The UCAT Quantitative Reasoning section is the third of five sections in the UCAT. It aims to assess candidates’ basic arithmetical skills in a time-pressured environment. That means quick maths leading to quick conclusions. This section of the UCAT feels closest to the questions you might have seen before from your maths-based subjects.
Structure of quantitative reasoning
In this section you’ll face 36 questions in 24 minutes – that’s about 40 seconds per question! That may seem time pressured (and to be honest it is) but the maths you’ll be asked to perform is GCSE level at best. That means the pressure comes from interpreting the data quickly. most of the questions will be grouped so that 3-5 of them share the same dataset. Some of them though will just have their own datasets per question.
Generally speaking, you’ll answer problem-based maths questions in a style similar to GCSE maths or physics. You might have to read a table or work out the measures or be given the measurements of some 3D shapes. Otherwise, the data will be charts or graphs. You’ll have to manage things like ratios, calculating area and volume, percentages etc. The true difficulty of quantitative reasoning is not the maths itself, but your ability to process the information given.
There’s one other difficulty involved with the UCAT quantitative reasoning – using the calculator! The UCAT’s built-in online calculator is notorious for being fiddly. For this reason, you really should give the official practice questions a go on the UCAT website. That’ll give you a flavour of what to expect out of the exam system and a chance to play with the calculator. Another tip: You can use your number pad to type into the calculator, which you might find to be much quicker than clicking each button with the cursor.
As to tips for answering the questions, well it’s the same as all the other sections – Practice! With this section in particular, you should spend a fair bit of time trying to emulate the time constraints in the exam. There’s no shame in initially just taking your time and getting a feel for the questions! This might be particularly useful if you don’t think of yourself as a maths wiz.