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What is the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)

MAR 09, 2021

What is the UCAT?

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a university admissions test that is now in Australia, New Zealand and abroad for admission into a range of health science courses. This includes medicine and dentistry.

The UCAT consists of a:

  • 2 hour computer-based test
  • Consists of 5 separately-timed subtests
  • Consists only of multiple choice questions
  • There are no breaks between subtests except for a short introduction

Candidates are able to choose when to sit the test from a range of permissible dates. Results will be made available instantly upon finishing the UCAT.

UCAT Sections Breakdown

The UCAT tests 5 different abilities: Verbal reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement. These are reflected in the 5 subtests:

UCAT section timing breakdown
SubtestQuestionsTimeTime Per Question
Verbal Reasoning441 min instruction 21 min test time29 second per question
Decision Making291 min instruction 31 min test time64 seconds per question
Quantitative Reasoning361 min instruction 24 min test time40 seconds per question
Abstract Reasoning551 min instruction 13 mins test time14 seconds per question
Situational Judgement691 min instruction 26 min test time25 seconds per question

The UCAT tests high-order thinking skills under intense time pressure. With our insight-oriented curriculum, individualised tutorial packages and adaptive learning software, we can support every student with their UCAT preparation.

Deep-dive into the UCAT

Our educational experts and consultants analyse the 5 abilities, what they actually are and break them down into core competencies required for each.

UCAT Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is the ability to comprehend, analyse, synthesise and drawing conclusions textual information. This is applying critical reasoning to written content.

In this section of the UCAT, expect to see: 11 textual excerpts with 4 questions each These questions are based only on nonfiction texts and do not feature poetry, comics or fictional work

Core Competencies:

  • Recognising information types

Understanding what is a statement, an opinion and a fact. It’s important to also understanding the differences between hypothetical explanations and

  • Discerning truth and certainty

Understanding that the grey between the dichotomy of true and false in written information. Being able to understand

  • Drawing grounded conclusions

Understanding the conclusions we make from texts have to be grounded in the information provided. It is pivotal to be aware of core assumptions we make as well as the cognitive biases that subconsciously cloud our conclusions.

For more detailed analysis and a thorough examination of the Crimson Core Competencies, join our UCAT program!

UCAT Decision Making

In the UCAT, decision making refers to an umbrella of related abilities centred on drawing conclusions from diverse complicated sources of information.

Data interpretation from text, charts, tables, graphs and other diagrams as well as an understanding of logical argumentation are key for this section.

In this section, expect questions that:

  1. Require you to understand chains of logical reasoning
  2. Require to understand what makes argument good or bad
  3. Require you to identify salient information from crowded sources and then draw conclusions from them

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative reasoning is more than numbers and mental arithmetic. It is focused on sound reasoning which is grounded in numbers: statistics, figures, costs. All candidates will have access to an on-screen calculator.

In this section, there will be 9 Scenarios with 4 questions each. Expect questions that:

  1. Test your comfort with using numerical information to make conclusions
  2. Test your data interpretation from a variety of graphical sources
  3. Test core mathematical concepts such as measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode)

UCAT Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoning tests the ability to discern, analyse and synthesise information which is unbounded from language and linguistic skills.

Students must be efficient in iterative thinking: the ability to constantly generate hypotheses and modify them dependent on their success.

In this section, expect questions that:

  1. Expect you to identify similarities and differences between images. a. Identify which family of images to which an individual belongs b. Identify an individual image which belongs to a family (the inverse of the above)
  2. Expect you to choose an image which best completes a sequence.
  3. Expect you to identify relationships between composite images.

UCAT Abstract Reasoning Type 1 Example Questions: Choose the Set

Candidate is given two sets with several examples which follow a particular pattern. They are then asked to determine if several shapes fit Set A, Set B, or neither.

Ucat 1Abstract Reasoning Type 2: Choose which belongs

Ucat 2Abstract Reasoning Type 3: Complete the Series

Ucat 3Abstract Reasoning Type 4: This is to that

Ucat 4

Complete the Sequence, This to That and Match the Question to the Family questions all display aspects of core competencies required. For a more detailed analysis and a thorough examination of Core Competencies, join our UCAT program!

UCAT Situational Judgement

Situational judgement testing (SJT) has been a part of admissions processes for more than 4 years in Australia and New Zealand. It has now been subsumed into the UCAT process and will not be a standalone as previously.

Testing on situational judgement focuses on clinical scenarios that involve university and medical students. Through these scenarios, candidates’ integrity and ability to respond in difficult settings is evaluated. Broadly, SJT seeks to evaluate the emotional intelligence (EQ) that is more applicable to future careers in health sciences.

In this section, expect questions that:

  1. Requires you to evaluate the appropriateness of different responses to scenarios, and to rank them from most to least appropriate.
  2. Require to stratify the what most important responses are to a scenario
  3. Requires you to understand the consequences of decisions in the immediate, short and long-term
  4. Requires you to understand that an individual's motives and intentions are reflected in their overall behaviour
  5. Requires you to evaluate paralinguistic cues in assessing behaviour

Next Steps

The UCAT is an important exam that is key to medical school admission for undergraduates. We recommend starting your UCAT preparation early and integrating it into your study-load to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. If you’d like to learn more about the UCAT or getting into Australian Medical Schools, check out our free eBooks and blogs we’ve written!

MedView offers a range of UCAT preparation courses as well as personalised 1:1 tutoring with our expert team. If you would like to know more about the UCAT and how MedView can help, get in touch today.

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Start your UCAT preparation today! Get in touch to learn more about how MedView can help.