UCAT Sections Explained & Essential Information

Advice & Insight From UCAT Specialists

The University Clinical Aptitude Test is a two hour multiple choice test taken at test centres around the UK. It is divided into five sections which test different academic skills. These skills are similar to sections in the 11+ exam children take for grammar school entry.  The sections are must be completed in order:

  1. Verbal Reasoning
  2. Decision Making
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Abstract Reasoning
  5. Situational Judgment

1. Verbal Reasoning

This section is a test of comprehension as you would find in an English exam. You are presented with a reading passage of around 300 words. The passage will be about a real world situation which you should scan the passage for specific details. There are five  types of question relating to the passage:

  1. True / False / Can’t Tell – Does the statement in the question follow or contradict the information in the reading passage?
  2. Incomplete statement – Complete the beginning of a sentence with one of four options.
  3. Conclusion or Inference – ‘According to the passage’ is followed by four statements and you must choose which statement best summarizes a detail from the passage.
  4. Exception – Choose the false statement from a set of four.
  5. Speculative – A statement should be selected as the most likely to be true according to the passage.

This section lasts around 22 minutes with 1 minute for reading. There are 11 reading passages with 4 questions for each, making a total of 44 questions.

2. Decision Making

This section is a test of rational thought and conclusion. It is the most varied section in the test. You are presented with a piece of text or a chart or a graph. There are six types of question in this section:

  1. Logic Puzzles – A short reading passage sometimes with an image. You are asked to analyse the facts to find which answer is correct from a set of four.
  2. Syllogism – A logical conclusion drawn from the text. Choose which answer logically represents the rules or facts in the text or graphic. Place Yes or No next to each of five choices.
  3. Interpreting Information – Similar Yes / No format to Syllogism but here you must choose if the answers represent a correct rewording of the information given.
  4. Recognising Assumptions – A solution to a problem is presented with four possible justifications. You must not make a personal choice but decide which is the most appropriate reason for the given solution.
  5. Venn Diagrams – A graphic represents how statistics overlap. Choose which sentence correctly identifies an overlap from four statements.
  6. Probabilistic Reasoning – A mathematical puzzle where you must calculate which statement correctly shows the correct probable outcome of two relative amounts.

This section lasts around 32 minutes with 1 minute for reading. There are 29 questions in this section.

3. Quantitative Reasoning

This section tests mental maths. You are presented with a graph or chart. You can also be presented with a combination of both. You must analyse data to calculate percentage difference  or  total amounts. Choose which option from five matches your calculation. This is where you can use your whiteboard and an onscreen calculator.

This section lasts around 25 minutes with 1 minute for reading. There are 36 questions.

4. Abstract Reasoning

This section tests your ability to recognize patterns. You are presented with a sequence of images, grouped by  amount, shape and colour. You should eliminate options to leave one answer. There are four types of question:

  1. Does the answer image belong to Set A or Set B?
  2. Does the answer image represent the next logical step in a sequence?
  3. Does the answer image agree with a given statement?
  4. Does the answer statement agree with a given set or sequence?

This section lasts around 14 minutes with 1 minute for reading. There are 13 sets of images with a total of 55 questions.

5. Situational Judgment

This section is a test of ethical integrity. You are presented with a clinical scene and are given a list of possible actions to take in response to the situation. There are two types of question:

  1. You are given the action taken by a person and you must decide if the action is:  very appropriate / appropriate / inappropriate / very inappropriate
  2. You are given a set of actions and must rate them according to importance.

This section lasts around 27 minutes with 1 minute for reading. There are 22 scenes and a total of 69 questions. This section is not marked like other sections, rather by a band level.

Familiarise yourself with the above sections and choose a strategy for each. This way you can save time on the day and successfully complete your UCAT examination.

 Assad Masud 01/21

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