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UKCAT For Dummies



UKCAT For Dummies

Chris Chopdar, Neel Burton

ISBN: 978-1-119-96656-2 March 2012 360 Pages

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The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is a standardized test used as an entrance examination for the majority of medical and dental schools in the UK. Its purpose is to test the likely aptitude of a candidate for a clinical career.

UKCAT For Dummies provides readers with the review materials they need to score well on the UKCAT and make medical school a reality, featuring:

  • A proven UKCAT preparation program with a five-year history of success
  • Hundreds of a practice questions and explanations
  • Test-taking strategies that work
  • Information and advice on the entire application process from Drs. Chris Chopdar and Neel Burton

Go to to see the latest on UKCAT

Introduction 1

Part I: Understanding UKCAT 7

Chapter 1: The UKCAT and University 9

Chapter 2: Dissecting UKCAT 17

Chapter 3: Taking Tests: UKCAT Strategies that Work 29

Part II: Examining the Subtests 35

Chapter 4: Reading Between the Lines: The Verbal Reasoning Subtest 37

Chapter 5: Making Things Add Up: The Quantitative Reasoning Subtest 61

Chapter 6: Looking at Pretty Patterns: The Abstract Reasoning Subtest 89

Chapter 7: Deciphering the Code: The Decision Analysis Subtest 111

Part III: Practice Tests 141

Chapter 8: Practice Test One 143

Chapter 9: Practice Test One: Answers and Explanations 193

Chapter 10: Practice Test Two 227

Chapter 11: Practice Test Two: Answers and Explanations 277

Part IV: The Part of Tens 309

Chapter 12: Ten Steps to Help You Get into Medical or Dental School 311

Chapter 13: Ten Ways to Stay Cool Under Pressure 315

Index 319

Examples of the new question types for the 2013 UKCAT

UKCAT Format Changes for 2013

UKCAT Format Changes for 2013

Since publication of UKCAT For Dummies, the UKCAT Consortium has tweaked the test. The material below is the latest information about the changes, and we'll continue to update you as information becomes available.

Summary of Key Changes for 2013

  • Verbal Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning: A small number of new style questions.
  • Decision Analysis: A new marking scheme.
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT): A new addition to the UKCAT.
  • Number of items per section and timing: The number of questions per subtest and the time you have to complete them are slightly different than 2012.

The following table summarises the sections included on the 2013 UKCAT, along with the number of items and the time you have to complete each section (and replaces Table 2-4 in UKCAT For Dummies).

Section Items Time (Minutes)
Verbal Reasoning 44 22
Quantitative Reasoning 36 23
Abstract Reasoning 55 14
Decision Analysis 28 34
Situational Judgement Test 71 27
Totals 234 120

Changes to the Verbal Reasoning subtest

In addition to the standard True/False/Can't Tell questions that we cover in Chapter 4 of UKCAT For Dummies, there are a small number of questions that present you with a question about the passage or incomplete statement for you to complete. In both cases, you'll be required to pick the one best or most suitable response from a list of four options.

Our Advice: The new style questions require an element of inference, as they require you to draw conclusions from the text. However, they should not present a significant extra challenge when compared to the True/False/Can't Tell question style. Avoid second-guessing yourself and over-complicating the problem. As always, avoid drawing on knowledge from outside the passage.

Click on the Download tab on this page to access examples of the new question types for the 2013 UKCAT.

Changes to the Quantitative Reasoning subtest

The Quantitative Reasoning subtest remains as described in Chapter 5 of UKCAT For Dummies.

Changes to the Abstract Reasoning subtest

There are now 4 different item types, as described by the UKCAT Consortium.

Click on the Download tab on this page to access examples of the new question types for the 2013 UKCAT.

Type 1

You're given two sets of shapes labelled Set A and Set B .

You must decide whether a test shape belongs to Set A, Set B, or Neither.

Our Advice: This type has been used in previous years and is covered in Chapter 6 of UKCAT For Dummies.

Type 2

You're given a series of shapes.

