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3rd August 2022
The Decision Making section of the UCAT trips up a lot of people – but not Charlotte, who scored an impressive 880 in this subtest! In this blog, she shares how she got such a high UCAT score in Decision Making and gives her top tips for anyone struggling.

I Made Sure I Properly Understood The Subtest

One of the secrets to scoring highly in Decision Making is to first recognise the skills that it’s testing and the different question styles that can appear. DM concerns logical thinking, problem-solving and also some maths skills, via long worded questions and probability/ statistical questions.

UCAT courses explain what each subtest is designed to assess in depth. I also found that watching YouTube videos and reading blogs with test-taker insights helped me to further understand the point of each section. Trying practice UCAT questions for Decision Making will show you the types of questions you could face.

I Practised As Many Questions As Possible

My most important tip for Decision Making would be to use as many online resources to practise as many questions as possible. For me, using a UCAT Question Bank for three weeks before my exam was pivotal in my DM and wider UCAT success.

Decision Making was initially one of my worst UCAT sections. I found the long-worded logic questions impossible to complete within such a short time limit, and the probability questions similarly difficult. However, with continued practice and determination, I significantly improved my score.

I recommend using online resources and generally avoiding UCAT books. That’s because the UCAT is a computer-based exam, so online resources familiarise you with the real test format and get you used to using the keyboard. Replicating the test experience will increase your confidence and best prepare you for the test.

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Use The Whiteboard

During your exam, you will be given a whiteboard and pen. In Decision Making, I found that drawing Venn diagrams, creating tables and jotting down notes on the whiteboard really improved my score.

It allowed me to work through DM problems with all the necessary information in front of me, without being confused by long, wordy blocks of text on the screen. I strongly recommend practising with a whiteboard and pen before the exam so you get used to using it.

Timed Practice Is Important

During your early Decision Making practice, I suggest working through the different questions without a timer. This will prevent excess stress and help you gain a good understanding of the format of the section.

However, switching to timed practice is vital in ensuring UCAT success. It will give you a realistic gauge of how quickly you need to answer the questions in the real exam. You will also improve your ability to problem-solve quickly through continued practice.

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Guess Hard Questions, Flag And Review Later

If a question looks overly complicated and you think it will take you a long time to complete, I recommend guessing, flagging the question, and then returning to it if you have time at the end of the section.

In my opinion, it’s best to first complete the questions you are confident with and then return to the more challenging ones. This ensures that you don’t end up missing out on easier marks because you spent too much time on a complicated question earlier in the section.

During my practice and in my real test, I used this strategy and was able to answer flagged questions later, once I had settled into the section and worked through the rest of the questions.

Always answer every question! There is a chance that your guess could be correct, but if you don’t answer at all there is no chance.

My Decision Making Tips:

  • Know what the section is testing
  • Identify and practise the different question styles
  • Use online resources to practise as many questions as possible
  • Focus your practice on the computer using the keyboard
  • Use a whiteboard and pen to jot down notes, draw diagrams and work through questions
  • Do timed question practice
  • Guess, flag and return to complicated questions at the end
  • Always answer every question, even if it is a guess!
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