In Part 1 of the UCAT Guide, we explain what Verbal Reasoning is and how to solve UCAT Verbal Reasoning problems.
The Verbal Reasoning section is the first of the five UCAT subtests. It assesses your ability to read a passage of information and determine whether a specific conclusion can be drawn.
Doctors, dentists, and/or medical professionals require excellent verbal reasoning skills to receive complex details, understand the information, and then communicate this clearly to patients.
In Verbal Reasoning, candidates need to make inferences and draw conclusions quickly.
Medical practitioners also need to be able to read medical publications and apply the findings to their own practice. They also need the ability to critique information presented in medical publications and draw their own conclusions regarding the validity of the findings.
This subtest is one of 5 subtests within the UCAT and comprises of 11 passages of text with each passage followed by 4 questions. These 44 questions are to be completed in 21 minutes.
Some of the questions assess your critical reasoning skills where candidates will need to make inferences and quickly draw conclusions from provided information.
The flowchart below illustrates the different categories in the Verbal Reasoning subtest.
In Verbal Reasoning, multiple choice questions are categorised in 5 different types:
These type of questions will require you to read each passage and decide if the provided statement is logical. Based only on the information provided in the passage, you’ll have to select one of three options:
True: On the basis of the information in the passage, the statement is true.
False: On the basis of the information in the passage, the statement is false.
Can’t Tell: You cannot tell from the information in the passage whether the statement is true or false.
Here’s an example of a ‘True, False, or Can’t Tell’ question:
First, consider the following passage:
The productivity of an olive plantation can be maximised through appropriate preparation of the soil in advance of planting. This will give newly planted trees the highest probability of survival and will allow them to grow at a maximum rate.
Preparation should begin three months prior to planting. A soil test should be conducted to identify contaminants or mineral deficiencies and to test the soil pH. In the absence of contaminants, the soil should be ploughed and one level wheelbarrow of cow manure should be spread over an area of two square metres around each tree site in order to increase soil fertility. Half a wheelbarrow of blue metal stone dust may be spread over the same area to increase the mineral content of the soil. Ideal pH is between 6.5 and 7. Soil pH can be adjusted through the use of lime over the entire field if required. Soil pH below 5.5 may be lethal to the trees and must be raised prior to planting.
Trees should be planted in rows oriented along the north-south direction. A space of 8 m should be allowed between rows, and of 6 m between each row. This will allow maximum air circulation and will reduce shading. Cultivated varieties are generally frost and drought resistant.
Once trees are planted at the beginning of spring it is important to apply a phosphorus-based fertiliser. Trees should receive 9 L of water weekly for the first six months as they become established. In the longer term, rainfall should be monitored and the trees should be watered accordingly. The pH should be retested after two years and adjusted if required.
Following these instructions should allow trees to grow by 1 m in the first years under optimal conditions.
Olive trees require 9 L of water per week to grow at an optimal rate.
The correct response is: Can’t Tell
The instructions only specify 9 L per week for the first six months. In the longer term, it says watering should be adjusted for rainfall but the total amount per week is not specified.
These type of questions aren’t written as questions. You’ll need to identify the most appropriate response that best completes the statement provided.
Here’s an example of an ‘Incomplete statement’ question:
(A) Require 9 mm of rain per week when first planted.
(B) Do well in low pH soil.
(C) Are hardy and will do well in adverse conditions.
(D) Require 48 square metres per tree.
The correct response is: D
These type of multiple-choice questions reiterate the need for you to only use the provided information without being influenced by any prior knowledge or opinions.
Here’s an example of an ‘According to the passage’ question
According to the passage, it is necessary to adjust the pH:
(A) At the time of ploughing
(B) To reach a value between 6.5 and 7
(C) If the pH is below 5.5
(D) If the pH is above 7
The correct response is: C
These type of questions requires you to review evidence to come to a conclusion. Applicants will need to select the most appropriate answer given the information in the passage.
Here’s an example of an ‘Except’ question
The following statements about the passage are true except:
(A) The cow manure should be applied in early winter.
(B) Following the instructions ensures trees will grow by 1 m in the first year.
(C) The phosphorus-based fertiliser is added separately to the lime.
(D) Ploughing is the first step in soil preparation.
The correct response is: B
In these type of questions, the multiple choice response options are less definite and more speculative but choices will be as clear as in other questions. After reading the passage, you’ll need to weigh up the evidence to reach a conclusion.
Here’s an example of a ‘Most likely’ question
If the instructions in the passage are correct, which of the following statements is most likely to be true?
(A) The most important step of the process is to add the phosphorus-based fertiliser
(B) Sufficient time must be allowed between preparation and planting.
(C) Soil pH will change after two years.
(D) The trees’ growth will be maximised if maximum sunlight is received.
The correct response is: B
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