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Top tips for UCAT by an Oxford Medic

This is a time pressured exam, with less than a minute for each question. The overall time limit is 2 hours. Each section is scored from 300 to 900, and this is combined to give an overall score.

<p>Hi, my name’s Harry and I’m a medical student at the University of Oxford. Today I’m going to be talking you through my top tips for the UCAT.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</p><p>As you will know, the UCAT is an admission exam required by the majority of UK medical and dental schools. Applicants take this test in the summer before applying to medical school. It is an online exam with 5 sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, decision making, and situational judgement.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This is a time pressured exam, with less than a minute for each question. The overall time limit is 2 hours. Each section is scored from 300 to 900, and this is combined to give an overall score. There is no negative marking, so it is always less to pick and answer than leave a question blank.<br>&nbsp;</p><p>Different medical schools have different cutoffs for invitation to interview – some are high and some are low. If you get a good score, applying to a medical school with a high cut off will be beneficial to you application, and vice versa for a low score.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>We will now go through the different sections:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Verbal Reasoning (VR)</strong></p><p>- This is essentially a written comprehension test – it assesses your ability to read a passage, interpret information, and judge whether conclusions can be drawn.&nbsp;</p><p>- You have 21 minutes to answer 44 questions, so about 30 seconds per question.&nbsp;</p><p>- You will be asked whether a statement given is true or false, based on the information in the passage, or to complete statements from the information in the passage.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Some helpful strategies:</p><ol><li>Spotting common tricks, such as spreading out the information you need or phrasing it differently. So look out for synonyms in the text.&nbsp;</li><li>Identifying mitigating or contradictory terms. For example, a question may ask about&nbsp;<strong>all&nbsp;</strong>of something, when the text references&nbsp;<strong>most but not all</strong> of something.</li><li>Skim the text and scan for key words.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</li></ol><p><strong>Quantitative Reasoning (QR)</strong></p><ol><li>This section uses GCSE maths to critical analyse data sets.</li><li>There are 36 questions with a 25 minute time limit so about 40 seconds per question.&nbsp;</li><li>Questions can involve tables, graphs, geometry, percentages, ratios, and areas and volumes.</li></ol><p>So make sure you have mastered skills form the GCSE or equivalent courses.&nbsp;</p><p>Practice questions and sticking to time.</p><p><br>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Abstract Reasoning (AR)</strong></p><ol><li>This section assesses your ability to spot patterns amongst shapes and ignore irrelevant material.</li><li>You must quickly generate and evaluate hypotheses.</li><li>50 questions in 12 minutes. Very time pressured in each question.<br>&nbsp;</li></ol><p>In some questions you will be presented with 2 sets of shapes – set A and set B – and then 5 test shapes, and you must decide whether each shape fits in set A, set B or neither. In others you will be provided with a sequence of shapes and asked to pick the next shape in the sequence from the options given.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>To identify patterns you should&nbsp;</p><ol><li>Ignore the test shape</li><li>Look at the simplest box</li><li>Formulate a hypothesis for the pattern&nbsp;</li><li>Test this against the other shapes in the set/series</li><li>See if the test shape matches</li></ol><p><br>The pattern can be size, shape, colour, direction, orientation, angles, areas. Remember to test all of these domains.</p><p><br>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Decision Making&nbsp;(DM)</strong></p><p>- Assesses your ability to use logic and reasoning to solve problems presented as text or data. Similar to information in Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning.</p><p>- 29 questions that need to be answered in 31 minutes.&nbsp;</p><p>- Two main types of question&nbsp;</p><ol><li>Multiple choice - four answer options, only one is correct.&nbsp;</li><li>yes/no statements - select yes or no for each answer.</li></ol><p>Important skills to learn are</p><ol><li>How to recognise assumptions</li><li>How to spot strong and weak arguments</li><li>Techniques for single parameter and multiparameter puzzles - ‘logical guesses’</li><li>How to identify syllogism and draw conclusions</li><li>Understanding and approaching venn diagrams</li><li>How to apply conditional probability and independent probability&nbsp;</li><li>Application of maths.<br>&nbsp;</li></ol><p><strong>Situational Judgment (SJT)</strong></p><p>- Assesses personal skills and ability to make the correct decisions in given scenarios. It doesn’t assess your academic ability, but integrity, perspective, and ethical reasoning.</p><p>- 26 minutes to answer 66 questions. 23 seconds per question.</p><p>- 2 styles of question</p><ol><li>Appropriateness - need to rate how appropriate a given response to a situation would be&nbsp;</li><li>Importance - need to rate how important a factor is in a given scenario.</li></ol><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Not scored from 300-900. Is instead given a band from 1 to 4. Band 1 is the highest and Band 4 is the lowest. Band 1 or Band 2 are considered the best scores.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The answer you select must fit within the GMC guidelines – not necessarily what you would personally do in that situation.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>You should be able to identify which attributes are being looked for and assessed. For example, if ‘professionalism’ is being assessed, it will rank highly in terms of importance. Other important factors are patient safety, integrity, and confidentiality.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions please contact Oxbridge solutions.</p>