In this article, we will discuss the approach and tips to verbal reasoning in the UCAT. In this test, the candidate has 21 minutes to answer 44 questions.
Theoretical understanding of how to approach the section is necessary. Candidates must first of all understand the rationale for this section of the exam. Secondly, candidates must understand the various types of questions that can be asked, be able to identify these styles of question, and develop and implement a specific approach to each style of question. This passive learning can be achieved by reviewing the aforementioned styles of questioning and researching them online.
Better still, a formal UCAT preparation course or program such as the METC Institute UCAT Verbal Reasoning Course will be able to assist with this. Armed with a basic understanding of the types of questions that may be asked, it is time for candidates to move away from passive learning and commit to active learning tasks. For Section I, these include the following:
- Completion of practice exams under examination conditions
- Review of practice exams
- Remediation of areas requiring improvement based on review of practice exams
The above three steps are important to be completed in a cyclic manner. In this way, candidates take a reactive approach to improving their performance. For instance, after completion of the passive learning (theory) tasks pertaining to Verbal Reasoning section of the exam, a candidate may then complete a practice examination. After completion of this exam, at a minimum the candidate should review the exam and note the questions they were unable to answer including those they answered incorrectly and those they had to guess.
Ideally, the candidate will review the entire exam and for each of the 44 questions categorise them according to question type. From here the candidate should keep a running tally of the types of questions they have attempted, and their percentage success rates for each. As time goes on, trends will develop which orient remedial activities. For instance, a candidate may observe their success rates to be lower for questions requiring a broader vocabulary, or specific types of writing such as in poetry or literature. The candidate can then specifically address this weakness by seeking out further resources to assist.
As well as recording the types of questions attempted and success rates, for incorrect responses candidates should record the reason for their inability to answer. This can be for many reasons, however it is important that this is recorded. Even for simple things like misreading a question, it is important candidates record this mistake. By reviewing this information regularly, candidates are much less likely to make the same mistake again.
To implement this continuous improvement process, it is necessary to have access to many practice questions and formal strategies from a professional preparation company. These strategies will be discussed in more detail in next week’s webinar.