UKCAT decision making overview

The Decision-Making subtest can seem intimidating, or just strange. It’s part mathematics, part logic, part riddle. But there are concrete strategies for tackling each of the question-types, and that’s what I’ll discuss further here in this blog.

The Decision Making subtest of the UKCAT has 29 questions to be answered in 31 minutes. This works out nicely at just over a minute per question. How long you spend on each question will vary widely by question-type. For simple Venn diagram analysis or basic probability questions you should be spending no more than twenty to thirty seconds per question. But for tough Conclusion-picking or Logic Puzzle questions, you will be spending more like sixty to eighty seconds per question.

Realistically, you may have to guess a couple of the questions. If you find yourself in that position, don’t panic and don’t guess randomly. Guess a difficult logic puzzle or convoluted conclusion-drawing question. These are far more likely to take up your time rather than a simple probability or Venn diagram question.

So, what are the question-types?

1. Shape equations 

These are akin to equations to be solved, with substitution being the ideal method. These types of questions should take you between forty to sixty seconds.

2. Conclusion-drawing 

These are challenging questions requiring keyword tracking and deductive reasoning. These types of questions should take you between sixty to eighty seconds.

3. Logic puzzles

These are akin to riddles and involve using tunnel-vision to focus on the most mentioned name or category. These types of questions should also take you between sixty to eighty seconds.

4. Analyse the Venn Diagram 

These are the easiest questions if you have a good working knowledge of Venn diagrams. Therefore, they should only take you between twenty to forty seconds.

5. Pick the Venn Diagram 

These are slightly harder than analysing the Venn diagram. The best method is elimination. So, I would recommend that you spend between forty to sixty seconds on this style of questions.

6. Basic probability

These are the second-easiest questions, though they require confidence with converting fractions and percentages and are best tackled with the affirmative simplifying approach. These types of questions should take you between twenty to forty seconds.

7. Find the best argument 

Some students find these questions hard because the answers seem so subjective. But don’t worry - there is a strategy for solving them. Remember to focus on objectivity and completeness. I would recommend spending between forty to sixty seconds on these questions.

If you’re interested in learning more about the question types covered in the Decision Making section of the UKCAT, theMSAG offers an online UKCAT course. Now that I’ve come to the end of this blog post, I hope that you can see that the Decision-Making subtest can actually be one of the most approachable. I appreciate that these questions may appear tricky but with learning the theory and techniques you should start to develop some confidence. However, remember that there’s only so much you can learn in theory before you just need to learn through practice. If you would like to practice these questions more, our Online Question Bank is coming soon, where you can sign up for access to over 1000 UKCAT questions.



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