Our new blog series will give tips on each section of the UCAT. This blog focuses on UCAT Quantitative Reasoning tips. This blog will cover how to answer each question type and includes a practice question at the end!
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There is no set list of topics which QR covers but from experience and official practice tests there are a number of topics which are commonly tested.
To score well on this section it is important you are comfortable with calculations involving percentage change, currency conversions, interest rates, ratios, speed-distance time graphs, areas and volumes and basic statistics such as mean, median and mode – as well as data interpretation from charts and graphs.
By revising these topics, you will not be surprised or fazed by any question.
2. Learn to identify multi-step calculations
All the questions carry the same marks and therefore there is no need to spend extra time on one question which requires three or four steps in order to reach the correct answer.
There will be a question further down the line which will require only “eyeballing” of a graph or chart. It is important you are able to identify these types of questions quickly, guess an answer and flag it up so you can return to it if you have time at the end.
A common trap people fall into is spending too much time on these questions which mean they do not finish the QR subsection and this results in a low score.
3. Simulate the test environment
You may opt to practice for UCAT on a laptop if you plan to sit UCAT Online. However, if you choose to sit UCAT at a test centre, it is better to practice on a desktop computer as you will be able to use the number keys on the on-screen calculator. Using the mouse will take more time so it is important you practice this.
Do all your workings on a whiteboard with marker pen. Use this to jot down important numbers within questions or to double check a mental calculation quickly. In some centres you get given headphones to muffle any background noise, so this is also a good idea if you wish to simulate the real environment.
4. Identify the common mistakes in your practice
The practice tests are a close reflection of the real tests. You should quickly identify any recurring mistakes that you are making and why these occurred.
Aim to improve your score in every test so you peak on test day. If there is a topic which you find difficult, focus more on this area and practice questions on the topic online.
5. Practice under time pressure
The majority of the topics you will come across in QR are GCSE-level maths. The maths is in itself not complex but arriving at the correct answer in a time limit takes practice.
Therefore, it is important that you practice under timed conditions all the time. Aim to arrive at the answer within 30 seconds. If you are practising questions from a book use a stop clock time yourself; most online practice resources will have timers within the test screen.