UKCAT Test Strategies by Question Types:
These methods are only a suggestion. They are derived from years of practice and taking the test to achieve high scores. With practice, you should learn to adapt our strategy to best suit your approach.
True/False/Can’t Tell question-type
Quickly skim read passage – to get gist/create substructure of the information in the passage
Read question statement – pull out for keywords/qualifiers/substructure within statement
Scan for keywords or related keywords of question statement (synonyms/antonyms/paraphrases) in Passage
Make sure the information cannot be inferred from the existing text in the passage.
Decide upon correct response discounting possible options
Guess, Flag and Move on if unsure.
Reading comprehension question-type
Skim/read passage to get gist – appreciate substructure and mood of passage
Read question carefully – making sure you understand what exactly is being asked. Different questions have different requirements.
Look at each answer options one-by-one – relate to the passage
Sometimes two options will contradict each other – so one or the other is potentially correct
Guess, Flag and Move on if unsure.
Quantitative Reasoning question-types
Do first couple of questions – to get into the frame of mind of doing maths after the wordy verbal reasoning subtest
Then start assessing questions whether to flag or not to flag: this will be based on your ability
Be on your tip toes and flag intelligently
Attempt questions in your head – refrain from using calculator (the more proficient you are at mental mathematics the less time you’ll spend punching in the computer screen buttons – this is very time consuming; attempt to hold numbers in your head or on the given whiteboard)
Different strategies work for different people. The above strategy is the optimal one for most people. However if you find with practice you develop a better approach then adopt it. The benefit of practising is to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Do more of your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
Abstract Reasoning question-types
All question-types in this subtest depend on your ability to recognise patterns.
Ignore test shape or question
Focus on question stem (look at simplest box first, especially in Set A/B/Neither questions)
Normal versus Special patterns
For Normal patterns, proceed by using the mnemonic, NSPC (focusing on N-Number, S-Shape type, P-Position, C-Colour/Shade)
For Special patterns, focus on special/notable features (e.g. direction of arrows, angles, clock faces)
Make sure there are no secondary patterns (related, or unrelated)
Related i.e. check for conditional patterns
Unrelated i.e. common features include positioning of shapes
Stuck? Guess, Flag, Move On. Why? Because harder questions are seen earlier on to trip you up. Each subtest of questions do not get progressively more difficult question-after-question. If you find a question complex and taxing, it’s very likely there are easier questions later on. Of course, the difficulty of questions varies for each individual (you may find all the questions difficult!) In all, practising primes you. Improve your ability to tackle more challenging questions and also be able to better identify the ones you feel are time-consuming and those that you should skip.
Code to English question-type
This is the majority question-type for Decision Analysis, so you should focus on this when practising if you are short on time.
Translate literally – each and every code – use shorthand notations to quicken pace
Look at each answer option of English sentences and work to eliminate
Make sure the correct answer is the best fit:
Complete code coverage – all codes are accounted for in translation.
Code relationships by either adjacency or brackets are sound
No additional English translations
Avoid very literal translations
English to code question-type
Split English sentence into simpler parts
Identify key words used in English sentences that are accounted for in code sequence – eliminate those that omit these keywords
Look out for inclusion of unnecessary operators (Opposite Increase Future Top Positive), repeat use or even their omission where necessary.
Look out for erroneous relationships by incorrect use of adjacency and/or brackets
New codes question-type
Look at each individual ‘new word’
Identify any words that could be created from the current codes in the table – eliminate them
Prioritise potential candidates for choosing
Select the top two useful codes
Situational Judgement question-types
First you must realise that you may be tired from the past four subtests, take deep breaths during the one-minute introduction to replenish your brain with oxygen
Read the scenarios carefully – appreciate the core issues of the scenario
Identify the main protagonist i.e. the person doing the action that you are being assessed on
Respond first by deciding whether the action is appropriate or inappropriate (important or not important)
Then decide the graduation of appropriateness (or importance) if deemed appropriate (or important) or inappropriateness if deemed appropriateness
Respond with how you should respond, not how you would ordinarily.
Within the Situational Judgement test, full marks are awarded for an item if the response matches the correct answer and partial marks awarded if the response is close to the correct answer.
Raw scores for the Situational Judgement subtest are expressed in one of four bands, with band 1 being the highest. Alongside their band, candidates will be given an interpretation of this performance:
|Band 1||Those in Band 1 demonstrated an excellent level of performance, showing similar judgement in most cases to the panel of experts.|
|Band 2||Those in Band 2 demonstrated a good, solid level of performance, showing appropriate judgement frequently, with many responses matching model answers.|
|Band 3||Those in Band 3 demonstrated a modest level of performance, with appropriate judgement shown for some questions and substantial differences from ideal responses for others.|
|Band 4||The performance of those in Band 4 was low, with judgement tending to differ substantially from ideal responses in many cases.|
As the Situational Judgement test is a measure of non-cognitive attributes, it will be considered by universities in a different manner to the cognitive subtests. Please refer to their websites for more details.