Archive for April, 2013

UMAT 2013 Changes

April 30, 2013

The National Institute of Education for UMAT preparation aims to keep students informed of any news and changes to the UMAT that we become aware of as the UMAT date approaches.

Also, as always NIE aims to provide the highest quality of preparation resources and communication with teachers and students. This is evident in NIE’s unique approach of providing hardcopy books and resources, as well as 7 days a week 12 hours a day online UMAT chat support with our expert UMAT advice representatives, available via to all teachers, students and parents. A lot of prospective UMAT candidates are already using our free UMAT live chat support line. Come online and say hello to us too 🙂

Important Dates

The registration line for the UMAT 2013 is already open. The deadline for UMAT registration is 5.00 pm, 7th of June 2013. Late registrations will incur a $65 penalty and this option will close on the 21st of June at 5.00 pm. The UMAT date is 31st of July.

UMAT Changes for 2013

Unlike last year, this year there are no extra questions, nor there will be any extra time added to the test. However, there is one major change, and this change is reflected in the Book 8 UMAT NIE 2013 Practice Tests and Book 7 UMAT NIE Update Pack, which are both available from

In all previous years, there were always 3 separate sections in the UMAT, where students had to finish each section in a particular given time. Students were not allowed to go back to the previous section past the allocated time. The styles of questions for UMAT 2013 are still the same, covering logical reasoning, understanding people and non-verbal reasoning skills. However, questions are no longer divided into three timed sections. UMAT 2013 will be a 3 hour test consisting of 134 questions, the test is NO LONGER divided into sections and there are no rest breaks. Students can answer questions in any order they want.

In our understanding this can work both ways, to the students’ advantage, as well as disadvantage. Students can spend a little extra time on the areas of the test that they are confident in, and hopefully score extra marks by answering more questions correctly. However, students need to be very careful as to how they are spending their time by going through the questions that are difficult or unfamiliar to them. Naturally, when students find a particular question difficult, they tend to spend more time in attempting to solve it, but is this the right test-taking strategy for the UMAT? With this new timing structure, where the time constraints for each section have been removed, students will need to be extra careful with how they spend their time answering questions and ensure that they do not leave too many questions unanswered. Once again, we cannot stress enough, that with so many thousands of students sitting the test, every extra question answered correctly can make a very big difference at the end. Students need to practice their test-taking skills and follow through with developed strategies during the actual test.

UMAT and Negative Marking

April 30, 2013

Please note the following, as stated in the 2013 ACER Information Booklet.

All questions have the same value; therefore, by attempting as many questions as possible, you stand the best chance of maximising your score.

No marks are deducted for a wrong answer.

If you mark more than one answer to a question, it will be considered wrong.

Answers should be marked directly onto the answer sheet, not in the test book.

You may do rough work in the margins of your test book. Scrap paper is not allowed.

What does NIE think about the above ACER info?

Yes, there has been a lot of confusion when it comes to UMAT and negative marking. According to AECR, you will NOT have 1 mark deducted per incorrect answer choice. In saying that, it does not mean that it is a 50/50 chance that ACER might be using a formula to rank the scores where some negative marking scheme is applied to standardise thousands of UMAT candidate scores. Once again, ACER keeps the information as to how they mark the test confidential, and no one knows how it is done, so we cannot conclude if there is negative marking or not. However! Negative marking does not mean that for every incorrect answer you will have one mark deducted from your final score.

Understanding People UMAT Construct (section 2) ‘Quick Tip’

April 30, 2013

Whenever you are watching a movie, or reading a book, in scenarios where deep emotion is experienced, ask yourself how individual characters feel in each situation, and what is the emotion overall in that situation. How do emotions change? Section 2 is all about being able to interpret the emotions, rather than simply read the literature.

Even watching the daily news is good, and asking yourself the same questions, but try to use the UMAT jargon. Examine the meaning of empathy, sympathy, jealousy, envy, compassion, concern, etc. in those situations. Finally ask yourself, how do you feel towards the characters in the given situation? Are you feeling sympathetic, or maybe empathetic? It is important to develop understanding of what such words mean, as often these terms can be confused and used incorrectly when attempting the UMAT.

Practice reading newspaper articles, health journals, TIMES magazine within say 1 minute – 2 minutes initially – close your book and verbalise the key points without looking.

When is the best time to start preparing for the UMAT?

April 30, 2013

If you are in year 10 or 11 and studying for UMAT – well done! You are in much better competitive position than those who started preparation later. Take it easy and develop yourself a steady study routine, where you don’t over-study and become tired of it. Because you will have ups and downs with the preparation, it can get difficult to stay motivated when there is no one to push you. The main advice is not to spend too much time on understanding the content of the questions when you are looking as to where you went wrong, but rather, try to see where your thought process went wrong and understand the strategy of test techniques, rather than understanding the concepts of the stimulus material. Because in the actual UMAT, as you know, you will never have an identical question to what you attempted through practice, but questions similar in their testing style. The biggest mistake students can do is to get stuck on trying to understand a certain question for an entire day, as someone else will just skip it move on and do another 20 questions that day.

UMAT ACER Practice Tests

April 30, 2013

You will be provided with a free UMAT practice ACER booklet upon your registration for the UMAT 2013. You can also buy extra practice booklets from their website.

NIE advice:

Do attempt ACER practice questions to ensure that you are not leaving anything to chance.

However, things that ACER does not tell you:

ACER booklets do not have explanations to the questions, just answers (A, B, C, D…), which proves useless if you are trying to use these test for study purposes.
UMAT is a physical book test, and from this year, ACER practice questions are online. Hence, practicing their questions makes it a very different experience to what UMAT will be like in real life (especially section 3 requires you to make notes about the puzzles on paper, which is not possible to do when questions are on the computer screen)

ACER practice questions are the same questions that were used 10 years ago. Even then students used to say that ACER booklets were much easier than the real UMAT. Ten years on, the UMAT difficulty level grew immensely, but it seems like ACER did not bother to change the difficulty of their practice question, so please, be cautious about this.

Choosing the Best UMAT Preparation Course

April 30, 2013

It is very important that students do their research before looking at any UMAT preparation courses. How long a particular organisation has been preparing students for UMAT, what preparation materials they use and where do these materials come from? What teaching qualifications the organisation has? These are probably the most important questions students and their parents should be looking at.