11th May 2023
Anna scored an impressive 680 in the Verbal Reasoning section of the UCAT test, which is notoriously difficult. Discover her top Verbal Reasoning tips in this blog to boost your score.

It’s All In The Timing

Ask anyone who has taken the UCAT about Verbal Reasoning and they will probably tell you that the hardest part of this subtest is the incredibly tight time limit.

I tackled this by trying questions in timed conditions early on, so that I could get a feel for what I would face on the day. You can try free UCAT questions or use a UCAT Question Bank to practise.

Guess, Flag And Move On

As a general rule of thumb, it’s fair to assume that questions with longer passages will be harder to answer, because you have more text to scour for information. If a passage was particularly long, I would immediately guess, flag and move on to avoid wasting time.

Although you don’t need any background knowledge of the subject matter to answer the questions, some topics can be tricky if you generally struggle to wrap your head around the subject matter. For example, I often struggled to get to grips with passages on ancient history, so they were an immediate flag for me!


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Read The Question First

During my UCAT prep, I saw this tip a thousand times, but I didn’t immediately realise how much it would help my score. As I did more and more practice, I realised that no matter how quick you can speed-read, you will never have time to read and digest each passage in full.

By reading the question first, you get an idea of which keywords you should be scanning the passage for. It may feel counterintuitive to begin with, but give it a go and it will really help you out.

Learn Strategies For True/False/Can’t Tell Questions

The secret to a high UCAT score is strategy. You need to know exactly how to approach every type of Verbal Reasoning question that you could face.

I found true/false/can’t tell questions hard. My approach was to start by eliminating either ‘true’ or ‘false’. Then, even if you have to guess, you still have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right.

Don’t be afraid to select ‘can’t tell’. When you’re under pressure on the day, it’s easy to think you might have missed a vital piece of information that would have allowed you to answer either true or false confidently. Remember that the ‘can’t tell’ option is there for a reason, so don’t be scared to use it!

Don’t Be A Perfectionist

It’s easy to get bogged down in really getting to grips with the passage and trying to answer each question with 100% confidence. Unfortunately, there just isn’t time for this in Verbal Reasoning.

Remember that you are just trying to bag as many marks as possible, and you won’t need anywhere near full marks to do well in this section.

My Verbal Reasoning Top Tips

My tips for beating the average score in Verbal Reasoning are:

  1. Remember that by flagging a question, you aren’t giving up on it – you’re simply allowing yourself to get the easiest marks first!
  2. Practise some of the other subtests first. As Verbal Reasoning is the first section of the exam, most candidates will automatically try to learn it first. However many people find it the hardest section, so it might help your confidence to leave this section until a bit later on in your prep.
  3. Don’t panic! Verbal Reasoning is the lowest scoring section for most test-takers, so don’t worry if you’re consistently doing better in other subtests.

Check out our best Verbal Reasoning tips for more inspiration.


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