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Situational judgement is the final part of the UCAT test. It assesses a number of personal skills such as integrity, perspective, resilience and adaptability. These UCAT questions are very different from the rest of the test, so you need to treat the situational judgement section like a totally different exam.

What Is UCAT Situational Judgement?

Situational judgement is the final of the five sections of UCAT. It’s designed to test your capacity to understand real-life situations, find the key critical factors and behave appropriately when dealing with them.

Situational judgement doesn’t assess your academic abilities – instead, it focusses on integrity and adaptability in ethical scenarios.

It’s very different to the other UCAT sections – and it’s marked differently, too.

During the exam, you’ll get 26 minutes to answer 69 questions, related to 22 scenarios. This allows just 70 seconds per scenario and around 23 seconds per question.

It’s the only UCAT section that uses a 1-4 band scoring system, with band 1 being the highest performing band and 4 the lowest.

Types Of Situational Judgement Questions

Situational Judgement is made up of multiple-choice and ranking-style questions.

These can be broken down into the following question types:

  • Appropriateness: After each scenario, you’ll be presented with an action. It needs to be rated according to how appropriate it is in the context of the scenario.
  • Importance: You’ll get a number of actions after each scenario and you need to rate them on how important they are within the context of the scenario.
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Average Situational Judgement Scores

The majority of candidates will score in band 1 or 2 when they sit the situational judgement test. Last year, in 2020, only a quarter of people scored in band 3 and just 9% got band 4.

Average Situational Judgement ScoresBand 1Band 2Band 3Band 4
201524%
45%
22%

9%
201626%
44%22%9%
201728%42%21%9%
201821%34%32%13%
201917%40%33%10%
202030%36%24%9%

Find out more about how the UCAT situational judgement is scored.

Situational Judgement Strategies

When you tackle the situational judgement test, you need to understand that you’re trying to find the correct response when you take into consideration the GMC Medicine Guidelines – not what you personally think is the right action. It may be called situational judgement but you’re not supposed to apply your personal judgement to the answers.

In order to score well, you have to understand what’s being tested and what attributes are being looked for. You also need to understand what that means in relation to example situations.

Furthermore, you need to understand what the answers mean. For example, what does appropriate but ideal really mean? How can you judge whether a response falls into this category?

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Example Situational Judgement Question

As part of his first hospital placement at medical school, Todd is preparing to observe his first surgical procedure. He is feeling almost sick with dread and nerves, but knows he needs to ‘get over it’ at some point. A nurse tells Todd that they will be beginning in five minutes.

How appropriate is the following response by Todd in this situation?

Tell the nurse how he is feeling and ask her opinion

  1. A very appropriate thing to do
  2. Appropriate, but not ideal
  3. Inappropriate, but not awful
  4. A very inappropriate thing to do

The answer: A very appropriate thing to do. That’s because it’s good to let someone know that he’s feeling unwell, and she herself may have been in a similar position, too. Asking for advice and support is always a positive attribute.

More Situational Judgement Tips

We covered situational judgement in our recent UCAT webinar. You can catch up on the SJT section below, and see SJT-specific tips:

Free SJT Questions
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