What is the point of UKCAT Verbal Reasoning?

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August 3, 2014 by Emedica

UKCAT can simply feel like one more hurdle to clear when you want to become a doctor or a dentist. In amongst the hard subjects you have to study, and the top grades you have to achieve, and the wide variety of work experience and volunteering you have to shoe horn into your schedule you also have to do the UKCAT!


Frankly it doesn’t feel like a good use of your precious time to read about Mountain Bikes, calculate the speed of a rabbit, let your eyes go squiffy staring at sprials, scratch your head at coded messages and throw your hands in the air at moral dilemmas! None of it feels like it will be much use in determining your suitability for being a doctor!


However – there are skills which the sections of UKCAT test for which WILL be necessary for you if you become a doctor or a dentist. In this series I will spell out exactly how!


This is what it says on the UKCAT.ac.uk site.


The Verbal Reasoning subtest assesses your ability to read and think

carefully about information presented in passages and to determine

whether specific conclusions can be drawn from information

presented.  You are not expected to use prior knowledge to answer the


Doctors and dentists need excellent verbal reasoning skills in order to

understand complex information and communicate this clearly and simply

to patients is essential. Medical practitioners must also be able to

interpret findings from published materials and apply this to their own

practice. It is essential they are able to critique such materials and draw

their own conclusion as to the validity of any findings.

So Verbal Reasoning is there to ensure that you can interpret subtley and nuance in language, but also logic and deduction. It’s not always easy to spot what is certain and what is implied but it IS important to learn the difference!


The usefulness of this skill is detailed in two ways – firstly good verbal understanding skills will make it much easier for a medical practitioner to clearly explain complex information to patients. Secondly, those same skills will ensure that they can interpret and apply published information appropriately.


To these reasons I would add how important it is that you become familiar reading unfamilar material! Trying to understand text which you know nothing about isn’t pleasant…. but it’s something anyone embarking on medicine or dentistry studies is going to have to get used to!



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.




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