Can I study for UMAT?

Yes.

Although some people will claim that you cannot study for UMAT, there is no question that you will perform better on the day if you prepare. While the test is purportedly designed to evaluate skills and qualities that you certainly will not be able to change overnight, with regular practice using a variety of the kinds of questions you are likely to encounter in UMAT you will improve your ability to answer them correctly and in shorter periods of time.

If you prepare yourself, you will become more confident with the style of questions encountered in UMAT and will be considerably less agitated than the guy next to you pulling his hair out 5 minutes in. Pressure to perform on the day can make a huge difference, and there is (unsurprisingly) strong scientific evidence that people are more likely to perform skills well under pressure if they are well-practiced and confident in them.

Can I show up and do well with no study?

Maybe.

But you can be certain that you could also improve upon your score by preparing for UMAT. Would you show up to any other test without having studied for it? Let alone what is probably your most important test of the year (and possibly of your academic career!)

What are the preparation courses like?

They cost a lot generally. Some are upwards of hundreds of dollars for a course that lasts a few days/week.

But, at the end of the day many who have taken them will argue that by having completed a preparation course they achieved a higher score. While it is possible that there is just a correlation between those who take the course and those who do well in UMAT (without the course having had any effect) we suspect it is a mix of both:

1) There are more brighter-than-average people taking the preparation courses.
2) There is, in fact, a small (but possibly significant) improvement in their scores.

Every bit does count. Although the courses are often very costly, because you are spending time preparing, they are almost guaranteed to have some positive effect on your score. But so could (potentially) the same amount of private study.

I don’t want to do/can’t afford a preparation course

You’re in the same boat that most people are in. This does not mean that you should not prepare yourself. Take it upon yourself to learn absolutely everything you can about UMAT.

A lot of people show up without having done ANY preparation!

Read on...