The UKCAT Verbal Reasoning (VR) 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 UKCAT exam. This page provides an overview of the section, plus our top UKCAT Verbal Reasoning tips.
There are two types of verbal reasoning question in the UKCAT:
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 UKCAT 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.
UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Tips
Read with a critical eye
This is one of the most crucial UKCAT 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 UKCAT 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.
How should I answer UKCAT Verbal Reasoning questions?
Watch this short video to get a feel for what UKCAT Verbal Reasoning questions are like, and how to answer them:
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