How To Study For UMAT Exam Part 1 (Logical Reasoning Techniques)
Posted on January 24, 2017 by DJ Kim
Many students ask how to study for the UMAT exam effectively. We have compiled a 3 part series on how to study for UMAT exam. We have even included a free 3 hour UMAT Practice Paper for you to sharpen your newly acquired UMAT Logical Reasoning techniques at the end of this blog post.
The UMAT exam is a 3 hour test that consists of 134 multiple choice questions and tests the skills that are required in a medical profession. There are three main broad areas that the UMAT tests:
- Logical Reasoning
- Understanding People
- Non-verbal Reasoning
You can find more information on ACER’s website: https://umat.acer.edu.au/
What is Logical Reasoning (Referred to as Section 1 in the past) In The UMAT Exam?
The logical reasoning section is all about using problem-solving and critical thinking skills to answer questions given the information provided by the stimulus. Usually, these questions come in the format of a reading passage, graph or table and will ask you questions like:
- What is the purpose of this passage?
- What assumptions have been made by this passage?
- What can we conclude from this passage?
- What would strengthen/weaken this conclusion?
- Which of the following is correct/incorrect?
There is often more than one question on the same stimulus, so it’s important to read the content carefully!
Why Do So Many Students Find Logical Reasoning Questions Challenging?
This section has a lot of reading involved and so most students find this the most difficult of the UMAT sections to finish in the allotted time. It’s hard to really say exactly what time you should allocate to questions of this section as everyone has different strengths and weaknesses but use your past papers to figure out what your individual timing for the exam is.
How To Solve Logical Reasoning Questions
The key to Section 1 questions are to be as speedy as possible whilst absorbing as much information provided. Note-taking and diagrams can help with this as well as practising overtime. Here are some general strategies to employ in the exam:
- Preview the question: Before looking at the stimulus, always look at what the question is asking of you. That way, you are able to filter out all the unnecessary information as the UMAT loves to put in distractors and red herrings to put you off.
- Actively read: Follow along with your pencil when reading as Section 1 questions present you with huge paragraphs to read and it is really easy to get distracted or read the wrong line. This ensures that you are focussing on what you are reading in the moment. More on this below!
- Annotate as you read: To save you time from having to go back and scan for the important bits, annotate the information that you think is important and relevant to the question that you previewed. Also, it’s a good idea to underline the negatives and double negatives in the question.
- Visualise information: Either in a graph, table or diagram, this is a great way to simplify and summarise the abundance of complex information presented to you.
- Never assume the information that is not given: Even though you might be an expert and have additional knowledge or external bias on a certain subject matter that they include in the stimulus, never ever use that information for the UMAT. Make sure that your answer can be inferred from the information provided in the stimulus only.
Types of Logical Reasoning Questions
There are many different types of questions in Logical Reasoning section and different ways to tackle each specific type. Most Logical Reasoning questions may fall into the following types.
- Type 1: Logic Game
- Type 2: Data
- Type 3: Passages and Comprehension
- Type 4: Numeracy
- Type 5: Scientific Method
Again, there may be more unique style questions and techniques as the exam varies year on year. We’ve put some tips on a few techniques that may help you understand the types of questions you may be faced with to help you in the exam:
Type 1: Logic Game
This type of question presents a scenario where you’ll have to arrange the information into a combination that suits the clues given in the question. The approach for this question type is to tabulate the data or simplify it into a diagram. Here’s a step-by-step example:
The Bear bow costs $710. William, Bob, Henry and Ronald were having a discussion about four brands of bows they were willing to buy – Hoyts, Win&Win, Bear and Renegade non-respectively. They each vary in price from $595, $630, $699 and $710 non-respectively. All four boys decided to buy a new bow to beat their highest target competition score – 637, 688. 713 and 749 non-respectively.
- The Bear bow cost $710
- The person whose highest score is 637 bought a bow worth $595
- Henry bought Renegade bow
- The person whose highest score is 688 bought the Hoyts bow
- Ronald’s highest score is 749 but did not buy the $630
- Bob bought a $699 bow and has a highest score of 713.
We can conclude that:
(A) Ronald bought a Bear bow for $710
(B) Bob bought a Bear bow for $710
(C) The Renegade bow cost Henry $630
(D) William’s lowest target competition score is 688
Did you get it right? Here is the step by step method on how we got the answer.
We can already rule out (D) as the information provided is for highest target competition score NOT lowest. Therefore we can’t conclude anyone’s lowest target competition score.
The best approach to this question would be to draw a table, such as the one below.
Before putting the information from the clues into the table there are two golden rules you should know:
- There should be no overlap of information from clues
- The clue cannot exist anywhere else in the table
- From clue 1, we know that the Bear bow costs $710
- From clue 2, we know that the $595 bow went to the person with the score of 637. If we put the information of clue 2 into row 1 of the table there will clearly be an overlap of the cost and so this is not possible. Hence, clue 2 will go in its own separate row.
- From clue 3, we can see that Henry bought a Renegade bow. We will skip this clue for now since it could potentially be placed in row 2 as there is no overlap but it can also be in a row of its own, so for now we’ll skip that clue and come back to it. [In the exam, mark it with a star so you know to come back]
- From clue 4, the Hoyts bow went to a person with a score of 688. Since there is overlap if we place clue 4 in row 1 and 2, we can safely assume that it is in its separate row.
- From clue 5, Ronald scored 749 but did not buy the $630 bow. This clue could be put in row 1 as there is no overlap and also can exist in row 4. Therefore, we’ll come back to this clue.
