How to approach a new style Verbal Reasoning question in UKCAT

4

July 12, 2013 by Emedica

New style Verbal Reasoning questions take a bit longer. When you’re doing a ‘true or false or can’t tell’ question you just have to ascertain the veracity of one statement. In the new style four option questions you may have to assess the veracity of four statements, or even make a judgement regarding their level of veracity.

Look at the passage below

People have lived in the Everglades region for thousands of years. Within the past 100 years however, they have changed the natural landscape dramatically.

These changes began with in South Florida where large drainage projects set out to create more land for settlement. The drainage was often implemented without a full understanding of the intricacies of ecosystems and shaping processes of the Everglades.

 

Though the South Florida metropolitan area grew exponentially, the result caused chaos in ecosystems throughout the Everglades. By the 1990s, the diminishing quality of life for people living in many of these urban areas was linked to the degraded local environment. The State of Florida and the U.S. government devised and passed a plan in 2000 to restore as much of the Everglades to pre-drainage conditions as possible. It is the costliest and most comprehensive environmental restoration project to date.

From the following statments which is definitely false?

A. Drainage can be implemented without damaging the environment

B. The Everglades Restoration Project will be the most expensive environmental project ever

C. People living more than a century ago impacted on the landscape

D. The degraded local environment only affected Everglades wildlife

We’ll assess the statements one by one:

A: Drainage can be implemented without damaging the environment

Immediately you would assume this is false but hopefully you would scan the text for some key words! If you did this you’d find the following sentence:

The drainage was often implemented without a full understanding of the intricacies of ecosystems and shaping processes of the Everglades.

We can see that drainage implemented without a full understanding is, indeed, environmentally damaging. However – nothing in this sentence, or the passage as whole, shows us definitely that drainage always damages the environment. Be careful not to apply your own ‘intuition’. This cannot be definitively stated as false using this passage so must be incorrect.

B. The Everglades Restoration Project will be the most expensive environmental project ever

It is the costliest and most comprehensive environmental restoration project to date.

You may believe yourself to have spotted the answer here by noting the words ‘to date’. You could thus assume that this is definitely false as the text is based over a decade ago (and also the question asks for ‘ever’ whilst the text seems to be written in a national context). However – nothing in the text either says, or implies, that any other environmental projects have been more expensive – either in the context of time or space. We can’t say for certain that this is false – however likely we believe it to be.

C. People living more than a century ago impacted on the landscape

People have lived in the Everglades region for thousands of years. Within the past 100 years however, they have changed the natural landscape dramatically.

All this passage of text tells us is that in the last century the changes to the natural environment have been ‘dramatic’. We can’t assume there was any less ‘dramatic’ impacts made by humans before then. This cannot be definititively stated as false.

D. The degraded local environment only affected Everglades wildlife

By the 1990s, the diminishing quality of life for people living in many of these urban areas was linked to the degraded local environment

Here we see that there was a diminishment in the quality of life for people – not wildlife – as a result of the degredation of the environment. Therefore this answer definitely is false. Option D is the correct answer!

We have over 100 free UKCAT questions for you to try. We also have over 2000 fully updated UKCAT questions, with the same screen layout as the real thing. The service reflects all the new changes for the current year.

4 thoughts on “How to approach a new style Verbal Reasoning question in UKCAT

  1. MarxistBeliever says:

    I don’t understand how this test helps you become a doctor I believe that it’s just a way to undermine the working class from getting higher class jobs such as becoming doctors.

    • Emedica says:

      One of the purposes of the UKCAT is broaden access to a medical career.

      I know it seems like one more hurdle to clear and you are not alone in your frustrations. There is some evidence that it is working though and that a wider range of people are getting into medical school.

  2. Joe says:

    Would you recommend reading the whole text first or scanning for the answers?

    • Emedica says:

      Dear Joe

      Lots of people ask us this and unfortunately there’s not a stock answer! It rather depends on how you read. A quick survey of the UKCATprep.com who took the UKCAT this year (four of us!) reveals that we all have slightly different techniques and strategies.

      You can either read the text in some depth – or at least as much depth as is possible in 60 seconds. This enables you to get a reasonable overall understanding and enables you to skip to the right paragraph for individual questions.

      Or you can read the question first and scan the text for the relevant bits – this is quicker but you may miss crucial information which pertains to the question but which is in a separate paragraph.

      Personally I find it varies depending on the subject – if I feel I understand the text I don’t read it in as much depth beacuse I am more confident in my ability to scan for the relevant bits. If the text is about something I struggle to understand then I read it more carefully before embarking on the questions.

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