UCAT Timings: How to Tackle the Hardest Part of the Exam

UCAT Revision Tips

2021-07-06

Imagine ball bearings dropping into a metal bucket. As each one drops it clangs and sends a shiver down your spine.

Your heartbeat quickens and your eyes keep glancing over to the bucket.

This is what the UCAT exam can feel like if you walk in unprepared for the time pressure. In fact, given that only around ⅓ of applicants get into medical school in the UK (¼ for dental school), getting on top of this is essential. 

Find out how to get into medical school.

Why are UCAT timings important?

  • The exam is deliberately time-pressured as a way of differentiating students. Timing is one of the main ways you can improve with practice.
  • Learning how to ‘play the game’ intelligently can boost your score without any additional knowledge.
  • Being short of time creates stress, which leads to poorer performance. Regular practice keeps you cool and focused.

Medify just updated the UCAT question bank to 20,000 questions - by far the largest in the world. Get the course now to give yourself time to prepare.

For free practice questions, find out about free UCAT tests and resources.

UCAT test time

The UCAT is a 2-hour computer-based assessment with 5 sections. Some are more time pressured than others, but all require speed of thought and strategy.

Find out about the average UCAT score for each section.

UCAT section times



UCAT Verbal Reasoning illustration

Verbal Reasoning timing

Minutes: 21

Questions: 44

The key to timing in Verbal Reasoning is how quickly you can interpret written information. This is arguably the most time-pressured section, with only 28 seconds per question and very large texts to read.

Get tips to master VR timing

Try our VR Inference Trainer (free with all UCAT subscriptions

UCAT Decision Making illustration

Decision Making timing

Minutes: 31

Questions: 29

Decision Making has some easy questions you will breeze through, and some that could trap you and lose you time. The main issue is the variety of possible questions. This is a great place to focus your practice and work on creating solid routines.

Get UCAT Decision Making tips

Quantitative Reasoning timing

Minutes: 24

Questions: 36

One of the keys to QR timing is mastering the UCAT calculator and knowing when and  when not to use it. Part of this is improving your ability to guesstimate at speed to save time.

Get tips for UCAT Quantitative Reasoning
Learn how to use the QR calculator 

UCAT Abstract Reasoning illustration

Abstract Reasoning timing

Minutes: 13

Questions: 55

Once you have mastered the different types of recurring problems in this section, it should pose a timing issue. The article below outlines the SCANS mnemonic and some other tricks to save time.

Master UCAT Abstract Reasoning timing

UCAT Situational Judgement (SJT) illustration

Situational Judgement timing

Minutes: 26

Questions: 69

You have 69 questions to answer in 26 minutes. Some questions may just be reading a short text and marking an action as “appropriate” or “inappropriate”, others take more thought.

Good exam technique can prevent you getting stuck on questions and coming unstuck. 

Get UCAT SJT tips.


Medify's UCAT mock timing statistics

Medify's Online UCAT Course features mock timing statistics, where you are able to view all your timings and scores for each question:

Screenshot of Medify's new UCAT mock timing statistics

This allows you to compare your time-per-question data across all sections of your mock exams and gives you a comparative view of the average time Medify users take to reach a correct answer. 

Your weaknesses can easily be spotted via this new feature that shows your exact strengths and weaknesses.

Summary

Timing is critical to performing well in the UCAT. VR is often considered to be the hardest section in terms of timing. Read our tips and tricks articles above to create your revision plan.

Ultimately, the best way to improve your timing is by doing timed UCAT practice questions. Medify has over 20,000 - the largest UCAT question bank in the world.

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