How to Answer UCAT Decision-Making Questions

The UKCAT Decision Making section is a relatively new section introduced in 2016. It replaces what was formerly known as the Decision Analysis sub-test. As a result, there is relatively limited amount of preparation and practice questions available. In this article, we will look at what to look for when picking a resource to practice questions.

Author: Michael O. Carter

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WRITTEN BY MICHAEL O. CARTER, THE FOUNDER OF THEUKCATBLOG & WRITER OF THE UKCAT STUDY GUIDE

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The UKCAT Decision Making section is a relatively new section introduced in 2016.

It replaces what was formerly known as the Decision Analysis sub-test. As a result, there is relatively limited amount of preparation and practice questions available. In this article, we will look at what to look for when picking a resource to practice questions.

 

 

What is the UKCAT Decision Making Subtest?

According to the official site the Decision Making section tests your ability to apply logic to reach a decision or conclusion, evaluate arguments and analyse statistical information.

This is usually in the form of text, graphs, puzzles or syllogism, where you may have to select one option or respond to items by placing ‘YES’ or ‘NO’  boxes next to each statement. The sub-test may seem a little weird at first but with enough practice it is really straightforward.

 

 

Type of Decision Making Questions

Preparing for the sub-test requires you to be self critical and have a good understanding of the question-types in the exam so that you can effectively identify weak areas and work on them. The sub-test includes two types of questions, they are as follows:

 

 

TYPE 1 – Answer Options

These are questions with four answer options, where only one option is correct. These questions types are in the form of the following:

 

  1. Logical puzzles

You are required to take one or more steps of deductive inference from the information presented in order to arrive at a conclusion. There is only one correct response per question. Information may be given in the form of text, tables or other graphics.

 

  1. Syllogisms

In these items you will be required to evaluate whether each of a series of conclusions arises from a given set of premises.Some questions may have multiple correct response options. You need to ‘drag and drop’ the correct responses.

 

  1. Interpreting Information

You will be presented with information in various formats (written passages, graphs, charts, etc.) and will be required to interpret this information in order to determine which conclusions follow. There may be multiple correct response options per item.

 

  1. Recognising Assumption

These items ask you to evaluate arguments for and against a particular solution to a problem. You will be required to evaluate the strength of the presented arguments and the soundness of assumptions underlying these arguments. There is only one correct response per question; candidates must suspend their own beliefs to reach the strongest conclusion.

 

  1. Venn Diagrams

You may be presented with a Venn diagram and asked to select the single best conclusion from a list of statements. In other items you will have a passage of information which you can interpret either in the form of a Venn diagram or by providing conclusions. You may also be provided with a set of statements and a set of different Venn diagrams as response options. You will need to select the Venn that best represents the information provided.

 

  1. Probability Reasoning

You will be presented with a very short passage containing statistical information. You will be asked to select the best response to the question.

 

 

TYPE 2 –  Yes or No Statements

You will be asked to respond to five statements, by answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ next to each statement. These type of questions can also be in the form of any of the six question types mentioned above.

 

 

What to look for in a Decision Making Resource

There are things to look out for when considering which decision making resource to run with. Here are four suggestions I have that you should use when looking for the best resource:

 

1. Full Spectrum of Questions & Explanations

I recommend picking a resource that includes the full spectrum of Decision Making questions. The Ultimate ukcat Guide by UniAdmissions does a great job at this for instance. The book includes all the different types of Decision Making questions and replicates the same level of difficulty you can expect in the exam. During practice, I recommend practising more of the question-types you find most difficult and set regular mini-tests to assess progress.

 

2. Exam and Time Saving Techniques

Syllogism and logical puzzles can take up a lot of time. However, with the right tips and techniques you could save a ton of time. When picking a resource keep an eye out for in-depth explanations and techniques on how to attack these questions types. Time-saving techniques are fundamental in the Decision Making subtest and can make a huge difference in the final outcome so  put them into practice

 

3. Potential Exam Traps & Examiner Tricks

I strongly advise being aware of the techniques examiners use to trick candidates into selecting the wrong answer. I recommend picking a resource that can can provide some insight into this as you practice questions, this is helpful as it will reduce the likelihood of you falling for potential traps.

 

4. Number of Mocks

Mock exams are a great way to mimic the testing environment and further identify any area of improvement in time management and dealing with pressure. They also help give you an indication of what you a likely to score in the live tests. I recommend attempting at least 3 mock exams before test day. The more mock exams a resource provides the better you’ll be able to gauge weak areas.

 

 

What do I recommend?

The Ultimate UKCAT Guide by Uniadmissions is my recommended practice book for Decision Making practice this year. For more exam tips and techniques from myself check out THE UKCAT BLOG. You can find more additional tips and resources from UniAdmissions to help with preparation and overall application. I have a ton more UKCAT Peparation tips and tricks over on my blog – check them out!

 

 

This is a guest post written by Michael O. Carter, founder of THE ukcat BLOG. He achieved a ukcat score in the top 10% back in 2015. Since then he has helped thousands of candidates prepare for the exam through his blog. He is the author of ‘The ukcat Study Guide – How to Score in the top percentile’.

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Buy “The ukcat Study Guide – How To Score In The Top Percentile” by Michael over on his website:

BUY “THE ukcat STUDY GUIDE””

 

Buy “The Ultimate UKCAT Guide” Practice Book by UniAdmissions – recommended by Michael especially for the Decision Making section:

BUY UNIADMISSIONS ULTIMATE ukcat GUIDE

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