UCAT Calculator: 8.5 Ways to Master Your Primary QR Tool

UCAT Revision Tips

2021-06-16

Learn how to master the UCAT calculator, including an exciting new tool to build your speed to the absolute maximum!

The UCAT calculator can be a fiddle.

But whether you love it or hate it, you definitely need it. 

In this article we walk through some of the key ways to improve your performance and reveal an exciting new feature (see tip 2!).

Infographic with UCAT calculator tips

 

 1. Learn the shortcuts

Learn the following shortcuts to increase your speed in the QR section. It may not save much time, but even seconds can be valuable.

  • Alt+P : Previous question
  • Alt+N : Next question
  • Alt+F : Flag the current question

Calculator

  • Alt+C : Reveal the calculator
  • Number pad : Make sure num lock is on
  • ON/C : Backspace 

2. Try our new Calculator Skills Trainer

The UCAT Calculator Skills Trainer is out now, and is our answer to the time pressure in the QR section. Too many students lose marks, not because they don’t know the answers, but because they can’t work them out fast enough.

The Calculator Trainer works through targeted repetition. You are timed as you input calculations of varying complexity. This is then turned into a score. 

This builds calculator speed into your muscle memory, so you can work the calculator keys like a caffeine-fuelled jedi (even if you don’t drink coffee).

Remember, you only have around 40 seconds to answer each question, so speed is fundamental.

By the way, if you want to increase your speed in the VR section too, use our VR Inference Trainer. It is a one-of-a-kind tool which increases your ability to scan for the evidence for a question statement. 

You get both these tools with all UCAT subscriptions.

 

3. Use the number pad

It’s much faster to use the number pad than clicking numbers on the calculator with your mouse. Shaving off the seconds can really give you the edge in the QR section.

Buy a keyboard with a squared number pad if you have a laptop..

 

Number pad for the UCAT exam



4. Guesstimate effectively

Quick mental calculations are often necessary in UCAT Quantitative Reasoning. Remember, it is a multiple choice test, so you don’t need perfect accuracy. 

If your guesstimation takes you close to one of the options, select it and move on.

Doing this instead of using the calculator can be the difference between finishing the test and falling short.

The calculator can be used to sense check your calculations, if you have extra time.

 

5. Learn to calculate powers

The UCAT calculator does not have a square or power button. Learn your basic squares to overcome this.

An alternative to memorising is to write out the full sum and use a calculator. For example, if you have four to the power of five, you can write out five fours - as below- and group some numbers together to save time. 

How to calculate mathematical powers manually

6. Learn how the memory function works

You can store values temporarily by using the memory function. 

  • 'MRC': Recalls a stored value 
  • 'M+': Adds a value to memory
  • 'M-': Subtracts a value from memory

 M+ and MRC

if you want to recall a calculation, press ‘M+’ to store the number you are using in the calculator’s memory. This can then be reused at any point in the multi-step calculation by pressing ‘MRC’.

If you have to multiply by the product of 2 numbers, for example, this can really save time.

Take “(16 x 19)³”, for example. If you input “16x19” and press the M+ button, you can simply press “MRC x MRC x MRC”.

 Memory -

Use this to store the negative of an answer for later use in calculations. An “M” will appear to the left-hand side of the display to show that the answer has been stored.

 

7. Clear all when you make a mistake

On/C stands for On/Clear.

Use this to switch on the calculator, clear the display screen or cancel a whole equation.

For example, let’s say you wanted to divide “161 by 4”, but accidentally put in “5" instead of “4”, ON/Clear would get rid of the entire operation, then you would have to retype in “161 ÷ 4”.

UCAT calculator

 

 

8. Try as many UCAT Quantitative Reasoning questions as possible 

Reasons to maximise the number of questions. You can:


  1. Practice note taking to get it as efficient and neat as possible
  2. Learn about different question types and hone in on your weaknesses
  3. Build your data bank on Medify, allowing you to compare your score to your peers
  4. Solidify your ability to estimate quickly
  5. Revise concepts you may have forgotten from GCSE maths
  6. Familiarise yourself with the exam client
  7. Learn to pace yourself by using the timed practice mode or doing the mock exams

8.5 Try this UCAT QR question


A jeweller specialises in gold necklaces, which cost her £100 to make. She pays a £25,000 running cost at the beginning of every year, regardless of how many she sells.


During peak months (January, February & December), she can sell her necklaces at £180 each. At any other time of year they sell for £120. 


Each year she changes her designs and old designs decrease by 10% of their original price.


If she sells 1200 necklaces of a 2015 design in 2017, how many necklace designs would she have to sell to break even (in non-peak months)?

  • 1010
  • 1490
  • 373
  • 240
  • 560



Scroll down to see the answer:




Answer



The necklaces are 2 years old, so they are now worth 80% of their original value (non-peak months).


Price = 0.8 x 120 = £96


Each necklace costs £100 to make, so she’s losing £4.


Times the number of necklaces by the amount she loses from each one: 1200 x £4 = £4800.


Add the amount of running costs she must pay each year: £25000 + £4800 = 29800.

With each necklace sold in non-peak months she makes £20 profit, so divide through to find how many necklaces she must sell: 29,000/20 = 1490 necklaces.


Wrong answers:


1010 This is if you mistook the £4800 as profit and subtracted it from the running costs.


373 This is if you divided through by 80 (for peak months) rather than 20 (for non-peak-month profit).


240 In getting this, you forgot to add the running costs before dividing through to find the no. of necklaces.


(You get this level of feedback on every question with Medify’s UCAT course.)


For 20,000+ questions, the largest question bank in the world, 

get our UCAT preparation course.


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