Many students struggle the most with UCAT Verbal Reasoning, as it’s one of the most time-pressured sections of the UCAT.
So, if you’re finding Verbal Reasoning particularly difficult – you’re not alone. These types of VR questions are the hardest to answer and many students struggle with their timing. But we’re here to help – learn our 8-steps for VR success to boost your UCAT score in this blog!
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Here are eight steps to improve your efficiency, decrease the difficulty of the test and help you to increase your UCAT score.
Many students start this section by reading the passage first – this is one of the most common mistakes and it’s a sure-fire way to run out of time! Think about it: you’re reading the passage but you won’t know what you’re looking for until you read the question, at which point you will probably need to go back and read it again. So – we’d advise you to read the question first to save yourself some time!
Some questions will take longer than others – don’t panic about this. The average time per question in UCAT Verbal Reasoning is 30 seconds, but the reality is that some questions you’ll spend longer on, and some will be much easier. So don’t worry if you find yourself not spending 30 seconds on each one – it will all balance out! You can save yourself time in certain sets, such as the ‘true/false/can’t tell’ questions, which will then buy you time for the slightly more complex ones.
Use the guess and flag strategy. If you find yourself stuck on a particularly difficult question, try flagging this and then coming back to it at the end if you have time. That way, you won’t waste valuable time trying to guess the right answer, and can pick up marks elsewhere for more straightforward questions.
Learn to be critical. So, if you need to scan for each answer option, you have to be fast. Remember that you’re looking for something – anything – that doesn’t quite add up. As soon as you see a flaw, discount that option – that will make the process of elimination much quicker. If you can’t quickly find a flaw in an option, then consider that a ‘maybe’. Of the four answer options, you can almost certainly discount two quickly. Then you will be weighing the last two – this is an easy way to save time.
So when deciding between the last two options, remember you have a 50/50 chance. However, don’t be tricked – it’s easy to waste a lot of time at this point weighing them up, but the key is to make a quick call. Are there flaws in one option? If you can’t find a flaw relatively easily, then go with your gut instinct to avoid wasting time.
If you find a perfect answer on option ‘a’ or ‘b’, you can simply select that answer and move on – you won’t necessarily have to check every single answer option.
This is a key part of UCAT Verbal Reasoning strategy: keep calm and analytical. As long as you follow the above methodology and discount as many options as possible, you will do well. Mistakes are made when you panic, so stay as calm as possible!
Remember not to get flustered: every question is worth one mark, so don’t let a couple of hard questions ruin the whole section. The real mistake would be to waste your time worrying about how you answer, as you’ll risk missing out on easier marks elsewhere.