The verbal reasoning part of the UCAT exam is often considered the most time-pressured part of the test. With multiple passages to read and the pressure of forming a logical conclusion for each one, the purpose of this sub-test is to see how you think under pressure, just as you would as a medical student.
To be successful, you will need to practice and that also means having a good understanding of the test as a whole and how each section, including verbal reasoning, contributes to the test as a whole. At the Future Medic, we want you to succeed and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
Preparing for the UCAT
If you’re considering applying to medical school, you should already be thinking about the UCAT exam. To take the UCAT, you will need to book it, pay the cost of the test online and you will need to take the exam the year before you’re due to start medical school.
The UCAT exam is likely going to be the most challenging exam you have taken so far. It will be very different from your A Levels or GCSEs, so you’ll need to revise well in advance to give yourself the best chance of scoring high enough to get through to the next stage of the application process.
UCAT preparation can be time-consuming, but knowing how long you should revise for each day or how many questions you do per day will depend on how early you started to prepare for the test and what your starting point is. The first thing you should do is take a practice UCAT test to familiarise yourself with the format and the difficulty and investigate your strengths and weaknesses.
The UCAT format
The UCAT exam is unlike any other test you will have taken before, and yes, the UCAT is designed to be hard, which is why serious preparation is needed to get a good score. Don’t be surprised if the first time you take a practice UCAT test, you can’t finish all of the questions in the allotted time or if your score is low. This is to be expected.
To score highly on the UCAT test, good preparation is needed and that includes having a sound understanding of the test formal, including the timings and the sub-sections. 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.
If you don’t finish the number of questions within a given section in the allotted time, you won’t be able to go back to that section. Once the time is up on one of the sub-tests, you will be moved on to the next.
The exam is designed to put you under pressure and to test the attributes needed to be successful in the medical world. The UCAT exam will put you under strain and test how well you do under the time and pressure.
Here, we will discuss the verbal reasoning part of the test in a little more detail.
This part of the test requires you to think logically whilst under time pressure, just as you would as a medical student and beyond. You must read the information presented to you and draw a conclusion. The information presented to you will be around 200-300 words per question, which often makes it the most time-pressured part of the whole exam.
For the verbal reasoning section of the UCAT exam, you will be given 11 passages to read and each one will have 4 questions to answer. This means you will have a total of 44 questions to answer in only 21 minutes. Some questions may require a true or false answer, some could be a multiple choice and others will require a detailed, written answer.
Each year, the verbal reasoning section of the test usually delivers the lowest scores compared to the other sections, so to boost your score, it’s worth spending more time on this area.
Getting a good UCAT score
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.
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.
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.
Get help with UCAT preparation
We understand that starting UCAT preparation can be daunting, and it’s difficult to know where to start. Even after taking your first practice exam, it can be challenging to analyse your score and track your progress. But there is a solution because, at The Future Medic, we have qualified and experienced UCAT tutors to help you succeed.
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. As soon as 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 long is verbal reasoning in the UCAT exam?
The verbal reasoning exam is only 21 minutes long, and you are required to read 11, 200-300 word passages and answer 4 questions for each one. This means you will have 44 questions in total to answer under the time restraints of this section. This sub-test often needs the most preparation because it requires candidates to think logically, under pressure and form sound conclusions.
To increase your chances of getting into the medical school of your choice, contact us to find out more about how our tutors can help.