- From clue 6, Bob bought a $699 bow and scored 713. This clue has to be in row 4 as if it were to be in any row there would be an overlap of either the cost or the score.
- Now that we’ve gone through our clues, we’ll come back to the ones we skipped earlier [clue 3 and 5]
- Clue 3 says that Henry bought a Renegade bow and the only place it fits so that there is no overlap is in row 2.
- Clue 5 tells us that Ronald has a score of 749 but did not pay $630. The only place where this will fit will be in row 1 so that there is no overlap.
- We’ve used up all of our clues however there is just one box remaining in each column. It then just becomes a matter of filling in the blank through an elimination process of what’s left in each of the categories.
Therefore our answer is A
NOTE: You might be thinking that it is very time-consuming to tabulate all this information but usually there are 3-4 questions following this stimulus and having a table is a really quick and accurate way of going about questions like this.
Type 2: Data
This type of question tests your ability to interpret information from graphs and tables and make logical conclusions to answer the question. The UMAT can make these questions difficult by overloading you with unnecessary data, using different units of measurement, presenting misleading representations of data or using graphs that you’re not used to such as a three-axis graph.
Here are some guiding tips when handling these questions:
- Look at the title, key, axes or column/row headings: This will give you context and is especially important if the question is presenting you with multiple graphs.
- Be aware of the limitations of your data: Sometimes a UMAT question may ask about values that are outside the given data range, timeframe or area of focus. Never extrapolate!
- Be confident with your mental math: You should be able to do quick calculations or approximations in your head because you are not allowed a calculator in the UMAT.
Source: Drefahl, S. (2010). Marriage and life expectancy. Retrieved 24/01/17, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2010-05-downside-marriage-greater-wife-age.html
From the graph, it can be concluded that:
(A) The decline in the male age at marriage in the 1950’s was a consequence of World War II.
(B) The female age at marriage in 1990 was less than that of males at 1910
(C) The male age at marriage was less in 1990 than it was in 1930
(D) The female age at marriage will overtake the male age at marriage by 2050
Did you get it right again? Here are some tips that might help get the answer faster!
Things you should notice when looking at a graph like this:
- The title: Age at Marriage in USA (important to note the location, and what the age is indicating)
- Timeframe is 1890 to 2010 (deduced from the horizontal axis)
- The key
We can immediately rule out D as we should never extrapolate the data and the timeframe of the data is 1890 to 2010. There is nothing on 2050.
We are not given any context about World War II in the question and this is outside the scope of the data we have been given so we can’t really conclude A.
Option C is not true as we can see from the graph that male age at marriage was higher in 1990 than it was in 1930
The female age at marriage in 1990 was approximately 24, which was less than the male age at marriage in 1910, which was approximately 25. Hence B is the answer.
Type 3: Passages and Comprehension
Active Speed reading tips to save time
Logical reasoning questions demand a lot of reading and logical deduction at the same time. Thus, it is important to master the art of Active Speed Reading.
Active reading, as mentioned before, is when you are actively paying attention to the words that you are currently reading. It can be easy to let your mind wander off when reading huge chunks of text but something that you can’t afford to waste time on in the UMAT. A tip for this is to actively follow the words along the page with your pencil as you are reading.
Speed Reading is reading something quickly but also absorbing as much information as you go along. Again, following along with a pencil helps with this as you are actively reading and controlling your reading pace with your pencil. You will have to learn to read efficiently and effectively. Here are some tips for this:
- Pre-read the question: Before reading the stimulus, always read what the question is asking of you. In doing this, you are easily more able to filter out the information that you do not require as the UMAT is full of distractors and red herrings.
- Skip vocalising: It’s a common habit to vocalise or mouth the words as you read. This actually slows you down as your mind is focussing on both the reading and moving your mouth. Try and avoid this through practice.
- Avoid re-reading: It’s a huge waste of time to have to go back and re-read information that you have already gone through. Therefore, to avoid this, annotate as you are reading the passage for the first time. Pick out the important and relevant information.
- Practice, Practice, Practice! There is no way you can master this skill overnight. It takes a lot of time and practice so it’s a good idea to do this routinely, for instance, every night before you go to bed. TIP: In order to multitask and get the most out of your preparation, practice active speed reading with your English texts.
FINAL TIPS FOR ACING SECTION 1
- Logical Reasoning questions are very intense and demanding. It utilises skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, active speed reading and mental math. These are the skills that you develop overtime and so it’s very important to go through as many practice questions as possible under exam conditions. It’s not enough to have these skills. You’ve got to apply them to a time-pressured situation.
- Always make sure your answer can be backed up by the stimulus information. You’ll be surprised how much of a common mistake it is to use the information you know outside of the scope of the stimulus to answer the question. Never assume, extrapolate or introduce outside knowledge or bias.
- Be aware of absolutes and uncertainties. Some questions include “always”, “sometimes”, “never”, “usually”, “often”, etc. Make sure you are aware of these in the answer as they can sometimes be misinterpreted.
- Eliminate answers that are obviously wrong. This is a simple multiple choice technique to employ that is very time-saving.
- Be aware of negatives and double negatives. The UMAT is designed to try and trip you over so you have to pay attention to the details. A good way to avoid silly mistakes is to annotate the negatives and double-negatives in the question.
Take your UMAT skills to the next level
- Assess your UMAT skills with Free Matrix UMAT Practice Paper. Click here to download a 3 hour UMAT Practice Paper consisting of 134 UMAT Exam style questions.
- Read ‘How To Study For UMAT Exam Part 2 (Understanding People Techniques)‘
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