A Guide to the UKCAT with UKCAT Decision Making Practice Questions

The UKCAT, the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test, is one of the most important part of the admissions for any medical and dental applicant. The test itself is split into five sections, one of which we’ll focus on in this article: the UKCAT Decision Making Practice Questions.

UKCAT-decision-making-practice

What is Involved in the UKCAT Decision Making Section?

This might be a question on everyone’s lips as Decision Making is a fairly new addition to the test having first come into practice in 2017. What you might have previously heard this section called is Decision Analysis. However, what is now being tested is something a little bit different from previous years.

What are they testing?

The reason behind the change of format for this section of the ukcat is to assess candidates on how they use information and data to make logical decisions. This is a skill that is detrimental when working in the medical profession. Whilst the questions will come in a variety of formats and styles they are all focused on testing your decision-making ability.

The Question Format:

This section alone lasts 31 minutes and there are 29 questions to be answered in this space of time. That’s approximately one questions per minute. As with any part of the ukcat, managing time is a key strategy for success. We talk more about how you can practice and manage your time in our ukcat decision making tips page.

 

Get the all-important UKCAT Decision Making tips that could help you in the UKCAT >>>

 

The format of the questions may refer to texts, charts, diagrams, tables or graphs. All of the questions are standalone. That means that you will be presented one question per data so work on each independently.

There are six main styles to the Decision Making questions. We’ve listed the six styles below along with some ukcat Decision Making practice questions to help you understand what each style is asking of you. The best way to tackle this section is to create a strategy and a clear approach for each style. Familiarise yourself with these styles and answering the questions will become a whole lot easier!

The Six UKCAT Decision Making Practice Style Questions:

  1. Logical Puzzles

These questions require you to make an inference based on the information given. Applicants will commonly be given a statement (background information) and extra information (a further specific statement) and must combine both to make a conclusion. Otherwise put – the applicant must deduce a conclusion.

Here’s an example of how your thought processes should go:

Positive Inductive Reasoning:

Postive-Inductive-Reasoning

Negative Inductive Reasoning:

Negative-Inductive-Reasoning

Example Question:

UKCAT-decision-making-practice-question-logical

Answer? Statement A is true. The reasoning behind this is that if all doctors are handsome and some are popular so some must be handsome and popular

  1. Syllogisms

Applicants will be presented information that can be used to make certain conclusions, but it also gives an incomplete description of the situation. The challenge is to determine which answer (from the answers provided) support the information and which don’t. If a statement cannot be deduced from the information in the questions, then it isn’t true.

Example:

Decision-making-syllogism-example

What’s the Answer? B “Every dress she bought was blue.” Our advice for these questions is to not get distracted by the additional information given in the answers. The answer is simple in the information given.

  1. Interpreting Information

In these questions, applicants will be presented with a more complex and less direct set of information. It may be in the form of a passage of text or in a table/graph etc. Applicants must use the information to extract the relevant information to answer the question. For whoever sits the test, it is advised that they look at the question carefully before digesting the data. Once you’ve understood the question, you can make more use out of the data and pick the right information in a focused way.

Example:

Interpreting-information-ukcat-decision-making

The answer for this question is C. As it’s not possible to pick your own name, there’s a 50/50 chance of picking the other person.

  1. Recognition Assumptions

The style of questions for this is to probe an applicant’s understanding of assumption making as a component of the decision-making process. The applicant must understand the balance of using assumptions within the decision. Too much could risk mistakes, and a lack of could make decision making slow.

The common question style for this will ask applicants to select the strongest argument for or against a statement. Applicants should answer these types of questions with the FREES model in mind. Read about the model on our UKCAT Decision Making tips page.

Example Question:

Statement A is true in this scenario as if the pain is from the blood test, Tim assumes the needle will cause pain.

  1. Venn Diagrams

Venn diagrams might be used to present the data, as part of the working to deduce the correct answer or as the answers. They can take a number of forms and are generally used to classify items. You usually see Venn diagrams as overlapping segments which sort items into groups.

UKCAT-Venn-Diagram-Example

The answer, when looking closely at the diagram would then be C.

  1. Probabilistic Reasoning

Applicants may be presented probabilistic information in a variety of forms – fractions, decimals, percentages or odds. First thing applicants should note is the occurrence that the probability is representing and whether it is positive or negative.

As a rule of thumb, when asked if the probability of something OR something occurring, the overall probability is higher than only one occurring so you ADD the probabilities. If the probability of something AND something occurring, the overall probability is lower than only one of the occurring so you MULTIPLY the probabilities.

Example:

If you are asked about the probability of rain on two consecutive days, when the probability of rain on any given days is 0.4, then it can be calculated as follows:

Decision-Making-Probability-Example

For more advice and guidance, read on…

All the questions above were taken from The Ultimate UKCAT Guide: 1000 Practice Questions and our Practice Questions Volume 1 and 2.

We hope that by taking part in our little ukcat Decision Making practice you get a better understanding of the questions that come up in this section of the test. Practice makes all the difference between a good and a bad ukcat score which is detrimental in securing your place at medical school.

We advise that you go through as many of these ukcat practice questions as you can get your hands on. Doing these questions in the same conditions as can be expected on the test day will give you a better idea of your performance under the very strict time pressure.

More Medical Articles