How's your timing with the UKCAT?

Time management is important in all aspects of life, but when it comes to the UKCAT (and the BMAT), it is so critical that you can actually feel the clock ticking!

Here are my 6 top tips for mastering the timing with the UKCAT that I have put together after tutoring the UKCAT over the past couple of years.

1. KNOW what timings are per section

  • Overall it is a 2-hour computer-based test. The timings below take into account the 1 minute that is used for instructions for each section.

  • Verbal Reasoning has 44 questions with 22 minutes

  • About 30 seconds per item (but note some items will have shorter paragraphs and True/False/Can’t Tell style of questions so will save you time, whereas others will have longer paragraphs… so you don’t have to spend 30 seconds on one item – you may spend 20 seconds and then spend about 40 seconds on the next one – that is fine…just balance your timing and watch the clock).

  • Decision Making has 29 questions with 32 minutes

  • About 66 seconds per item, so you have a minute roughly for logically reasoning the puzzles – much more time and it is necessary!

  • Quantitative Reasoning has 36 questions with 25 minutes

  • About 40 seconds per item

  • Abstract Reasoning with has 55 items with 14 minutes

  • This one is definitely the tightest timing with about 15 seconds per item!

  • Situational Judgement with has 69 questions 27 minutes

  • About 12 seconds per item – in this section, after practising the style of questions it is honestly enough time

2. KNOW which section suits YOU the best

  • Despite the timings shown above, you may be faster in AR than in QR and that is completely fine!

  • If you know which sections are your strength, then speed through them and spend more time getting the section that takes you a bit longer right.

3. Filter the keywords for Verbal Reasoning

  • Always spot for extremes so “none”, “always”, “never” etc. and then these can easily be contradicted if the statement is “False”, or “True” (rarely this is the case when it’s extreme) if the statement is supported. And, if it’s not mentioned at all then “Can’t Tell”.

  • Find the keywords in the questions and use the “Ctrl+F” function in your eyes to find it in the passage! Keep practising this technique and you will become super fast.

4. Be familiar with the patterns for Abstract Reasoning

  • The timing is the tightest here – with only 15 seconds per item. BUT, that is 15 seconds of staring at a screen, running through a checklist of patterns in your head and figuring them out…some you will get in a matter of seconds and so these ones will save you minutes.

  • If you don’t get them, flag them for review and move on…because they are not given in order of difficulty so you could have some really easy ones at the end.

5. Use the online calculator beforehand for Quantitative Reasoning

  • For me personally, I needed all the time possible with this section. So using the calculator beforehand was important so I became really speedy with it and didn’t lose any time because of it.

6. Practise solving logical puzzles for Decision Making

  • Being familiar with puzzles, Venn diagrams and syllogisms will make it easier for you in this section. After you have seen a few of these questions you will soon recognise the pattern and how similar a lot of their questions are. This will save you time in the exam so you can have some extra seconds for the unfamiliar questions.

Good luck with the UKCAT and if you have any questions or would like tutoring with the UKCAT, send us an email at hello@step2med.co.uk … don’t be shy, we're here to help you!

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