If you’re hoping to get into medical school then you’ve more than likely already heard of the UCAT exam. The abstract reasoning section of the exam often makes candidates a little nervous as it is considered one of the most time-pressured parts of the whole test, with a high number of questions to answer in a very short length of time.
We at The Future Medic are experts in the UCAT exam and we’re here to support you every step of the way and give you the best chance of success. To start, here is an extensive guide to the UCAT including everything you need to know about the abstract reasoning sub-test.
Get support with the UCAT exam
The UCAT exam will be unlike any other exam you have ever taken as it doesn’t measure scientific knowledge but the skills and attributes deemed necessary for a successful career in the medical field. The UCAT exam is meant to be challenging g and very competitive therefore, getting the right support before you take the exam is crucial to your success.
Get help with preparing for the UCAT exam. Getting a UCAT tutor can be the difference between getting into medical school and getting rejected. Our experienced and qualified tutors can help you prepare for the UCAT exam, including the abstract reasoning section.
We recommend that you start revising at least 3 months before you intend to take the UCAT exam, but some students choose to start earlier. The earlier you start preparing the better, particularly if you want to achieve the top 20% of scores. When you want to begin UCAT preparation, contact us to arrange your UCAT tutoring session for a personalised 1:1 service.
To give yourself the best chance of success, you’ll need to practice for the UCAT regularly, assess your strengths and weaknesses and work on the areas where you are scoring lower to boost your UCAT score, and that is where we can help.
How is the UCAT structured?
Before beginning to prepare for the exam, you need to know what it entails, including the 5 sub-sections and the timings for each one.
The UCAT format is relatively straightforward as 5 individual tests make up the overall test. Each section has a different number of questions to answer and different timings.
- Verbal Reasoning assesses your ability to critically evaluate information presented in a written form. There are 44 questions and you have 21 minutes to answer them.
- Decision Making assesses your ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information. There are 29 questions and you have 31 minutes to answer them.
- Quantitative Reasoning assesses your ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form. There are 36 questions and you have 25 minutes to answer them.
- Abstract Reasoning assesses your use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information. There are 50 questions to answer and you have 12 minutes to answer them.
- Situational Judgement measures your capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them. There are 69 questions and you have 26 minutes to answer them.
As you can see, the abstract reasoning portion of the exam has the second-highest number of questions but the least amount of time to complete them in, which is why it is considered the most time-sensitive part of the UCAT exam.
Abstract Reasoning assesses your ability to identify patterns amongst abstract shapes where irrelevant and distracting material may lead to incorrect conclusions. The test therefore measures your ability to change track, critically evaluate and generate hypotheses and requires you to query judgements as you go along. This portion of the UCAT is designed to test how accurately and quickly you can sport patterns and form reasonable conclusions.
When considering possible diagnoses, medical practitioners may be presented with a set of symptoms or results. Some information may be more reliable, more relevant and clearer than other information. Doctors and dentists need to make judgements about such information, identifying the information which helps them reach conclusions. Carrying out research involving data often involves identifying patterns in results in order to generate further hypotheses.
You will be presented with questions that involve working with shapes. Most questions will come in a set of 5 and each will be connected to the same set of shapes, but this isn’t the case with every question. You will be given multiple-choice options to choose from but you can only select one response.
You can see examples of the questions when doing practice tests but you will likely find questions that relate to the following:
- You will be asked to decide whether an example test shape belongs to a certain shape set or with non
- You may be asked to select the next shape in the sequence or pattern
- Decide which shape completes the set
And similar related questions about patterns and shapes.
How can the UCAT help you to get into medical school?
Most universities hold the UCAT in high esteem, meaning there’s a lot of weight to getting a top UCAT score. Getting a standout score will give you a better chance of getting into the school of your choice.
In order to get yourself noticed amongst the thousands of other students applying this year, you’ll need to get a good UCAT score and to do that, you’ll need to know how the UCAT is scored and what happens with those scores afterwards. Most universities consider the UCAT as a heavy part of their decision in whether to invite a candidate to interview or not, so getting a high UCAT score is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of achieving your goal.
For each right answer on the UCAT test, you will be given one mark. Those scores are then converted into a scaled score for each section which will be between 300-600. Make sure you take a practice test at the beginning to assess where you are and calculate your overall score.
The UCAT is made up of five sub-sections but the overall number of questions is 228, therefore, there are 228 marks up for grabs, but the UCAT is out of 3600 once the scores are converted into scaled scores.
What UCAT score should you aim for?
If you’re wondering what UCAT score you need to study medicine, there is no baseline score needed to study but you should aim to get into the top 20% of scores, or the 80th percentile, when the scores are accumulated and compared. A score of above 2760 is usually enough to get the attention of medical school admission boards.
You’re more likely to get into the top 20% of scores with support from a tutor at The Future Medic and we specialise in helping you to get into the medical school of your choice, the first time.
A great way to boost your score is to make sure you do very well on the abstract reasoning part of the UCAT exam because it has a high number of questions. Get support with your preparation and contact us at The Future Medic.
How long is abstract reasoning in the UCAT exam?
The abstract reasoning sub-section of the UCAT exam is only 12 minutes long and you will be given 50 questions to answer in that time. You can’t extend that time on the section if you haven’t completed all of the questions so it’s important that you work quickly.
You will be required to analyse patterns and sequences in shapes, determine which shapes match a particular shape set, which shape would come next and decide which shapes don’t belong in the pattern.
Contact us at The Future Medic to get expert support with your UCAT exam, including the abstract reasoning section of the test and give yourself a better chance of success in the medical field.