How To Prepare For UCAT Verbal Reasoning
Advice & Insight From UCAT Specialists
Practise as much as possible under timed conditions. While this section is highly time-pressured, it is also the most rewarding to do well in as it is the section most candidates are the weakest in. Check how your dream medical schools use the results of the UCAT – do they look at the overall score or the individual scores of each component? If it is the latter, it is even more reason for you to focus your attention on VR, if is it the former, then your time may be better spent working on the other UCAT components.
Process of Elimination
Rely on the “process of elimination” as you run through the possible MCQ answers. There will be a reason each of the answers was given as an option – is it correct save for one word? Is the statement made in the article, but then later refuted? Did a source whose reputation is later questioned claim it to be true? Be as meticulous as you possibly can be within the short time frame, as most of the answers will seem plausible, yet are false.
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Practise reading large sections of text in a short period of time. Should you run out of questions to practise, another resource might be the SAT/ACT reading section, as this section often features incredibly verbose and complicated passages which are designed to confuse the candidates.
Beware of Absolutes
When in doubt, be wary of any answers which contain absolute words, such as “always”, “definitely”, “never” or “completely”. These often capitalise on the fact that the statement is true for most cases, but some exceptions are mentioned deep within the article.
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Flag & Review
Do not be afraid to flag questions for review later on. You have only 28 seconds per question (including reading time), making this the one of the most time-pressured components of the UCAT. If you are running out of time, simply guess the answers for the type of questions which you know you are weak in, or the questions which require a longer time to answer. For example, this could be a question which asks “Which of the following is NOT true…?” and therefore requires you to meticulously eliminate each of the options, rather than being able to choose the correct answer outright.
Keep Calm & Stay Focused
Remember to stay calm on the day itself – this is the very first component of the UCAT, and part of the reason it is the hardest to score is because candidates often find themselves feeling flustered by the novelty of it all. Give yourself some time to regain your composure before you click the “start” button.