Complete Guide To UCAT Decision Making

Introduction to UCAT Decision Making

Decision making is the second section in the UCAT: 

 

This section requires you to use your problem-solving skills to solve puzzles. You will be given information and need to evaluate it as well as think logically about the information you are given.

 

Decision Making is a super important skill that is needed to work as a healthcare professional. As a doctor in the future, you will be given information such as patient blood test results and general observations. There will be a lot of information so you must be able to select the information that will best help you to diagnose and treat your patient correctly.

What are the questions in UCAT decision making like?

The questions you face are in the form of text; however, they can also include supporting tables, charts, and diagrams. Each piece of data is only to be used for one question. This is different to some of the other sections where you may need one passage for several questions.

 

As a result, it is super important that once you finish a question, you stop thinking about it and move on to the next one. Please don’t waste time thinking about the previous questions when you are already under time pressure.

 

However, the Decision Making section is the least time-pressured in the whole test. With 29 questions and 31 minutes (in addition to 1 minute of reading time at the start of the section) to complete them, you have plenty of time to digest the information you are presented with and think it over properly. This means you have approximately 64 seconds to attempt each question.

 

You don’t need to rush, but be careful as you will have a lot of reading to do in this section.

Types of UCAT decision making questions and answers

The main types of questions you will come across in the Decision Making section are:

TYPE

#1

Syllogisms.

This type of question will present you with a passage of text. You will need to use this passage to decide whether a conclusion does or doesn’t follow from the passage you have read.

.

TYPE

#2

Logic Puzzles.

This will involve a puzzle, similarly to logic games you might have played when you were younger, and you will need to find its solution. This question may be in the form of text as well as possibly including a diagram depending on the question.

TYPE

#3

Interpreting Information.

This type of question may require you to draw a Venn diagram to represent information to be able to solve a problem or, you may be provided with a Venn diagram and you will have to interpret the information given.

TYPE

#4

Finding Assumptions.

You will be provided with a statement and then have the choice of 4 arguments related to the statement. You should then pick the strongest argument from the options you are provided with.

UCAT decision Making Example Questions With Worked Solutions

Type 1 Question - Syllogisms

Answer:

a) Yes – we are told “all the rest are asleep”.

b) No – we don’t know whether the girls are asleep or awake.

c) No – we don’t know whether the girls are sleep or awake.

d) Yes – all of the boys are asleep, and there is at least one.

e) No – we don’t know whether the girls are asleep or awake.

Type 2 Question - Logical Puzzle

C

Answer:

Saskia is afraid of mice and Jake of slugs. Hilary must be scared of frogs because we know that Vikram screamed, and we know the other two children’s fears. So A, B, and D are NOT true. Answer C is the correct one. 

Type 3 Question - Interpreting Information

Answer:

a) No. Jerome scores the least on the scale for concern for production and concern for people. Erica’s leadership style is probably the hardest to diagnose. 

 

b) Yes. Emily scores high on the scale for concern for production but low on the scale for concern for people, therefore her focus is very much on work that gets completed, not so much the well being of the staff. 

 

c) No. While Jack scores high on his concern for people, he scores low on concern for production so he cannot be an efficient leader.

 

d) No. Since Emily has little concern for people, it can be interpreted that she has absolutely no concern or legitimate fear of jeopardising her relationship with team members.

 

e) Yes. Shawn scores 9 on both scales – which means that his style is productively efficient and he keeps the team motivated and satisfied due to high concern. 

Type 4 Question - Finding Assumptions

A

Answer:

Option A is the strongest argument – less than 10% of plastic bottles that are purchased are recycled, indicating that banning selling water in plastic bottles would reduce the environmental impact. 

 

Option B does not tell us how many were recycled or incinerated and makes an assumption that all non-recycled plastic bottles will be incinerated.

 

Option C lacks evidence.

 

Option D is also an assumption since we don’t know how much of the bottled water sold in developing countries is actually tap water repackaged.

how is UCAT Decision Making scored?

In terms of scoring for decision making, you can receive a score between 300 and 900. The UCAT website outlines the scoring of this section as questions with one correct answer being worth 1 mark whereas questions with multiple statements can get you up to 2 marks for a fully correct answer and partially correct answers will be awarded 1 mark.

According to data taken from the UCAT  2019 sitting, the average score for decision making was 618 and in 2020 the average score was 635. You can use this information when doing practice tests to see roughly where you might be ranking for the section.

This information is readily available on the UCAT  website here and we have an in-depth guide on UCAT Scoring and results here.

YearAverage Score For Decision Making
2019618
2020635

The ultimate tips for the decision making section of the uCAT

The first time you do this section it can seem a bit strange and answers you think are logical might not be correct. Here are a few tips for improving your decision making score.

1

Use the noteboard.

You probably did not use the noteboard in verbal reasoning but you must use it here (if you also need tips on the verbal reasoning section click here). Sometimes you will need to draw diagrams to represent the information you have been given such as Venn diagrams. By noting down your train of thought it ensures that the information is represented in a manner you can work with and ultimately this will help you to get the right answer in a quicker amount of time

2

Don’t make assumptions.

 

One of the question types involves you deciding whether a conclusion can logically follow from the information you have been given. It’s easy to make assumptions based on what you want to be true but don’t do that. Only use the information that has been explicitly stated in the passage you have been given.

3

Practice with graphs and diagrams.

One of the question types involves you answering questions from graphs and diagrams. It’s a good idea to become quite familiar with these. You may need to manipulate the data given in their diagrams so if you are not doing maths anymore it might be a good idea to look through your old maths notes to get up to speed.

4

Use your time wisely.

On the surface, it looks like you have got a lot of time for these questions because you get around a minute for each one,  which is a lot more than you get for some of the other sections. It’s important that you don’t work too slowly though because some questions will require more time and might be harder than you initially think. If a question is taking too long just flag it for review and come back to it at the end when you have done the other questions.

5

Know what kinds of questions can come up.

 

When you are practising questions, you will realise there’s a common pattern in the type of questions that appear. Note these down as you are practising. You will be able to develop a good strategy to answer these questions so on test day if you see the same type of question appear, you can use the strategy you know works to get a higher score.

6

Read the question first.

 

This comes up in all the sections essentially but by reading the question first you can identify what you are expected to do, so you don’t waste time doing unnecessary steps that are irrelevant to the questions.

7

Made an educated guess, flag and move on. 

 

If you are unsure of the correct answer, make some notes on your whiteboard, make an educated guess for the time being, and flag the question. You should have time to come back to it.

Closing Notes For UCAT Decision Making

This section will probably be one of the ones you will find most interesting. The puzzles, in particular, can be quite interesting, however, be careful that you don’t get too absorbed into the questions as it is easy to spend a whole lot of time trying to complete a puzzle that is only worth one mark, just like every other question.

 

Become confident with your timings and do as much practice as you can so that you can feel prepared and smash this section!

By Sharon Daniel

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