Complete Breakdown of the UCAT questions in Each Subtest

UCAT questions

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As part of the preparation strategy in the UCAT study guide (2nd edition coming out summer 2019) identifying your weakest areas is a key step. However, this can be challenging due to the spectrum of questions one can expect in the exam. In this article we provide a break down of the UCAT questions in each subtest.

Verbal Reasoning

The UCAT verbal reasoning section tests your ability to evaluate information in written form. You’ll be asked to read through 11 passages and answer questions about the conclusions that you can make. For some items you’ll need to answer either ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘can’t tell’, and for others you’ll need to select which of the statements presented is true or false based on the information in the passage.

There are two types of questions in the verbal reasoning section. The first group are statements where you have to decide whether, according to the passage, the statement is true, false or whether you cannot tell. The Second group are multiple-choice questions where you are tasked to determine which statement is most likely to be true. I personally found the second group of questions harder, try to figure out which of the two question-types you struggle with the most. I remember when I was preparing for the verbal reasoning section I spent more time practising the second group of questions. The second group of verbal questions include the following:

  • Incomplete Statements
  • According To The Passage
  • Except Question
  • Most Likely
  • Inference
  • Writer Questions

With each question-type you are required to pick the best or most suitable option.

Quantitative Reasoning

The quantitative Reasoning section tests your ability to use numerical skills to solve numerical problems.  It requires you to formulate and solve numerical problems by selecting data in a variety of ways. You must answer 36 items in 25 minutes that’s about 30 seconds per item.

Questions in the quantitative reasoning can come in any form, they are usually in diagrams in schematics . You are required to solve problems by extracting relevant information from tables and other numerical presentations. For each item, you may be presented with four items that relate to that table, chart or graph. For each item, there are five answer options to choose from. Your task is to choose the best option. Overall these questions are only GCSE-grade mathematics, and typically include the following operations:

  • Basic Arithmetic
  • Proportionality
  • Percentage and Percentage changes
  • fractions and decimals
  • Ratios
  • Speed, Distance and Time
  • Money, Income Tax, VAT, Tariffs & Exchanges
  • Geometry: Area and Volume
  • Population densities
  • Averages and ranges: Means, Median and Mode
  • Schedules and Time
  • Rates

Abstract Reasoning

According to the official site ‘This section assesses how you infer relationships from patterns of abstract shapes’.  Usually, examiners may include irrelevant and distracting shapes to mislead you into selecting the wrong answer. Therefore, the subtest measures your ability to change, track, critically evaluate and generate hypotheses that may requires you to query judgements as you go along trying to work out the correct pattern. The Abstract reasoning section includes four different types of questions:

Type 1 ​– You are presented with two sets of shapes labelled “Set A” and “Set B”. You will be given a test shape and asked to decide whether the test shape belongs to Set A, Set B, or Neither.

Type 2 ​- You are presented with a series of shapes. You will be asked to select the next shape in the series.

Type 3 ​- You are presented with a statement, involving a group of shapes. You will be asked to determine which shape completes the statement.

Type 4 – Your are presented with two sets of shapes labelled “Set A” and “Set B”. You will be asked to select which of the four response options belongs to Set A or Set B.

Decision Making

The Decision Making subtest tests your ability to apply logic to reach a decision or conclusion, evaluate arguments and analyse statistical information. For instance, you might be given a statement and then four diagrams, and asked to choose the diagram that best fits the statement given. The Decision Making section includes 29 items to be completed in 31 minutes.

You will be presented with questions that may refer to text, charts, tables, graphs or diagrams. In the UCAT Decision Making, you will face two types of question formats:

1. Answer Options

You will be presented with four answer options, where only one option is correct. These questions types  include the following:

Logical puzzles: You are required to take one or more steps of deductive inference from the information presented in order to arrive at a conclusion. There is only one correct response per question. Information may be given in the form of text, tables or other graphic.

Syllogisms:  In these items you will be required to evaluate whether each of a series of conclusions arises from a given set of premises.Some questions may have multiple correct response options. You need to ‘drag and drop’ the correct responses.

Interpreting Information: You will be presented with information in various formats (written passages, graphs, charts, etc.) and will be required to interpret this information in order to determine which conclusions follow. There may be multiple correct response options per item.

Recognising Assumption: These items ask you to evaluate arguments for and against a particular solution to a problem. You will be required to evaluate the strength of the presented arguments and the soundness of assumptions underlying these arguments. There is only one correct response per question; candidates must suspend their own beliefs to reach the strongest conclusion.

Venn Diagrams: You may be presented with a Venn diagram and asked to select the single best conclusion from a list of statements. In other items you will have a passage of information which you can interpret either in the form of a Venn diagram or by providing conclusions. You may also be provided with a set of statements and a set of different Venn diagrams as response options. You will need to select the Venn that best represents the information provided.

Probability Reasoning: You will be presented with a very short passage containing statistical information. You will be asked to select the best response to the question. 

2. Yes or No Statements

You will be asked to respond to five statements, by answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ next to each statement. These type of questions can also be in the form of any of the six question types mentioned above.

Situational Judgement

The UCAT Situational Judgement  test measures your ability  to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them. The section includes  69 questions that  assesses  your integrity, perspective taking, team involvement, resilience and adaptability.  The test is 26 minutes long.

The Situational Judgement questions do not require any medical or procedural knowledge – There are two types of questions  in the test, they include:

1. Appropriateness Questions

This part of the test account for roughly 60% of the itemsThis is where you are given a  scenario and  presented with an action. You  will then need to rate how appropriate this action is in the context of the scenario. You are then given four answer choices to choose from, they include:

  • a very appropriate thing to do  – if it will address at least one aspect (not necessarily all aspects) of the situation
  • appropriate, but not ideal  – if it could be done, but is not necessarily a very good thing to do
  • inappropriate, but not awful –  if it should not really be done, but would not be terrible
  • a very inappropriate thing to do – if it should definitely not be done and would make the situation worse

2. Importance Questions

This accounts for approximately 40% of the items. This is  where after each scenario you are presented with an action. You need to rate how important it is to carry out that action in the context of the scenario. Those actions which are considered essential should be awarded high importance. If an action is inconsequential, or even detrimental, then if will be of lower importance, You are then given four answer choices to choose from, they include:

  • very important – if this is something that is vital to take into account
  • important – if this is something that is important but not vital to take into account
  • of minor importance –  if this is something that could be taken into account, but it does not matter if it is considered or not
  • not important – at all if this is something that should definitely not be taken into account

When assessing your performance in practice tests, its a good idea to recognise the sub-areas that need to most attention. By knowing the question-types in the exam you can pinpoint what you need to work on.