The UKCAT currently consists of five sections, each with a different number of questions, question style and marking system. These are: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement.
Each section aims to test a different component of cognition. Verbal reasoning, for example, tests your ability to quickly process information by answering comprehension questions based on short passages. In similar fashion, quantitative reasoning aims to test your mathematical abilities, whereas abstract reasoning tests your ability to recognise patterns and abstract logic. Situational judgement tests your judgement of medically relevant situations. Finally, decision making is a new section that aims to test your ability to apply logic to specific situations to reach a decision or conclusion.
|Section||Time (+1 minute for instructions)||Number of Questions|
|Verbal Reasoning||21 minutes||44 questions on 11 passages|
|Decision Making||31 minutes||29|
|Quantitative Reasoning||24 minutes||36|
|Abstract Reasoning||13 minutes||55|
|Situational Judgement||26 minutes||69 on 20 scenarios|
As noted, each section also has an extra minute for instruction, but you can’t look at any of the questions during that time, so it’s best used to rest and should not be factored into the actual test time. As is clear, for many of the sections, you will have less than a minute per question, which is why it’s so important to practise, so you will be caught off guard and have prepared strategies for each test. With some practise, the time is manageable and can be used to your advantage to gain an edge!
The marking for each section can differ. As of 2016, only the verbal, quantitative and abstract reasoning sections are marked out of 900, although this isn’t directly calculated from your percentage score. Rather, it is standardised so that the average for each section is around 600, although the actual average can vary slightly per year. The situational judgement section, in comparison is marked in bands, where band 1 is the highest and band 4 is the lowest. Finally, decision making is a new section this year and so the results are not released and universities are not told about your performance on them.