How To Prepare For The UCAT Situational Judgement Section

Advice & Insight From UCAT Specialists


Before you begin practising online questions on the UCAT portal or other platforms, it would be helpful to read the Good Medical Practice, which the SJT is based on.

Budget your time wisely

Having acquired the basic knowledge needed for the SJT, you should give some thought into how important it is for your own application. This will vary from person to person — do not worry if your friend is more prepared or performs better on the SJT than you do, as their choice of medical schools may place greater emphasis on it. There is a limited amount of time you have to spend on the UCAT, and within the UCAT’s 5 sections it is important to know which you should prioritise. Most universities will treat the other 4 sections equally, but as the SJT is graded based on bandings and not scores, different universities will place different emphasis on the SJT. For example, for 2019 applications, St George’s did not give any weightage to SJT banding, but King’s College London did. If you have already narrowed down your choices, it may be useful to determine their relative emphasis on the SJT against the other subsections and allocate your time accordingly.

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Understand the context

Unlike for the Verbal Reasoning section, where the time per question is incredibly short and you must ‘speed read’, for the SJT, it is vital you read every key detail within the scenario. One of the most important things to do is to understand the exact position within the hierarchy which your point-of-view (POV) is in. Different POVs will have different responsibilites, roles and priorities. For example, a fourth-year medical student would not be able to break bad news, discuss medical details with patients or examine a patient without supervision, whilst a final-year medical student who has passed their clinical examinations may be able to take on more of these responsibilities (although wouldn’t be expected to break bad news etc.). If you are unfamiliar with the UK training system, it would be wise to learn about the various stages of training (FY, CT, ST etc) before you begin practising past questions, with the BMA website being an excellent resource for this.

Slow down your pace of questions

Unlike the other sections, this section is usually not considered very time-pressured. Most candidates will be able to finish the section and have more than enough time to review every single question (but do not fret if you are not one of those candidates!). While practising, it can be very tempting to start rapidly answering and reviewing each question, before moving onto the next one. However, you should try your best to not fall into this trap, as it is integral to the revision process that you spend enough time marking your answers and fully understanding the reason your answer was incorrect. This will help you considerably improve your score over time!

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Record your mistakes

You should create a document containing a list of questions/question types which you often get wrong. This will be useful as you can more easily identify your weak areas and practise those types of questions accordingly. You can also use this as a revision sheet to review just before you begin your examination, or during the journey there. Some questions may provide recommended answers which are seemingly contradictory. In such cases, you should try to understand the exact nuance of the different scenarios presented, so that you have a clear set of criteria for determining which set of answers to give when you are confronted with a similar question in the future.

Read all the answers before answering

For important/appropriateness questions: make sure you click through all the options before you begin to answer the first one. While the system makes the options appear one at a time, it is beneficial to see all the possible answers and rank them on your sheet of paper before you enter your answers into the system. While this is important for all sections, it is particularly important for the SJT as all the options which are given will have some kind of flaw or weakness. The key to the SJT is to weigh the pros and cons of each of the different options and rank their relative appropriateness/importance hence being able to compare the strengths and weaknesses of statements is vitally important!

How To Prepare For The UCAT Situational Judgement Section

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