The UCAT Verbal Reasoning (previously UKCAT Verbal Reasoning) section requires you to read a 200 to 300 word passage of text. After this, you have to answer 4 related questions. With only 21 minutes to answer 44 questions, this is generally considered the most time pressured section of the UCAT exam. This page provides an overview of the section, plus our top UCAT Verbal Reasoning tips.
Please note that UCAT was renamed from UKCAT in 2019. However, the UCAT Consortium has stated that the test content between UKCAT Verbal Reasoning and UCAT Verbal Reasoning will be the same. Read more about the UKCAT to UCAT changeover here.
Looking for more Verbal Reasoning tips? Visit our UCAT Tips page!
What are the UCAT Verbal Reasoning Question Types?
There are two types of verbal reasoning question in the UCAT:
True / False / Can’t Tell
Following the passage you are presented with four statements. For each statement you must decide if, based on the passage of text, it is true, false or you cannot tell if it is true or false.
Following each passage you will be presented with four questions or incomplete statements. You must then choose which of four free text answers applies. This question style assesses critical thinking abilities, such as identifying conclusions and proving causality.
Since 2013, evidence suggests that the UCAT Verbal Reasoning section is skewed towards this question type. Many students have found that this makes the exam more difficult. It is certainly harder to complete these questions to time.
It is important when preparing that you practice both question types. We have a useful blog post covering strategy for the most challenging free text questions. You can read that here.
This is one of the most crucial UCAT Verbal Reasoning tips. As Verbal Reasoning tests your ability to read and interpret short passages of text, getting into the habit of reading short articles and summarising them in bullet points will help your efficiency and accuracy in this section.
Summarising the articles you read will be great UCAT preparation: it will help you to familiarise yourself with digesting passages of text to pick out key information. Remember to read with a critical eye – for example, is an opinion presented as fact? Is something explicitly stated or just implied? You could even team up with a friend, pick an article each and create Verbal-Reasoning-style questions for the other to answer, with ‘true’, ‘false’ and ‘can’t tell’ options.
Practise your timing
As there’s only 21 minutes to answer 44 questions, this is considered the most time pressured section of the test – so you may want to spend some time practising this section before the exam.
One of the best ways to manage your timing in the test is to have completed lots of practice beforehand. You could do this by trying our Question Bank to get used to the format of the questions.
As you familiarise yourself with different question types across Verbal Reasoning, this will help with your efficiency. For example, as you practice, you’ll pick up certain tricks for each style of question that will save you time – such as reading the question first before the Verbal Reasoning passage, so you can focus your reading.
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