How I scored 900 in UCAT Decision Making
9 months ago by Chris
The UCAT Decision Making subtest poses several challenges, including various question types, limited time, and difficult questions. However, I managed to score a perfect 900 on the Decision Making subtest. There were several strategies that allowed me to bring my score up from the 600 range to the 800-900s. Here are my top 5 tips.
Tip 1: Understand each UCAT Decision Making question type
A huge advantage you have in the UCAT Decision Making subtest is that you essentially know all the question types that you will be asked before you sit the test. The UCAT Decision Making subtest is one that has a larger variety of question types than any other UCAT subtest and, as a result, it’s vital that you learn the strategies for each of these individual questions.
The way you approach a syllogism question will be completely different to how you approach a mathematical reasoning question, and one of the best ways to improve quickly in Decision Making is to think about each of these UCAT question types individually. Spend the time you need to find the method that works best for you for each question type!
Example exercise: Complete one of each question type in the Decision Making subtest. Write down which ones you find easiest, and which ones you find most difficult. Reflect on how efficient you thought your method for answering each UCAT question was.
Tip 2: Target your UCAT revision
Considering the variety of question types in the Decision Making subtest on the UCAT, it also doesn’t make sense to solely practice the “Decision Making subtest” as a whole. What you also need to do is practice each of the individual question types in the UCAT Decision Making subtest.
You can imagine that if there was someone who had 90% accuracy on logic puzzles, but only 50% accuracy on Venn diagrams, it wouldn’t make any sense for them to be practicing logic puzzles and Venn diagrams equally! Their time would be best spent focussing on the Venn diagram questions to bring their accuracy up to the standard of the other UCAT question types.
Use the review function on MedEntry to find what UCAT questions you struggle with, and which questions you are more proficient with. Look at your accuracy, how long you took to answer the question and whether you felt as though you answered the question in the most efficient way. Use this information to choose which UCAT question types you want to direct your attention to!
Tip 3: Manage your time aggressively
Although the UCAT Decision Making subtest has the longest time allocation given to it, the difficulty of questions means that this subtest is still extremely time-pressured. It’s critical that in the UCAT test you skip questions that require a disproportionately large amount of time to complete.
On the other hand, some questions in the Decision Making subtest should naturally take less time. A UCAT strongest argument question should almost always take less time than a tricky logic puzzle. Try to spend an amount of time on each UCAT Decision Making question appropriate to its level of difficulty.
You should actively review your Decision Making UCAT mocks to observe which question types are taking you the most time. Also observe which UCAT question types you are spending more time on than you should! Using this knowledge, change your revision to work on your timings for the UCAT questions that are taking you too long.
Tip 4: Understand the UCAT Decision Making question first
When completing Decision Making questions in the UCAT, it’s common to fall into the trap of rushing into the question too quickly. Take the appropriate amount of time to understand the question and what it is asking you.
Often, you’ll spend less time on a question if you understand the passage first and answer the question in one fell swoop, compared to when you have a poor understanding of the passage and need to come back to it repeatedly. This is something that I attribute most of my success to, because it was very rare in the UCAT that I felt the need to keep coming back to the passage repeatedly.
Considering that time is critical in the UCAT, the more efficient you are in answering questions, the better!
Tip 5: Use the UCAT noteboard
The noteboard is a hugely underrated asset in the UCAT! The Decision Making subtest is probably one of the subtests where you can most make use of the UCAT noteboard.
For almost all the question types in UCAT Decision Making, the process will become much easier by simply writing down your thoughts. Keeping your working out bottled up in your head is a sure way to waste time and to get confused in Decision Making.
When I was answering UCAT questions, I would often find myself writing down working before I even knew the method I needed to get to the answer. Often, I found that the answer lay in the working out I had written down, and I ended up saving huge amounts of time. On the occasion I needed a completely different method to get to the answer, I knew that what I had written down was something that I did not want to pursue to get the answer. Using the noteboard played an integral role in helping me get the score that I did.
Ultimately, the Decision Making subtest on the UCAT is one where thoughtful practice and reviewing can go a long way. Even though the subtest may be difficult, don’t lose hope and keep trying your best to actively improve, because that’s the mindset needed to crush the UCAT!
Written by Emil, who is a past MedEntry student who scored 900 in UCAT Decision Making (3310 overall or 99th percentile) and is currently studying medicine.