You must select the next shape in the series from four possible choices.

Our Advice: Type 2 is conceptually different from the others in that you must consider a sequential progression. That having been said, the same filtering approach that we discuss in the current edition UKCAT For Dummies can still be applied. Instead of using it to identify commonalities, test each variable to see whether it is the element that changes in a sequential manner from one shape to the next.

Type 3

You're given a statement involving a group of shapes.

You must determine which shape completes the statement from four possible choices.

Our Advice: Type 3 appears very different from the Type 1 items used in the past, but it requires essentially the same ability to identify commonalities between the shapes.

Type 4

You're given two sets of shapes labelled Set A and Set B .

You must select which option belongs to either Set A or Set B from four possible choices.

Our Advice: Type 4 is only a slight variant of Type 1.

Changes to the Decision Analysis subtest

The Decision Analysis subtest remains largely as we describe in Chapter 7 of UKCAT For Dummies. However, the UKCAT Consortium are piloting Confidence Ratings to assess the ability of candidates to understand the limits of their own competence. Essentially, after each question in this subtest, you're asked to rate how confident you are that your answer is correct - on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not very confident and 5 being very confident that your answer is correct.

Our Advice: This is potentially a useful addition to the UKCAT, giving more meaning to its results.

However, the Confidence Rating aspect of this subtest is only a pilot this year, so your responses will not contribute to your scores.

The Situational Judgement Test

The Situational Judgement Test is new for 2013, after a pilot in 2012. The goal: To test candidates' integrity and ethical standards by presenting you with a series of scenarios to which you have to respond. Although the scenarios often are often rooted in a medical environment, the questions do not test medical knowledge - your ethical standards are the focus here.

There are two sets of question:

Click on the Download tab on this page to access examples of the new question types for the 2013 UKCAT.

Appropriateness questions

Here, you read a scenario and rate the appropriateness of a series of options using the following scale:

  • Very appropriate: The option addresses at least one aspect of the situation
  • Appropriate, but not ideal: The option could be done, but isn't necessarily a very good thing to do
  • Inappropriate, but not awful: The option shouldn't really be done, but wouldn't be terrible
  • Very inappropriate: The option definitely shouldn't be done and would make the situation worse

Importance questions

You read a scenario and rate the importance of a series of options in response to the scenario as

  • Very important: Something that is vital to take into account
  • Important: Something that is important but not vital to take into account
  • Of minor importance: Something that could be taken into account, but it doesn't matter if it is considered or not
  • Not important at all: Something that should definitely not be taken into account

Full marks are awarded for correct answers and partial marks awarded for responses that are close to the correct answer. The UKCAT Consortium tallies the marks and places candidates in one of four bands based on performance:

  • Band 1: Exceptional and well above average. Candidates show similar judgement to the panel of experts.
  • Band 2: Well and above average. Candidates show appropriate judgement for most questions with many matching model answers.
  • Band 3: Lower than average. Candidates show appropriate judgement for some questions but significant differences from ideal responses for others.
  • Band 4: Low. Candidates' judgements differ significantly from ideal responses to questions in many cases.

Our Advice: This subtest is intimidating for many candidates fearful of coming across as bad people if they give the wrong answer. Our experience is that most candidates are actually good people who already possess fundamentally sound ethical judgement, and confidence in your own common sense goes a long way to scoring well.

Supplement that common sense with reading some of the ethical guidance available to doctors to get an idea of how the medical profession approaches these issues. For example, the General Medical Council's Good Medical Practice is available on their website at

The GMC even have some scenarios similar to those presented in the SJT, together with what the doctor ought to do. Understanding these scenarios will give you a good ethical framework with which to approach the SJT.

Our other key bit of advice is do not judge each response as if it is the only thing that ought be done. For example, if the wrong medication is given to a patient, a number of things can done, including checking that the patient is ok and assessing him or her medically. So, the response ask the patient if they are ok can still be judged appropriate, even though it is not the only action that will be taken.

We hope this update helps you perform at your best in 2013.