August 9, 2014 by Emedica
This section nearly always elicits frustration for UKCAT students! The relevance to medical or dental studies or practice seems completely absent! It doesn’t help that the majority of the students also find this section extremely hard to master!
What could be worse than a seemingly impossible and pointless section?!
Here’s what the UKCAT say about it
Abstract Reasoning assesses your ability to identify patterns amongst
abstract shapes where irrelevant and distracting material may lead to
incorrect conclusions. The test therefore measures your ability to change
track, critically evaluate and generate hypotheses and requires you to
query judgements as you go along.
When considering possible diagnoses, medical practitioners may be
presented with a set of symptoms and/or results. Some information may
be more reliable, more relevant and clearer than other information.
Doctors and Dentists need to make judgements about such information,
identifying the information which will help them reach conclusions.
Carrying out research involving data often involves identifying patterns in
results in order to generate further hypotheses.
It is also worth noting that almost all aptitude tests (11+, IQ tests) involve a section which looks a lot like Abstract Reasoning. It may be called ‘non-verbal reasoning’ or similar but essentially it is looking for the same skills and abilities.
Having to generate a theory and then test it, and then generate an improved theory and then test it, and then generate yet another theory to be tested feels arduous and fruitless but it is sometimes the reality of diagnosis. A patient may present with multiple symptoms – some of which are relevant to the core condition and some of which are not. You may have to consider and test for many different diseases or syndromes before arriving at the correct one.
One crucial tip for Abstract Reasoning….. don’t think outside the box! Think inside the box!
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