the faster and more comprehensive method compared to the second one.

Doing the questions in order

This is the approach most students will take when doing the UMAT exam, especially those who have done little preparation. The most obvious benefit is that there is no upfront time cost compared to the above method and you are much less likely to mark the answer for the wrong question. With this method, rather than identifying the difficult constructs, you would try to find the questions you have the most trouble with and attempt them last. There isn’t much to say for this technique except that students who prefer this method should then try to attempt more practice exams. While drills are indeed helpful, don’t become too accustomed to knowing which construct the next question relates to. Also, utilise the reading time to identify the questions you will struggle with. Always try to leave time to go over your answer.