The UCAT Calculator plays an integral role when it comes to working out number related UCAT questions.
Whilst made to help speed up the working out process, if improperly utilised, the UCAT calculator may cause candidates to spend unnecessary time on a question. Considering UCAT is highly time- pressured, effectively using the UCAT calculator is in a candidate’s best interest.
This page will offer some methods and tips that will help you utilise the UCAT calculator when it is time to sit the examination.
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What Is The UCAT Calculator?
The UCAT calculator is an on-screen tool that is accessible to candidates who sit the UCAT.
It is a basic calculator that will allow students to solve numerical questions, particular for the Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making sections of the exam.
The UCAT calculator is ideal to use for questions that involve lengthy calculations so that precious time is not wasted.
UCAT Calculator Methods
The UCAT calculator can be used in up to three different ways.
Using the most time-efficient method to operate the on-screen calculator will allow more time to spend on the questions themselves. Here are some methods to consider:
All UCAT exam venues will offer a computer mouse which can be used to operate the calculator.
The benefit of using a mouse is that this method can easily be replicated during UCAT revision at home, by connecting a mouse to an existing computer or laptop.
Practicing with your intended method of calculator operation is crucial.
However, the mouse is usually slower to operate than using the keyboard.
Again, all UCAT exam venues will offer keyboards, and these can be used to operate the calculator.
However, the keyboard is likely to be different to the keyboard on your laptop.
In general, UCAT exam venues offer standard full-size keyboards – likely the same keyboards connected to the computers in your school library.
These are larger than a standard laptop keyboard and have an additional number keypad on the right-hand side of the keyboard.
Using the keyboard and keyboard shortcuts to operate the calculator is generally the fastest method.
This method can also be practiced at home; however, it is crucial to practice with a full-size keyboard – not your standard laptop keyboard.
- Ctrl + c = to access the calculator
- +, -, *, / = add, subtract, multiply, divide
- Alt + n = to move to next question
- Alt + p = to move to previous question
- Alt + f = to flag current question
- Num Lock = to activate number keypad
Touch screen operation of the UCAT calculator is not available at all exam venues.
It is difficult to practice touch screen operation of the UCAT calculator at home, unless you have a touch screen laptop.
Even if you do have a touch screen laptop, consider whether the touch screen technology at the exam venue will be as reliable and accurate as at home.
UCAT Calculator Tips
Don’t rely on the calculator!
If the calculation is simple, use mental maths to solve it.
If you use the calculator for every calculation in the exam you will waste time rather than save it.
M+ function will save time!
Use the memory function on the calculator during complex calculations.
The M+ button saves the positive version of the current number to memory, while the M- button saves the negative version.
MRC has two functions – memory recall if pressed alone, or memory clear if pressed with M-.
Don’t Be Afraid To Redo Calculations
Be cautious of errors when inputting numbers into the calculator. Trust your gut if the numbers don’t seem to add up!
If your answer seems implausible then repeat the calculation – this may add another few seconds on a question, but it will be worth it if the answer earns you a mark.
Want to practise Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making?
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For more tips on the UCAT sections that use the UCAT calculator, check out these blogs:
5 Essential UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips
UCAT Decision Making Tips: Top 3 Strategies