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How To Score Highly In The Verbal Reasoning Section Of The UCAT

Is quantitative reasoning hard in the Ucat?

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the UCAT assesses your ability to use numerical skills to solve problems. It assumes familiarity with numbers to the standard of a good pass at GCSE. However, questions are less to do with numerical facility and more to do with problem-solving.

Doctors and dentists are constantly required to review data and apply it to their own practice.

For example, on a practical level, drug calculations based on patient weight, age, and other factors have to be correct. The consequences of a wrong calculation can be fatal and can result in you losing your medical license.

At a more advanced level, clinical research requires an ability to interpret, critique and apply results presented in the form of complex statistics. Universities considering applicants need to know they have the aptitude to cope in these situations.

For those applying from abroad, the GCSEs are exams that students aged 16 take at school. If you have sat maths exams or had maths lessons in your school running up to the age of 16, the chances are that you will have come across the material required to help you answer these questions.

However, if you haven’t, our fully comprehensive ‘ACE The UCAT’ course has all of the information that you need in order to smash Quantitative Reasoning.

How do you do well in Ucat quantitative reasoning?

Quantitative reasoning combines mathematical skills with problem-solving, and numerical information in questions is presented in a variety of formats. Information can be presented in graphs, charts, tables, Venn diagrams, and many more. This is one of the aspects that makes Quantitative Reasoning challenging.

Although, if you have done maths in the past remember that this is NOT a pure maths exam, but rather a problem-solving section that uses numbers and mathematical equations to solve questions that present information in a variety of ways. Some candidates get caught in the trap of the assumption that they’ll just be asked questions similar to those in GCSE. Don’t be one of them! Don’t underestimate this section. Instead, try to do as much as possible to maximize your score.

Quantitative Reasoning Format

The format of the Quantitative Reasoning is as follows:

– There are nine question stems

– Each question stem has four questions

– Which means that there are 36 questions in total

– There’s 1 min reading time solely for the instructions. Make sure to actually read the instructions for the upcoming section! Remember that you can’t look at the questions ahead or go back to the questions that you’ve previously attempted, so this is a good time to take a breath and compose yourself

– You have 23 minutes to answer questions

– This works out at around 40 seconds per question

About the questions themselves…

– Each question is multiple-choice with five possible answers

– Each question stem has information presented in a variety of formats such as:

– Tables and graphs

– Charts and pie charts

– Diagrams 

– 2-D and 3-D shapes

– Block of text

Each question stem will contain all the information needed to answer the 4 questions.

Although the timing may feel like more time than the other sections, it is still quite time-pressured, and one thing that we can all agree on is that it’s quite difficult to do math problems under time pressure. Quantitative Reasoning questions are a very slippery slope – it’s very easy to start panicking and lose your train of thought.

Some question stems may be shorter than others, but sometimes a lot of time is needed to work through each question stem.

What areas are included in the UCAT Test

These are in order of the most commonly asked:

– Basic arithmetic (1/3rd)

– Percentages 25%

– Averages 10%

– Ratios, decimals and fractions

– Common formulae: things like speed, distance and time – make sure to know your basic formulae!

– Geometric formulae, including 2D/3D geometry

However, on top of this, you have data interpretation and analysis, hence the onus is on you to extract the relevant information from the stem and assess it correctly. That is the main difference between UCAT and GCSE maths.

As stated above, it’s a problem-solving section, therefore logic and reasoning are being tested throughout. This is why it’s so important not to get caught out on the logic, even if you’re very good at crunching numbers. What makes this section even more challenging is that you have to perform these skills under time pressure.

If you’re already on our UCAT course, then don’t worry because we go through everything step-by-step using examples.

Approaching Quantitative Reasoning

The main Quantitative Reasoning method and some tips:

  1. The first thing you need to do is determine whether the question needs any calculations to be performed to be answered, or if you can just work it out/eliminate some options just by using logic alone. You may often have questions that look quite perplexing, with a lot of numbers, but then the question doesn’t require you to calculate these. Even if you can eliminate 1, 2 or even 3 answers this can make it much easier or give you a higher chance if you’re having to guess between two rather than five options
  2. Then you need to look at if there are any time-saving tricks that you can use. We come onto these on our UCAT course, but these are mainly things like memorizing equations, having good mental arithmetic skills or rules that will help speed you up. It is so important that you feel confident with basic mental arithmetic. The time to break the habit of relying on your calculator is now. It will be uncomfortable at first, but with a little bit of practice now by the time the exam rolls around, you all feel a lot more confident, which will equate to more time in the exam. Being able to perform mental maths is the key to maximizing your score in Quantitative Reasoning.
  3. Remember that if you need the calculator it’s available throughout the exam, however, it takes up much more time compared to mental maths.


Top Quantitative Reasoning tips:

– If you need to remember a number jot it down on your laminated sheet using a marker instead of the calculator memory function

– Although, if you want to use the memory function, use M+ to store memory and MRC to recall

– It’s important to be proficient in basic maths, especially in the tested areas mentioned above

Hopefully, this article gave you a better idea about the Quantitative Reasoning section of the UCAT!

The main takeaway is to make sure you practice your mental arithmetic and check our blog page weekly so that you don’t miss out on any further relevant articles, such as the ‘Top 10 Tips to Maximise Your Score in the Verbal Reasoning section of the UCAT’.