60-Second UCAT Tips: Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and SJT
Welcome to part two of 60 second UCAT tips! This blog will cover Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement.
Disclaimer: this blog will be more useful if you’re a little bit familiar with the format of each section. If you’re not, you can read up on each section of the UCAT here.
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UCAT Tips: Quantitative Reasoning
This is the section that you could probably score the highest on so long as you practise all the different types of questions that come up.
It’s GCSE Maths
Generally speaking, the maths doesn’t go beyond Grade A GCSE maths. The most common types of questions to arise are ratios, percentage change, speed = distance/time, converting units, areas/perimeters and some statistics.
Try to get as familiar with these as possible, and make sure you know all the formulas for working them out.
Use the calculator
You are given a very basic on-screen calculator so it’s worth ditching all the extra functions on a scientific calculator whilst practising, so that it’s the most accurate representation of the test.
Use the whiteboard
You’re also given a whiteboard to jot down some notes, so feel to use one whilst studying, or simply some blank paper. Surprisingly however, the more mental maths you can do the better, as it takes time to tap numbers into the calculator or scribble on the board, so try to minimise this as much as possible.
Work on your estimation skills
Depending on the question, it may be worth working on your estimation skills as rounding numbers up or down makes it easier to do the maths mentally. The actual answer should be near enough what your (estimated) answer is.
Read the question first – and carefully
The best way to go about maths questions is to again read the question first and then look at any data that may be provided. Eyeball the data to identify the key information, then plug in your calculation if it’s required, and select your answer.
Sometimes they add extra information in bullet points that many students ignore. Make sure you scan this information – it is usually essential to answering at least one of the questions.
UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Resources:
UCAT Tips: Abstract Reasoning
Abstract reasoning is the section that by far looks the most scary and overwhelming. It also sounds tough for time, as there are 13 minutes to answer 55 questions. However, the majority of questions will compose of two sets (A and B) and five ‘test shapes’ that you must either place in Set A, Set B or Neither.
Scan Set A and B first
You’ll probably spend most of your time identifying the patterns. Once this is done, grouping the test shapes will be an easy feat. It is so important to not panic as this makes it harder to find the pattern.
Take a breath and work systematically through a number of potential patterns the sets may be. There is no point looking at the test shapes first, your eyes should immediately scan Set A and Set B to identify the pattern.
Learn the common patterns
The patterns often fall into one of the following 4 categories:
- Number – this could simply be about the number of (certain) shapes there are in each box; the number of sides or the number of intersections. Alternatively, it could be more complex and require you to work out that the number of circles + the number of triangles = the number of squares in each box.
- Shape – this could be about there being particular shapes in each box (e.g. each box has 2 hexagons and a circle) or that there is a feature of a shape applying to each box – e.g. angle measures, such as there being a right angle, or an acute angle; concave or convex shapes, squiggly patterns, straight sides etc.
- Colour – if you can see that there are different colours in the boxes, the pattern may have something to do with it. It could also just be distracting you from the real pattern, so don’t fixate too much on it.
- Arrangement – these patterns could be anything from how the shapes in each box are positioned relative to each other (e.g. the circle is always diagonal to the star); how they are rotated or reflected; if they are arranged in a clockwise or anticlockwise fashion etc. If the box contains arrows, it’s also worth noting which direction they are pointing in or what (shape) they are pointing at, as this may be the pattern.
UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Resources:
UCAT Tips: Situational Judgement
This section is assessing your professionalism and ethical code of conduct. Your answers will reflect the kinds of decision you’ll make in compromising or stressful situations.
Read the whole scenario first
In these questions, it is important that you read the whole scenario first before answering any questions. Take a good 30 seconds to read it all, and then each question shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds to answer.
Read the GMC Guidelines
It’s quite handy to have a read of the GMC guidelines to see what is expected of healthcare professionals in different situations, but some points you should always consider are:
- Medical students and healthcare professionals should never imply or act as though they have knowledge beyond their level of experience.
- Avoid anything that will cause the public to lose confidence in the healthcare profession – for example, reprimanding another healthcare professional in front of a patient after the healthcare professional has made a mistake is almost always a ‘very inappropriate’ response as it will unnerve the patient.
- The patient’s best interest is always a priority.
- Address problems as soon as possible, and try to seek local solutions first where appropriate – for example, instead of going to the dean of the medical school to report something (legal but) inappropriate that you’ve witnessed, consider turning to a personal tutor for guidance instead.
- To always follow the rules of the hospital/university.
UCAT Situational Judgement Resources:
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