Quantitative Reasoning for UKCAT – the art of extracting the sum!

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July 26, 2015 by Emedica

Quantitative Reasoning is THE section where you can pick up guaranteed UKCAT points. Unlike all of the other sections there is no reasoning, no subjectivity and you can do the maths!

However – year on year this section frustrates and enrages UKCAT candidates! They can do the maths but the timings are SO tight that they simply cannot finish – or even get close to finishing.

This is, naturally, a deliberate ploy of the UKCAT people. They know your maths is impeccable but what they want to assess is how quick and logical your approach to numerical problems is. There’s no time in a busy hospital ward to get out a scientific calculator and sit down with a page of equations!

So my tips for Quantitative Reasoning are:

  1. Remember and refresh your mental maths skills! If you’re using the calculator to do basic sums then you’re wasting time – you shouldn’t need to use a machine to work out what 6 x 3 is. Or even what 90 / 360 is as a percentage.
  2. Assess the data set and the question quickly. Data sets (the table, chart or whatever they have given you) contain lots of extraneous information and you need to assess which bits are relevant.
  3. Make a rough guess as to what the answer is likely to be – Using nothing but your head! There is a tendency to believe a number the calculator gives – even when it’s totally illogical and makes no sense. If you’ve already estimated the answer then anything wildly different will set alarm bells off and make you reconsider either your estimate or calculation.
  4. Does the answer make sense? There’s no such thing as 3.4 people, or 7.2 boxes for example. If you’re asked how many 25 person boats are needed to rescue 80 people from an island – the answer won’t be 3.2! It will be 4 – round upwards or leave some poor people to fend for themselves!

If you do this section properly you won’t need to use your notepad or your calculator for every question. Lots of the questions can be done using mental maths, and even more can be roughly estimated and 3 very wrong options eliminated.

Spend time using online resources for GCSE maths, and even Key Stage 2 and 3 maths. This will help you speed up and get better at estimating. They’re also aimed at younger people than you and are often quite good fun!

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. We also run a 1 day Crammer Course to help boost your UKCAT score – book here!

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