Dissecting the UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Subtest

Michael, THE MEDIC BLOG

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The Quantitative Reasoning subtest is the third section of the UCAT.  It includes 36 questions and is scored out of 900. In this article, we will look at the subtest in more detail.

What to Expect

You will be presented with 36 questions, many of the questions are connected to the same data (or stimulus), whilst some questions are standalone. Students are required to solve problems by extracting relevant information from tables, charts and graphs. A simple on-screen calculator is available for use in this section.  You may also need to use the whiteboards and pen provided.

Question types

Questions cover a broad range of topics covered at GCSE level. Some of the most common topics that come up every year include:

  • Percentages (appears every year)
  • Fractions and Decimals (appears every year)
  • Ratio and  Proportions (appears every year)
  • Averages (appears every year)
  • Speed, Distance and Time (appears every year)
  • Direct and inverse proportions (appears every year)
  • Unit Conversions (appears every year)
  • Scale and Geometry (appears every year)
  • Problem-solving  with tabular data (appears every year)
  • Problem-solving with charts or graphical data (appears every year)

Inconsistent topics that can be tested:

  • Time calculations (converting from one unit to another)
  • Basic Algebra (no algebra questions but can be applied to save a lot of time)

Skills & Reasoning tested

Questions in quantitative reasoning subtest can come in any form, thus making it difficult to pinpoint the skills and reasoning required. I recommend when reviewing a QR question, identify the topic and type of calculations required to solve it. Though not exhaustive, here are some common topics and calculations that are tested every year:

Percentage calculations

  • Finding a percentage
  • Percentage change
  • Reverse calculations
  • Making comparisons
  • Real-world applications (income tax, discounts, interests, etc.)

Fractions and Decimals calculations

  • Adding or subtraction
  • Multiplying fraction
  • Converting to a percentage
  • Reducing fractions

Averages calculations

  • Calculating the mean
  • Combining data sample
  • Predictive use of data

Unit Conversions calculations

  • Converting between units of time
  • Converting between units of length
  • Converting between units of speed
  • Converting between currencies

*For more calculations and in-depth explanations as well as how to apply exam theory to improve your UCAT score grab a copy of the UCAT self-study coach.

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