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10th June 2021
The decision making section of the UCAT test is full of common tricks that can trip you up if you’re up-to-speed with test strategy. Make sure you know the best decision making tips so you can avoid making silly mistakes.

1. Understand What Decision Making Is Testing

One of the first tips for decision making is to get to know the section and what it’s designed to test. This subtest is assessing three areas of logical reasoning: evaluating arguments, deductive reasoning and statistical and figural reasoning.

2. Know What To Expect

You can expect to get DM questions that ask you to identify assumptions, evaluate arguments, work with Venn diagrams or even logical reasoning. Being aware of this will help you to focus your UCAT prep.

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3. Understand What A Strong Argument Looks Like

You need to know what a strong and weak argument looks like, so you’re able to answer correctly.

Tips for spotting strong arguments:

  • The premise directly links to the conclusion
  • The premise is objective
  • The premise cites evidence
  • There are no holes in the reasoning

Tips for spotting weak arguments:

  • The premise is irrelevant or indirectly linked to the conclusion
  • The premise is subjective
  • The premise contains assumptions
  • There are holes in the reasoning

4. Look For Keywords

See if you can spot keywords in the answers to help you choose the right one. For example, the word ‘might’ does not lead to a strong argument, because it’s uncertain. The word ‘feel’ suggests it may be subjective, which would count as a weak argument. On the other hand, ‘shown’ or ‘proven’ are strong words that support a strong argument.

5. Don’t Make Assumptions

For Deductive Reasoning style questions, you’ll be given a paragraph of text with four or five associated ‘conclusions’. You’ll need to decide whether each of these conclusions follow from the text or not, by selecting ‘yes’ or ‘no’. In these questions, be wary of making conclusions based on what you would ordinarily assume to be true.

Even though some conclusions might seem logical, unless something is explicitly stated in the passage given, don’t draw conclusions based on your own prior knowledge – only go by what is mentioned in the passage!

6. Follow A Logical Thought Process

In Evaluating Argument type questions, you’ll be given a question starting with ‘Should…?’ with four associated arguments ‘for’ or ‘against’ the question – and you’ll need to pick the best argument.

For these, it’s best to think logically: which of the arguments makes the most sense? You can usually narrow these down by picking out the illogical options first, and from there you can decide on the best argument. If you were debating the topic with a friend and wanted to win the debate, which is the argument you’d pick?

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7. Revise Probability

Another great decision making tip is to revise your probability calculations. For many of the questions, particularly the logical puzzle type questions, it may also be quite useful for you to draw or write out the information provided in a way that you can understand it best.

8. Get Comfortable With Graphs

You also need to practice your graph reading, because one question type will involve looking at graphs and diagrams to draw information. The best way to prepare for these types of questions is to practice. If you know your statistics/maths needs some work, you could try looking at past GCSE Maths papers for graph questions.

9. Practise Decision Making Questions

One of the best ways to boost your score is to work through free practice decision making questions in our UCAT Question Bank. This will help you familiarise yourself with the various question types and get you used to the computer test format. Plus, you can see modelled answers so you’ll be able to learn why you might’ve chosen the wrong answer.

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