Our first Quantitative Reasoning tip is to revise GCSE maths – particularly things like ratio and portions, formulas for area and volume, and percentage calculations. In our UCAT course, we start by showing you the level of maths that you’ll need for QR, so you can immediately tell if you need to brush up on those skills.
Depending on the question, it may be worth working on your estimation skills, because rounding numbers up or down makes it easier to do the maths mentally. The actual answer should be near what your (estimated) answer is.
The best way to tackle maths questions is to read the question first and then look at any data that may be provided. Scan the data to identify the key information, then plug in your calculation if it’s required, and select your answer.
Sometimes you’ll see extra information in bullet points that some test-takers will ignore. Make sure you scan this information – it is usually essential to answering at least one of the questions.
UCAT examiners can be sneaky. It isn’t uncommon for them to provide the details in a scenario using one unit, and expect the answer in another unit. To confuse things even more, they may have the correct answer dressed up in different units.
So, for example, cm might have been the unit of choice in a question, but you might be asked for the answer in millimetres. If you didn’t read the question properly, you could easily select the wrong option.
All of the questions carry the same marks – so there is no need to spend extra time on one question which requires three or four steps in order to reach the correct answer. It’s important that you are able to identify these longer types of questions quickly, so you can guess, flag and move on. You can return to the question if you have time at the end.
A common trap people fall into is wasting time on these longer QR questions, meaning they run out of time and miss out on easier marks elsewhere.
This is a key Quantitative Reasoning tip. Given the time limit, it’s a good idea to note down important information on your whiteboard when you read the question for the first time. This will mostly include figures, values, and the goal of the question.
Using this method, if you need to refer back to the question for information, you won’t have to read the whole thing again.
There is only a small time frame for each question, so it’s easy to get panicked if you can’t figure out an answer or if you realise that you’ve wasted time. This can throw you off your game for the rest of the section, or even the rest of the UCAT test.
Make sure you know when to skip a question if you feel like it’s taking too much time. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up on a question by skipping it – you’re just prioritising the easier questions to pick up as many marks as possible. And if you have time at the end, you can always come back to any questions that you skipped.
You’ll get a basic on-screen calculator for the UCAT test, so it’s worth ditching all the extra functions of a scientific calculator while you’re practising. You can practise using the calculator with our free practice UCAT questions and our UCAT Question Bank.
Also, check out this blog for tips and keyboard shortcuts to make sure you’re using the calculator as efficiently as possible.
You’ll be given a whiteboard to jot down notes in the UCAT exam, which can be very helpful. However, don’t rely on it too much, because you will waste time if you’re using the whiteboard for every single calculation.
To save time using the mouse, consider using the computer keyboard to open and operate the calculator, as well as to move between questions. You can use the following shortcuts to save time:
You have 25 minutes to answer 36 questions in Quantitative Reasoning. Make sure you get plenty of practice in timed conditions so that you’re able to stay within the time limit!
It’s wise to practise for the UCAT as much you can – especially with online resources such as a UCAT Question Bank because this is how you’ll sit the exam. Online practice tests will give you a direct insight into your progress, and will get you used to the on-screen timer and the calculator that you’ll use on test day.
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