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The verbal reasoning section of the UCAT test requires you to approach the answers logically and with a scientific mind. It might be the most time-pressured, and the lowest-scoring section of the UCAT, but you can still perform well if you practise and apply the best verbal reasoning strategies.

What Is The Verbal Reasoning Section?

The verbal reasoning section of the UCAT is a comprehension test that measures your ability to read information and then decide if conclusions can be drawn from the text.

You’ll need 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.

In that time you’ll have to read 11 passages of text and answer four questions per passage. This means you’ll have 44 verbal reasoning questions overall, working out at two minutes per set – or just 30 seconds per question.

Types Of Verbal Reasoning Questions

There are two key question types in the verbal reasoning section:

  • True/False/Can’t Tell: Based on the passage of text, you need to reason whether the statements are true, false or it cannot be told whether it is true or false.
  • Free Text: You may see questions or incomplete statements, and you need to 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.

How Is UCAT Verbal Reasoning Marked?

Each verbal reasoning question is worth one mark. Your total marks for the section are then placed on a scale to give you your UCAT score.

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Average Verbal Reasoning UCAT Scores

Verbal reasoning scores are the lowest of the whole UCAT test. In the UK the average score for the 2021 test was 572. In Australia and New Zealand the average VR score was 586.

What Is A Good Score For Verbal Reasoning?

A good verbal reasoning score would be above 580, according to the 2021 scores. A high VR score of 650+ would put you in the top 20% of test takers in the same year.

Previous UK verbal reasoning UCAT scores:

Average Verbal Reasoning Scores2015201620172018201920202021
577573570567565570586

Previous UCAT ANZ verbal reasoning scores:

Average Verbal Reasoning Scores201920202021
571577586

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

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Verbal Reasoning Strategies

During the verbal reasoning subtest, you’re put under immense time pressure and may find yourself without enough time to truly read every single piece of text. If you learn strategies for tackling these questions, you’ll find that you can score highly without reading every single word on the screen.

Some of the key strategies that we teach in our UCAT courses include:

  • Learning how to identify key words in a passage of text
  • Spotting common tricks designed to trip you up, such as juxtaposition or dispersion through text
  • Understanding mitigating and contradictory terms

When you understand these strategies, it’s time to practise some UCAT questions. You can answer some verbal reasoning questions for free or try our free practice UCAT Test.

Example UCAT Verbal Reasoning Question

The British monarch is arguably the most famous monarchy in the world. With a history of revelations, scandals and celebrity stories, the awe and fascination continues to grow each year. Prince William, along with his brother Harry, have reignited a global interest in the royals. An estimated 24 million Brits watched Prince William’s wedding to Catherine Middleton in 2011 – that’s over a third of the UK population! And that was just the UK viewers. Millions more watched from other countries, including 23 million Americans. But the number of American viewers was dwarfed by Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle seven years later.  Some 29 million Americans tuned in, perhaps due to Meghan Markle being a popular American celebrity.

Question: American actress Meghan Markle married Harry in 2018.

Choose your answer: True / False / Can’t Tell

Watch the video at the bottom of the page for the answer, and an explanation of how to tackle this example verbal reasoning question.

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Verbal Reasoning Tips

This clip from our recent UCAT webinar shows you how to prepare for the verbal reasoning section (with tips) and walks you through the correct answer for the example question above.

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