July 25, 2017 by Emedica
It is a fact universally acknowledged that Anna may have taken the UKCAT more times than anyone else in the world… ever!
It’s important that I take the test every year to keep a close eye on how the test is changing. Every year there are some incremental changes and some years there are massive changes! If I am to make sure our questions look right, feel right, behave right then I need to see the real ones.
It’s also important for my credibility that I do well! After all – I teach hundreds of students every year giving them insight into the UKCAT and trying to coach them in techniques and strategies for approaching it. I’d struggle to keep their respect if I performed poorly. So there is some pressure!
The booking it process is practically second nature to me now. The only difference is that this year I used my driving license as ID rather than my passport. I had arrived early – following my own advice to allow ample time to travel and get to the centre – and was allowed to begin my test early as well.
Verbal Reasoning was familiar – there were 16 short style questions (True / False / Can’t tell) and the rest were the longer style. The texts felt a little longer than they have in recent years but the format of the questions was no surprise and whilst I didn’t feel exactly comfortable at least I was on familiar ground.
Decision Making is being marked for the first time this year. I did the section when it was a pilot last year and, obviously, have studied the official tutorial and mock exams intently but it still was an unknown quantity. The mix of questions was broadly like the online mocks with the question types coming in blocks (six syllogisms one after the other then four logic puzzles etc). I find the syllogisms quite easy and would go so far as to say I enjoy the logic puzzles but the recognising assumptions questions really throw me. Even after I have read the rationale I am unsure as to why any given answer is correct. In the end, I just opted for my own opinion in this question type as time was ticking. I found the probabilistic reasoning questions much easier in the real test that I had in the mock which was a relief. Stats and probability lessons at school are 30 years ago in my case! The Venn diagram questions were exactly what I was expecting and whilst I’d have liked more time I didn’t struggle with the content. I really needed my note pad for this section.
Quantitative Reasoning has extended by 2 minutes (yippee). The main change here is that the ‘four question data set’ format seems to be on the way out. I had 12 consecutive questions which each had their own data set. None of them were very complex but it may be disconcerting if you are expecting to see the same table / graph / chart. One question set had a reasonably complex data set but the questions were actually quite simple but I can imagine how someone may have been panicked by all the figures.
Abstract Reasoning was – as ever – abstract! You now get a mixture of all three questions types but you still definitely see more ‘Type 1’ questions. I am sure I spotted quite a few rules this time but some sets I gazed at – using every strategy and technique at my disposal – for what felt like hours to no avail!
Situational Judgement has fast become my least favourite section. I feel like you’re given too much time for it and this causes me to overthink it all! That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!
Right at the end the options to do a survey came up – I was a bit flustered and accidentally opted to not do it and am now eaten up by curiosity as to what is in it! Anyone less impulsive than me who did the survey – let me know!
Anyway – my magic numbers
- Verbal Reasoning 700
- Decision Making 760
- Quantitative Reasoning 900 – oh yeah!
- Abstract Reasoning 800
- Situational Judgement Band 2 – overthinkers anonymous…. My name is Anna!
- Total score: 3160 / 790
Based on past years this will comfortably see me into the top decile so I feel my credibility is safe for another year!