Welcome to the third subsection of the UCAT: quantitative reasoning (essentially the maths subsection of the UCAT). This section is your chance to gain some of the easiest marks as it is the highest-scored subsection of the test. Without further ado let’s dive into the tips that helped me succeed!
Brush up on GCSE/National 5 (for Scottish candidates) level maths skills. These will be your best friend during the test as they will save you a lot of time! The most common topics covered include percentages, rates, averages and simple calculations involving unit conversions so it is important to focus on these skills!
Use mental maths where possible! Using a calculator can be time-consuming so use sparingly. You only have 25 minutes to answer 36 questions - that is about 41 seconds a question so time is precious! If you feel that a question is taking too long then have a guess, flag it and skip to an easier question. All questions carry the same number of marks so do not worry if you don’t have time to answer a question. If you do have spare time at the end review any flagged questions.
Practice using the digital calculator. It is a very basic calculator however, as previously indicated, takes time to use. To avoid wasting time clicking individual numbers you can use the number pad on the right-hand side of the keyboard. Other useful keyboard shortcuts (that were a lifesaver for me!) include:
These shortcuts are very useful in multi-step questions and help you avoid repeating the same calculation multiple times and/or having to make notes as you complete individual calculations within one question.
Make a list of the common equations you come across in your preparation and note those that you find more challenging. I noticed that area, volume, speed and time equations came up frequently and so knowing these equations well was very useful.
Understand tax brackets and compound interest. Initially, when I saw these kinds of questions, I found them very intimidating, and because of this I often overcomplicated things. However, after spending some time on these questions and making sure I had a methodical approach to answering them, I became much more confident and realised they were much simpler than I thought! There are many guides available on YouTube which provide step-by-step guidance as to how to solve these.
Make use of the whiteboard given to you. It can be handy to write down numbers you may have to use in a calculation later and will prevent you from forgetting the answer to calculations you may have already done that may help you find the solution to the question.
Practice, practice, practice! This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. You can then tailor your time accordingly, spending more time on the questions you find more difficult and less on those you are already fairly comfortable with.
I wish you luck during your preparation and hope these tips help to optimise your UCAT quantitative reasoning score! Do look out for the next post on abstract reasoning!
Author: Iqra Ali
Editor: Allegra Wisking