The “Verbal Reasoning” section is the first of 5 UCAT subsections. You might think the title of the section is a bit of a misnomer, as instead of assessing your ability to understand spoken language, it’s all about understanding the written text. For each question set, you’ll be given a short text along with 4 multiple choice questions associated with that text. The UCAT verbal reasoning section is assessing your ability to quickly absorb the key details from longer texts and apply the knowledge you’ve garnered. It is one of the most time-pressured sections in an already speedy exam. It’s also the section that most people score the lowest on, so don’t neglect it in your preparation!
Structure of Verbal Reasoning
Verbal Reasoning is the first section of the UCAT and lasts for 21 minutes. You will receive 11 question sets. Within those question sets are one body of text around 200-300 words long and 4 multiple-choice questions. that’s roughly 2 mins per question set. It’s generally advised to spend at least one minute reading through the text, giving yourself as much space as possible to take in the passage before answering the questions.
There’s a fair bit less variation in the question style for verbal reasoning as compared to other UCAT sections. The multiple-choice questions can come in two styles:
- – The question will give a statement based off information from the body of the text. From this, you must decide if the statement is true, false, or if you cannot tell if the statement is valid.
-There will be 4 different statements about the body of the text. You may be asked to pick the most accurate/most correct of the 4 statements. Alternatively, you may be given 3 correct statements and one false, and be asked to identify the false statement.
Because there’s less variation, it’s much easier to get into a rhythm with verbal reasoning than in other sections. However, it’s also probably the most time-pressured of sections. Get into that rhythm quick! The more practice you get, the easier that will be to do.
I’ve seen a general split in opinion on tactics when it comes to verbal reasoning; some people like to go real slow with reading the question text, then quickly answering each of the 4 questions per set. Others like to read the question in front of them first then skim the text for the relevant section. Personally, I favour the first option as it gives you more time to understand the context of the text and be armed to answer any question they throw your way. Ultimately though, it probably depends on the question in front of you as to which tactic is better. Try to find your own way of doing things!