How Should I Prepare For UCAT Decision Making
Advice & Insight From UCAT Specialists
Understand the question types
section of the UCAT exam.
All the six question types require you to use logic and unpack data. Let’s have a look at the question types by dividing them into 2 sections.
- Syllogisms – find out whether the statements follow from the information given.
- Maths – probabilities and percentages.
- Logic puzzles – apply rules to a sequence or match information to the truth.
- Venn diagrams – understand a diagram and apply your mathematical knowledge.
- Strongest arguments – select answer that correctly complements the terms of the question
- Inference – what statements are true based on data.
These questions can often be lengthy and feel as though you need to spend more than 1 minute on them however, it is important to time yourself and ensure you do NOT spend more than the allocated time.
Use the whiteboard
While answering the Decision Making questions, it may be useful to use your whiteboard to ensure that you do not forget anything and use symbols or annotations to make it easier for you when answering questions. You may draw out simplified tables, Venn diagrams and charts to assist you and utilise the facilities made available to you.
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Use the official practice
Using the official practice questions from the UCAT website will by far be one of the best preparations for all types of questions in different sections as they are the closest you will get to the real thing. Therefore, utilise this resource extensively for the Decision Making questions to familiarise yourself with the questions that I outlined earlier.
Know your mistakes
As outlined before there are 6 types of Decision-Making questions. It is so important to understand that each question is marked equally regardless of their difficulty. To ensure you get the highest number of marks, ensure that while you are practising decision making questions that you are under a timed environment so that you are used to the time pressure you are under.
As well as this, make a clear note of the mistakes you have made and what type of decision-making question it was. You can do this easily using a Google Sheets, Excel or pen and paper by making a simple tally chart. You will then be able to visualise where you make the most mistakes and focus on these questions by practising them even more. Do not neglect these, even if you find them hard, I know it is tempting!
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Diagrams and Maths
A large part of the decision-making section is understanding Venn Diagrams. The best way to familiarise yourself is to have a look at some GCSE questions from a website such as BBC Bitesize.
They may not be classic Venn Diagram questions where there are circles, there can be questions of different sizes and shapes but the key thing to look out for is where these shapes overlap with one or more parts of other shapes.
Ensure that you are able convert the words into shapes. For example, if there is a star representing painting and a circle representing walking, a question asking, ‘How many people like painting and walking?’, you can automatically convert this to ‘Star + Circle’. This will help you avoid making mistakes and missing vital information.
Most of the maths questions will be involving percentages and probability, so again – ensure that you are familiar with these by refreshing your memory with some GCSE knowledge of these topics.
To keep it simple, use fractions for your probability questions as this will often be enough for you to eliminate or calculate the correct answer, and saves time.
Do not leave questions unanswered
The UCAT exam is highly time pressured, therefore you are likely to need to flag some questions and move on. With Decision Making, ensure that you always still mark an answer, and then flag it, so that there is a chance that your answer is correct. The UCAT is not negatively marked, so there will not be any consequences if your answer is incorrect. However, as some sections may take time such as DM and VR, it will be difficult to completely immerse yourself into the question for the second time, therefore have a good attempt or guess at your first go.