7 UCAT (UKCAT) Time Saving Tips

Written By Doctors Scoring In The Top  UCAT Decile

Time Aware-Time Efficient

How long do you have for each UCAT question? This answer should be at the tip of your tongue; the main reason for poor UCAT performance is a lack of time awareness. Let’s break it down and make this tip one to remember:

UCAT Verbal Reasoning
21 Minutes, 44 Questions
 Time for each Passage & Set of 4 Questions = 2 minutes (or just under)
Passage Reading Time: 45-60 Seconds
Time for each question = 15 seconds

UCAT Decision Making
31 Minutes
29 Questions
Time for each question = 
64 Seconds

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning
24 Minutes
36 Questions
Time for each question = 40 Seconds

UCAT Abstract Reasoning
13 Minutes
11 Sets with 5 Shapes/Questions for Each (ie. 55 Questions)
Time for each question =
12 Seconds

UCAT Situational Judgement
26 Minutes
69 Questions
Time for each question = 22 Seconds

Know Your Critical Timescales

For each section, you need to have a ‘critical timescale’. This is the absolute maximum timescale that can be spent on a single question; given that each question is weighted equally, there is no benefit to spending three minutes on tougher questions, when alternative questions can be completed in 15 seconds. You can determine your own critical timescales (based on the timeframes above), or attend a BlackStone Tutors UCAT Course and we’ll provide you with our recommended critical timescales such as the ‘1 Minute Rule for Quantitative Reasoning’.

Guess, Flag & Review

​So you’ve reached your critical timescale, and still don’t have an answer – ‘Guess, Flag & Review’.

A calculated guess based on a range of factors including details in the question and answer skewing. Students attending UCAT Courses will receive our UCAT Guide highlighting how to make the most of your UCAT guesses/estimations.


Time-permitting, at the end of each section you will be presented with the review screen which will allow you to re-attempt any questions, with those flagged and not attempted highlighted.

Always Practice Under Timed Conditions

Through reflecting the exam setting in practice, you can minimise the time pressure of the actual examination. Whilst practicing under timed conditions is one way of doing this, there are several other strategies to also consider:

Online UCAT Calculator
Official UCAT Platform
Whiteboard & Pen (No A4 Pukka Pads)
Quiet (preferably computer based) Environment, with no Instagram, Facebook, Twitter accessible!

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Keyboard Shortcuts

A simple way to save valuable time; so useful that we made a separate page for it, which can be found here

Time-Efficient Techniques

Essential to succeeding in the UCAT, are a range of Section-Specific Time Efficient Techniques. Our Intensive UCAT Courses are focused on teaching you a range of our trusted techniques, including the following:
Verbal Reasoning: SBA v T/F/CT
The 6 Dimensions of UCAT Decision Making
Quantitative Reasoning: Practice v Perfection
The 3 Step Approach to Abstract Reasoning & NASSSS
Situation Judgement: GMC Guidelines & Key Principles
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