UCAT Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section of UCAT requires candidates to read written passages of 200-300 words and answer related questions. It lasts 21 minutes and is often considered the most time-pressured of all the UCAT sections.  

The best starting point for Verbal Reasoning preparation is to understand exactly what the section entails, before exploring specific techniques and strategies to tackle it.

This page provides an overview of UCAT Verbal Reasoning, as well as  preparation tips to help boost your score 

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What Is Verbal Reasoning?

Verbal Reasoning is the first of the five sections of UCAT.  

Candidates will need to answer questions based on passages of around 200-300 words.

There are 11 passages, each with 4 related questions. This means that there are 44 questions overall. 

These need to be completed in 21 minutes. 

So, you have roughly 2 minutes per set and just 30 seconds per question. 

What Is The Question Format?

There are two key question types:

Based on the passage of text, candidates will need to reason whether the statements are true, false or it cannot be told whether it is true or false.

Candidates may be presented with questions or incomplete statements. They must then select the free text answers that best apply.

Whilst the trend from 2013 has shown that UCAT tends to incorporate more free text style questions, it is crucial to practise both question types.  

What Skills Are Tested?

The Verbal Reasoning section of UCAT draws upon a candidate’s ability to critically evaluate written information, proving causality and identifying reasoned conclusions. 

This section is particularly time-pressured, so candidates will also be tested on their ability to work quickly and efficiently. 

Verbal Reasoning In 60 Seconds

Here is one of our top tutors offering some advice on how to tackle the Verbal Reasoning section of UCAT.

Average Verbal Reasoning Scores

Between 2015 and 2019, the average score in this section typically fell around 570. In 2019, the average Verbal Reasoning score was 565

Average Verbal Reasoning Scores20152016201720182019

Statistically, Verbal Reasoning has been the lowest scoring UCAT section. 

If you want to learn more about how scoring works, check out our UCAT Scores page. 

Verbal Reasoning Preparation Tips

Practice Your Timing  

Many candidates find the UCAT’s Verbal Reasoning section particularly challenging due to the time constraints. 

The most effective way to manage your timing is to practice as many questions as you can. 

The more Verbal Reasoning questions you do, the quicker you pick up time-saving techniques.

For example, reading the question first so you have a more focused approach when you begin reading the passage. 

Read With A Critical Eye

Get into a habit of reading short articles and summarising the key information into bullet points.

This will help you build your efficiency in reading and interpreting, which is a key skill this section tests. 

Always consider if something is being explicitly stated or just implied. Is an opinion being presented as fact? 

Team up with a friend, pick an article and create Verbal Reasoning-style questions for the other to answer. 

Want to try some Verbal Reasoning questions? Start for free on our UCAT Question Bank!

UCAT Question Bank

Verbal Reasoning Example

Check out this worked out example of a Verbal Reasoning question to get a better understanding of this UCAT section:


For more preparation tips and advice, check out our Verbal Reasoning blogs:




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