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UCAT Abstract Reasoning

The Abstract Reasoning section of UCAT tests whether a candidate can identify particular patterns amongst abstract shapes. At just 13 minutes, it is the shortest section in the exam. 

Abstract Reasoning questions often include unrelated and distracting elements to cause confusion. So understanding common patterns is key.

This page is a great starting point to gain knowledge of the Abstract Reasoning section – and includes tips that will help you identify sequences. 

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Abstract Reasoning?

Abstract Reasoning is the third of the five UCAT sections. 

Candidates will be assessed on their spatial awareness and reasoning, as they are presented shape-based patterns and sequences.

There are 55 multiple choice questions, divided into 13 question sets. 

With 13 minutes to answer everything, this gives candidates just 1 minute per set.  

What Is The Question Format?

There are 4 question types in this section:

This question type presents two ‘sets’ of shapes (Set A and Set B), followed by five ‘test shapes’. Candidates must decide if the ‘test shapes’ fit Set A, Set B or neither set. 

This question type will show a series of shapes that alternate from one box to the next. Candidates will need to state which of the four shapes would follow in the sequence. 

This question type is a ‘statement’ of two sets of shapes, in which changes have been applied to one set in order to create a new one. Candidates must apply the same change to a set of test shapes and then choose which of the four options follows. 

This question is a variation of question type 1. Rather than give sequential ‘test shapes’, candidates are presented with four ‘test shapes’ simultaneously and will need to decide which one of the four belongs to Set A or B. 

What Skills Are Tested?

Doctors deal with both reliable and unreliable information. 

For example, you will need to make judgements based on possible diagnoses from test results. 

The Abstract Reasoning section tests a candidate’s abilities to evaluate and generate hypotheses. It also assesses critical thinking skills. 

Abstract Reasoning In 60 Seconds

Want some more advice on how to tackle the Abstract Reasoning section of UCAT? Check out this clip. 

Average Abstract Reasoning Scores

Between 2015 and 2019, Abstract Reasoning scores tended to fall between 630 and 640. The average Abstract Reasoning score in 2019 was 638.

Average Verbal Reasoning Scores20152016201720182019
640630629637638

For more on UCAT scoring, check out our UCAT Scores page.

Abstract Reasoning Preparation Tips

Familiarise Yourself With The Question Types

This section assesses your ability to recognise patterns. 

The more practice questions you do, the quicker you will be able to recognise the kind of patterns that commonly reoccur in exams. 

As you look at different examples, ask yourself: how many shapes are there in each box? Does the tile fit the format? Do the shapes or patterns rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise? 

Take Your Time

Don’t be in a rush to time yourself when you first start practising this section.

It will take a while for you to recognise and learn the patterns that recur. 

Put each set through a set of questions that help you rule out obvious patterns. For example, is there a colour pattern? Is there symmetry? Does the pattern correlate to the number of shapes?

The more you practice, the quicker you will get.


Want to try Abstract Reasoning questions now? Go to our UCAT Question Bank!

UCAT Question Bank

You can read some of our most popular UCAT Abstract Reasoning blogs below.

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