Welcome to the fourth subsection of the UCAT: abstract reasoning. Many people find this section particularly challenging therefore here are my top tips to succeed in this subsection!
Look for commonality. Start by looking at the simplest box in each set and then move on to the next simplest and then so on. Eventually, you’ll find that there is something present in all of the six boxes. This could be a shape, the colour of a shape, or the position or rotation of a shape.
Make a list of ALL the patterns you come across. You will find that a lot of the patterns are repeated in the UCAT. Being able to instantly identify these patterns will save you invaluable time in the UCAT.
Use a mnemonic so that you have a strategical approach to identifying different patterns. The most useful one for me was quite unusual, but it covered just about everything that can come up in abstract reasoning. I found it on Medic Hero on YouTube. It is:
SPERM ROSE ARSE
Feel free to make up your own mnemonic though as you may find it easier to remember!
Know all the different question types in this subsection. These are:
Set A, Set B or neither. You will be given a box and you will have to identify if it belongs in either set or none of them.
Complete the series. You will have to look at an existing pattern and identify which box comes next.
Complete the statement. These come in the form of 'Shape A is to Shape B as Shape C is to Shape D' and you will have to identify what Shape D is.
Set A or Set B. You will have to identify which answer option matches Set A or Set B.
Be efficient with time. You only have 14 seconds per question so if you feel you are getting bogged down on one question, guess, flag and skip. There is no negative marking and you want to spend all that time getting the marks in the bag rather than wasting it.
Know the common types of shapes that come up and their properties. This includes their number of vertices, their number of sides and their interior and exterior angles. This will save time when spotting patterns.
Look at the question from different perspectives. This took me some time to get used to as it feels very unnatural. This subsection tries to trick you into missing things by including distracting and irrelevant content. By looking at things in different ways, and not just one, you are less likely to fall into this trap of deception.
I hope this was useful and I wish you well in your preparation! The final blog post will follow shortly and focuses on the situational judgment section of the UCAT.
Author: Iqra Ali
Editor: Allegra Wisking