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 a series of scenarios. Each scenario can have up to 6 questions associated with it.
Situational Judgement is made up of multiple-choice and ranking-style questions.
These can be broken down into the following question types:
You’ll get full marks if your response matches the correct answer, or partial marks if you’re close. Your marks are then translated into a situational judgement band score.
The four situational judgement bands – and their explanations – are:
In the 2022 UK situational judgement test, around a third of candidates scored in Band 2 and around a third in Band 3. The average UCAT ANZ situational judgement score last year was 568.
A good situational judgement score in the UK is usually considered to be band 2, with a high score being in band 1.
For Australia and New Zealand, a score of 639+ would place you in the eighth percentile and in the top 20% of test-takers last year.
|Average UCAT SJT Bands||Band 1||Band 2||Band 3||Band 4|
|Average Situational Judgement Test Scores||2020||2021||2022|
Find out more about how the UCAT scores work.
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.
Replay last year’s UCAT webinar to get some situational judgement tips.
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