UCAT Verbal Reasoning​

Advice & Insight From UCAT Specialists

21 minutes
44 items (11 passages)
Percentage of candidates who do not complete section: 18%

​Key Information

​UCAT Verbal Reasoning is the first of five sections and is made up of a 200-300 word passage followed by a set of four questions. These questions can follow one of two question formats:

Single Best Answer (Most Common)
According to the passage
Incomplete statements
Except Questions
Most Likely
True/False/Can’t Tell
True: On the basis of the information in the passage, the statement is true.
False: On the basis of the information in the passage, the statement is false.
Can’t Tell: You cannot tell  from the information in the passage  whether the statement is true or false

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​UCAT Verbal Reasoning Timing/Time Per Question

​Total Time Allowance = 21 Minutes
11 Passages with 4 Questions Each (ie. 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 Verbal Reasoning: Areas Being Tested

​Know what is present in the passage (relatively straightforward)
Know and be able to interpret the use of synonyms (Relatively challenging and requires a broad vocabulary)
Know what is being implied by the passage (Most challenging and requires significant practice)

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​UCAT Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions

​Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) includes a variety of procedures performed on people who have obesity. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch) or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).

Long-term studies show the procedures cause significant long-term loss of weight, recovery from diabetes, improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, and a reduction in mortality of 23% from 40%. However, a study in Veterans Affairs (VA) patients has found no survival benefit associated with bariatric surgery among older, severely obese people when compared with usual care, at least out to seven years.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends bariatric surgery for obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, and for people with BMI 35 and serious coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes. However, research is emerging that suggests bariatric surgery could be appropriate for those with a BMI of 35 to 40 with no comorbidities or a BMI of 30 to 35 with significant comorbidities. The most recent ASMBS guidelines suggest the position statement on consensus for BMI as indication for bariatric surgery. The recent guidelines suggest that any patient with a BMI of more than 30 with comorbidities is a candidate for bariatric surgery.

Post-surgery, overeating is curbed because exceeding the capacity of the stomach causes nausea and vomiting. Diet restrictions after recovery from surgery depend in part on the type of surgery. Many patients will need to take a daily multivitamin pill for life to compensate for reduced absorption of essential nutrients. Because patients cannot eat a large quantity of food, physicians typically recommend a diet that is relatively high in protein and low in fats and alcohol.

(Passage adapted from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bariatric_surgery)

1)  With regards to bariatric surgery:
A. There are four types of surgery available
B. There is a reduction in mortality of 23% from 40% in all patient groups.
C. The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends bariatric surgery for obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35
D. There is conflicting evidence with regards to the prognostic benefits of bariatric surgery.
E. Gastric bands have the best long term weight loss

2)  After bariatric surgery:
A. Efficient digestion is often impaired
B. Patients are advised to reduce the amount of food they ingest
C. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms immediately after surgery.
D. Alcohol is not recommended due to its detrimental effect on digestion.
E. Patients are likely to gain weight

3)  Based on the information in the passage:
A. Gastric banding involves removal of a portion of the stomach
B. ASMBS stands for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
C. Appetite is reduced after bariatric surgery.
D. Bariatric surgery is not currently used.
E. Bariatric surgery was first practiced in America.

4)  Which of the following statements can be inferred from the passage?
A. Gastric banding is a popular option for obese patients
B. Bariatric surgery is now more common than cosmetic surgery
C. Not all patients require dietary supplements following bariatric surgery
D. Bariatric surgery is conducted by gastroenterologists
E. The expense of bariatric surgery means that its use is likely to reduce with the proposed health spending cuts.

​UCAT Verbal Reasoning Practice Question Answers

​1)  Correct answer is D (There is conflicting evidence with regards to the prognostic benefits of bariatric surgery).
Option ‘D’ is correct and supported by the opposing findings in paragraph two. Whilst the passage mentions four types of bariatric surgery, it does not state that these are the only options available; meaning that option ‘A’ cannot be definitively concluded. Option B is incorrect as despite some long term studies agreeing with this, paragraph two states that a study in VA found opposing results, hence this mortality benefit is not present in ‘all groups’. The beginning of the third paragraph states that bariatric surgery is currently recommended for obese patients with a BMI of at least 40, making statement C incorrect. Option ‘E’ is unfounded and cannot be concluded based on the information provided.
2)  Correct answer is A (Efficient digestion is often impaired)
This question mainly relates to the final paragraph which states that absorption (a component of overall digestion) is reduced, hence supporting statement ‘A’. Option ‘B’ is incorrect as the last paragraph does not support this and instead implies that patients do not have the appetite to overeat due to the side effects. These side effects include nausea and vomiting which rather than being common after surgery, are problematic on over-eating making option ‘C’ incorrect. In relation to option ‘D’, the passage states that alcohol should be avoided after surgery; however the exact reason is not given or implied. Statement ‘E’ is not stated and would be surprising given the mentioned indications for bariatric surgery.
3)  Correct answer is C (Appetite is reduced after bariatric surgery)
This statement is supported by the final sentence which states ‘Because patients cannot eat a large quantity of food (ie. Appetite is reduced), physicians typically recommend…..’ We are told in the first paragraph that gastric banding involves reducing the size of the stomach, and cannot conclude if this is through removal of a portion of the stomach, making option ‘A’ unfounded. Whilst option ‘B’ may be correct, this is not mentioned anywhere in the passage. Option ‘D’ is clearly contradicted by the guidelines in the passage and option ‘E’ is not referred to.
4)  Correct answer is C (Not all patients require dietary supplements following bariatric surgery).
In the last paragraph it states that ‘Many patients will need to take a daily multivitamin pill..’ hence suggesting that not all patients require dietary supplementation. Options ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ are not discussed in any way making them unlikely inferences. 

​Why UCAT Verbal Reasoning?

​Doctors and dentists need excellent verbal reasoning skills in order to understand complex information and communicate this clearly and simply to patients is essential. Medical practitioners must also be able to interpret findings from published materials and apply this to their own practice. It is essential they are able to critique such materials and draw their own conclusion as to the validity of any findings.

Further Reading....

UCAT Verbal Reasoning​

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