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.
Situational Judgement is made up of multiple-choice and ranking-style questions.
These can be broken down into the following question types:
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 Scores||Band 1||Band 2||Band 3||Band 4|
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?
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
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.
We covered situational judgement in our recent UCAT webinar. You can catch up on the SJT section below, and see SJT-specific tips:
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