August 6, 2014 by Emedica
Fewer UKCAT candidates take exception at the Quantitative Reasoning section than they do about the other sections! It feels more familiar to academic high flyers to rush their way through lots of maths questions than it does for them to go cross eyed looking at a cluster of small circles!
However – Quantitative Reasoning is not always what those same candidates expect it to be. Almost without exception these students are excellent at maths and almost without exception they struggle with this section – mainly because timing is so pressured.
Here’s what UKCAT say about this section:
The Quantitative Reasoning subtest assesses your ability to use
numerical skills to solve problems. It assumes familiarity with numbers to
the standard of a good pass at GCSE. However items are less to do with
numerical facility and more to do with problem solving.
Doctors and dentists are constantly required to review data and apply it to
their own practice. On a practical level drug calculations based on patient
weight, age and other factors have to be correct. At a more advanced
level, clinical research requires an ability to interpret, critique and apply
results presented in the form of complex statistics. Universities
considering applicants need to know they have the aptitude to cope in
So we can see that what they are looking for is less ‘maths’ (which they know you’re good at from your GCSE result) and more to do with problem solving. The ‘problems’ may not feel like they have any relevance to being a doctor or becoming a dentist but it’s the skill which the UKCAT allows you to show.
The usefulness of numerical problem solving in medical / dental studies and practice isn’t hard to demonstrate.
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