Part 3: How To Study for UMAT Non-Verbal Reasoning

Non-Verbal Reasoning questions are designed to assess your skills in identifying patterns and determining the next sequence.

UMAT Non-verbal Reasoning (Section 3)

This section is about using your non-verbal reasoning skills to identify shapes and patterns. There is no reading or comprehension involved. Non-verbal reasoning is relevant in health professions as it requires you to identify patterns and hypothesise on the basis of abstract or incomplete information.

These questions are very similar to a typical IQ test and definitely something you can train and improve at.

This is the one section in UMAT, out of the three tested, where you can drastically improve your marks.

So, work hard and consistently! You must learn how to do these questions efficiently and effectively. Non-verbal Reasoning style questions in UMAT (referred to as Section 3 Questions in the past) are the easiest to study for.

In part 3 of the Beginner’s Guide to UMAT, we’ll explain how to study and solve some examples of Non-verbal Reasoning style UMAT questions.

Types of Non-Verbal Reasoning Questions

The types of non-verbal reasoning questions are listed below:

  • Type 1: Series and Sequences questions
  • Type 2: Analogies questions
  • Type 3: Pick the Middle questions
  • Type 4: Time Series questions
  • Type 5: Complete the Picture questions
  • Type 6: Odd One out questions
  • Type 7: Matrices questions
  • Type 8: Random Oddities question

How to Study for Non-verbal Reasoning Style UMAT Questions

After revising the theory content:

  1. Do the practice questions under exam conditions – time management is the key!
  2. Record any questions you got wrong or the ones where you are not able to get the pattern
  3. Re-attempt those questions
  4. Read the explanation to find out what pattern is used and get to the answer yourself

Matrix runs a 4 Day UMAT Preparation Course that can help you learn the techniques and strategies to approach these questions in a systematic way. So rather than wasting time on guessing & checking aimlessly, you follow a guideline that allows you to eliminate possible patterns or answer choices. Try the questions below and see how you go!


Type 1: What comes next? Sequence and Series.

This is the most common type of question you come across in the UMAT. The questions require you to identify the shape that logically completes the series.
Often each individual component has its own movement or pattern that is independent of other components within the frame. The key here is to follow each component step by step to eliminate the answer choices until you are left with one definite answer.

Example 1

Let’s start with an easy one! What should come next after these sequences?

guide umat non-verbal reasoning what comes next

Example: A typical what comes next question. Can you pick the pattern?


Answer: D

The black circle moves around the pentagon corners in an anticlockwise manner, moving one spot then two, three, four and so on. The white circle moves two spots every time in a clockwise direction. Hence, using this rule, D is next in the sequence. Note that when there is only one black circle in the third and fourth pentagon – this is because at this point the black and the white circle overlap. The black circle can still be seen as it “dominates” the white circle given it is darker in colour and hence cancels out the white.

Example 2

What should come next after these sequences?

Guide UMAT sequence and sets what comes next

Example: A sequence and sets question. What comes next and why?


Answer: E

The pattern is that the first and last digits of the number will multiply together and compose the middle two numbers. The only multiple choice option that fits this rule is E.

Type 2: Pick the middle

In this type of series question, you are given 5 answer choices and are asked to rearrange them to form a logical sequence. You then need to choose the answer that falls in the middle of your rearranged sequence. This is more difficult than the series questions as students sometimes find it difficult to determine where the starting point is.

The question usually asks you: “Arrange the five pictures so that they form a logical sequence. Then select the middle picture of the sequence.” They can range from images, numbers and shapes.

Example 3

Pick the middle.

Guide UMAT non-verbal reasoning pick the middle question

Example: A typical “Pick the Middle” question



Answer: B

The order is CABDE.

The white circle will start from the bottom left corner and move one corner clockwise each time. The black circle will start in the top right corner and move to the side and then corner alternating repetitively. It will do this in a clockwise direction. The star will alternate between the left top corner and right bottom corner.

There is a method that we learn called the Mapping method which would help with these types of questions. It requires a bit more training, but with practice you can get there much quicker!

Type 3: Fill in the missing part

Similar to the series ‘fill in the missing part’, this requires a little bit more analysis. It is not in linear steps like the series, but is usually an image whereby a section or ‘part’ is missing, and you must select from the 5 answers to which is the correct missing part.

This type of question usually comes in the form of a grid where the pattern exists horizontally or vertically. Often the pattern will require you to do something to the first and second box to result in the third box. There are usually 4 types of techniques to solve this type of question:

  1. Numerical value patterns. If the boxes contain different numbers of objects, assign each object a numerical value and find a pattern by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing. You should apply these numerical operations either across the row or down the column.
  2. Rotation patterns. Identify whether the components are changing position between boxes, either across the row or down the column.
  3. “One of each” patterns. Identify whether a certain colour or shape occurs only once in each row and column.
  4. Superimposition patterns. Two objects can be superimposed upon each other, forming a secondary object. This can be either addition (in which all of the original components remain visible) or subtraction (in which clashing components cancel each other out).

Example 4
Fill in the missing part.

Guide UMAT non-verbal reasoning question example

Example: A typical question for “Fill in the missing part”




Answer: C

The lines in the first and second box will superimpose to result in the third box but the overlapping lines will be eliminated. There are a few super imposition techniques you can learn to quickly get through these types of questions in the exam!

 General Tips

  • Get familiar with different common techniques – if you expose yourself to the different types of patterns available you can familiarise yourself with what certain patterns look like. This will come in handy and allow you to do the questions in a quicker manner.
  • Don’t be afraid to use the exam paper space to draw out your patterns.
  • If you are taking too long on a section three question, guess and move on – never skip a question. If you don’t know the answer, then mark down the question number, make an educated guess and move on with the test.
  • Want to ace the UMAT exam? Matrix runs a 4 Day UMAT Preparation Course that can help you learn the techniques and strategies to approach these questions in a systematic way.

Are you ready for your UMAT exam?

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