29th July 2023
The Decision Making section of the UCAT is full of tricks that can trip you up if you don’t know the right test strategies. Familiarise yourself with our UCAT tips for Decision Making, so you can avoid making mistakes that will lower your UCAT score.

1. Understand What The Decision Making Section Is Testing

Before anything else, get to know the Decision Making subtest and what it’s designed to assess. This section tests three areas of logical reasoning: evaluating arguments, deductive reasoning and statistical / figural reasoning.

2. Know What To Expect

In Decision Making, you’ll face questions that require you to solve textual and visual data-related questions using logic and reasoning. Being aware of this will help you to focus your UCAT prep and make sure you’re developing the right skills.

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

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4. Look For Keywords

Look out for certain keywords in the answers to help you choose the right one. For example, the word ‘might’ suggests a weak argument because it’s uncertain. The word ‘feel’ suggests it may be subjective, which would also 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 the ‘deductive reasoning’ 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 follows 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. Unless something is explicitly stated in the passage given, don’t draw conclusions based on your own prior knowledge.

Even though some conclusions might seem logical to you, only go by what is actually mentioned in the text.

6. Follow A Logical Thought Process

For the ‘evaluating argument’ questions, you’ll be given a question starting with ‘Should…?’ and 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 argument makes the most sense?

You can usually narrow them 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 someone and wanted to win the debate, which is the argument you’d choose?

7. Revise Probability

Another important Decision Making tip is to revise your probability calculations. For many of the questions (particularly the ‘logical puzzle’ questions), it can help 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 practise your graph reading, because one question type will involve looking at graphs and diagrams to get information.

The best way to prepare for these types of questions is to practise. If you know that 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 Decision Making score is to work through plenty of practice questions. This will help you to familiarise yourself with the various question types and get used to the computer test format.


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