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Verbal Reasoning Tips

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It can be hard to know where to start when studying for the UCAT verbal reasoning section. Read on to discover some common concerns and preparation tips you could try!

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1. Mix it up

There are a few different ways you can approach the UCAT verbal reasoning section. After you’ve had a look at a number of practice papers, you will start to develop what works for you. Balancing time efficiency and precision will help maximise your score!

Some students like to read the text first and then answer the questions. This approach is thorough and will help you to be more precise in your answers. It’s important, however, to watch your timing with this technique.

Another method to try involves skim reading the questions before going through the text. Many students find this helpful as they are on the look out for answers while reading. It can be confusing moving back and forwards between the questions and the text.

You can also try reading the questions and skimming through the text looking for the answers. This can be a great time saver! Be careful with this method though, as sometimes it’s hard to understand the overall meaning of the text.

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2. Watch the clock

A lot of students struggle with time pressure in this section of the test. The feeling of needing to read faster and get ahead with questions can be distracting in the exam.

Practising timing of the verbal reasoning section at home can help with the pressure on your actual exam day. Start by doing a UCAT practice paper, focusing on the verbal reasoning section.

If you are struggling to complete the questions within the time limit, it’s time to consider doing some calculations. First, check how many questions you need to do in the total exam time. Then, calculate how long you have to do ten questions.

Give yourself that time and do a practice set of ten questions. That way you know how much pressure you will feel throughout the exam! You can also try doing this exercise for more or less questions, whatever works for you.

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3. Read, read, read!

An important part of the UCAT verbal reasoning section is your ability to read. Reading widely will increase your vocabulary, reading speed and ability to understand different texts.

Look at newspaper articles, textbooks, short stories, poems and radio transcripts. Also, try reading about different topics such as science, politics and literature. Anything you read will help, particularly if it’s a bit challenging!

If you find a word you don’t know while reading, try to guess the meaning by using the context of the passage. Look up the new word in a dictionary and see how close you got. This is a great way to build up your vocabulary and have a fall-back option for if you don’t know a word in the exam.

You can also try writing a short summary after reading a text, to practice understanding the overall meaning of what you read. Aim to draw connections between themes and ideas explored in the text. A few sentences is an ideal summary length for this exercise.

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4. Ask for help

It can be difficult preparing for the UCAT verbal reasoning section on your own. Registering for a course or workshop is a great idea if you feel you need the extra support.

These workshops include extra materials and preparation techniques to help maximise your score. Meeting other students sitting the UCAT too is beneficial as you can share the preparation experience together.

Some students also choose to take up private tutoring. A tutor can be found online, through a tutoring company or university advertisement pages. This is useful if you have lots of specific questions, want to work through material with someone experienced or just need extra support.

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help with your study!

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5. Be confident

Preparing for the UCAT verbal reasoning section can be challenging. It is a common issue to struggle with the time pressure, difficult passages and complex questions.

Remember that many students are feeling the same way about preparing for this section of the exam, so don’t be disheartened.

Whilst you are preparing for the exam, it’s important to be confident. Even if you’re feeling stressed or challenged, do your best to complete the paper to the best of your ability.

Finally, if you can’t work out all of the questions or if you run out of time, don’t be hard on yourself! Keep trying to improve your performance on this section as best as you can.

Words: Mary Agapides

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