This exclamation can be said either in an exasperating tone, or to the jubilant theme of Queen’s Flash Gordon, depending on how you feel about the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) section of the UCAT.
The aim of this section is not so much to see if you can multiply 3.143 by 4.257 in your head. The focus is actually on problem solving using basic mathematical principles that should have been picked up from GCSE.
You have an average of 40 seconds per question, and in total will need to answer 36 questions from 9 scenarios. So there’s no point taking your time in the first half of the QR section if you run out of time for the rest. You’ll just lose half the marks!
So let’s go over some tips that will help you answer questions correctly and also quickly.
1. Mental maths
There’s no getting around this one. Get to know your times tables. Recite them like you did in primary school. Add and subtract like you have never done before.
Quantitative Reasoning is littered with these types of calculations. Usually, a given sum acts as one of several steps in your quest for the correct answer. The more you practice your mental arithmetic, the more time you will save.
2. Minimise your calculator usage
You do get a calculator in Quantitative Reasoning. That’s just the UKCAT examiners pretending to be nice to you. If you are quick with your mental arithmetic you won’t need to use it that much – if at all.
Indeed, many people find the on-screen calculator very awkward and slow to use. Remember, however, that some questions may necessitate the use of a calculator. Therefore, only use the calculator when you absolutely have to.
3. Don’t get tripped up by unit changes
The examiners are sneaky. It is not 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 could have been the unit of choice in a question, but you might be asked for the answer in millimetres If you don’t read the question properly, you can easily select the wrong option.
Example unit conversions:
4. Know your formulae inside out – do some Quantitative Reasoning Revision!
There are some prerequisite formulae you need to know for the UKCAT. The most common one is speed = distance / time. You also need to be aware of the geometric formula for basic 2 and 3 dimensional shapes.
Remember that you also need to be comfortable rearranging formulae too. To get more help on formulae and quantitative reasoning in general, check out the QR section of our Online UKCAT Course.
5. Know the computer shortcuts
To save time using your mouse, consider using your computer keyboard both to open and operate the calculator, as well as move between questions. You can use the following short cuts:
Alt + n for the next question
Alt + p for the previous question
Alt + f to flag the question
Alt + c to open the calculator
And with that, I bid you good luck with your Quantitative Reasoning revision!