Top 5 UCAT Abstract Reasoning Tips
UCAT · April 12, 2019 Miss Giulia Bankov
Giulia is a graduate medical student at the University of Glasgow. She previously studied Neuroscience at King's College London and completed her Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology degree at the University of Amsterdam
One of the most dreaded subsections of the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is undoubtedly the Abstract Reasoning. The ability to spot patterns from a set of unknown information is an important skill for everyone looking to get into medical school or studies medicine and the AR section of the exam tests exactly that ability.
UCAT Abstract Reasoning timing
|Time||Number of Questions|
|13 Minutes||55 Questions|
In the Abstract Reasoning, you will have 13 minutes to answer 55 questions, each associated with sets of shapes. You will usually be asked whether the given test shape fits in Set A, Set B or in neither, or what the next shape in the series of shapes provided is going to be. For more information on the Abstract Reasoning subtest, be sure to check out UCAT Consortium’s official website guidelines.
Always start simple
The important thing to remember when dealing with Abstract Reasoning questions is that the rule must hold true for every single box, even the simplest ones. So by starting with the simplest box, even if it contains only one or two shapes, you will know that those shapes have to conform to the pattern. It is a lot easier to spot this pattern in the simple boxes, as that means there are less or no distractors in there at all. Once you have identified what you might think is the pattern, check against the rest of the boxes in that same set - if they conform to the pattern too, you have discovered the correct answer.
Be able to recognise patterns
Start slow… but pick it up as you go
Learn to spot the distractors
The UCAT and especially the Abstract Reasoning section loves to throw the occasional curveball at you with unnecessary information that is meant to distract you from your goal, which is finding the pattern. Often the difference between a good score and a great score is your knowledge not only into what techniques can lead you to the correct answer but insight into what the common traps are. So make notes as you go through practice tests of what common traps you come across and remember to look out for them on test day.
Practice makes perfect
You’ve heard this before and you will probably hear it again - but practice is the key to a high UCAT score. The more you see and study these patterns before test day, the wider variety of patterns you will have come across and the higher the chances that you will be able to spot a familiar pattern on the actual exam. Practising loads in advance will also make you more comfortable with the format of the exam and when the day comes, you will be ready to ace the Abstract Reasoning subtest of the UCAT.
For practising Abstract Reasoning and other subtests of the UCAT, theMSAG offers a comprehensive UCAT Course with loads of opportunities to practice tricky questions. We hope you found these tips for the UCAT Abstract Reasoning section helpful and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@theMSAG.com.