Looking for UCAT Verbal Reasoning tips? From practising speed reading to scanning the question first, here are our strategies for boosting your Verbal Reasoning score so you can tailor your preparation accordingly.
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This is one of the most important UCAT Verbal Reasoning tips. There are plenty of ways you can do this: try skim reading books or newspaper articles to get the gist of the piece, and see if you can summarise what was written to a friend. Being able to do this will save you a lot of time in the exam – you won’t be poring over every word, you’ll be looking for the key details.
2. Understand what true and false really mean
This is key to performing well in Verbal Reasoning. Many students fall into the trap of assuming that something is true or false, when actually there is not enough information given – or they bring their own knowledge in, instead of focusing solely on the passage.
Remember: a statement in a Verbal Reasoning passage is true if it logically follows from the information you’ve read. If you can’t decide if the statement does follow logically (focusing only on the information given – nothing else!), then the correct answer is most probably ‘can’t tell’.
3. Read the ‘free text’ questions first
This is simple but incredibly effective! This is key for free text question types: reading the question first will save you a lot of time scanning the passage, so your reading can be more focused and you can find the answer more quickly.
4. Read newspaper articles or journals
This is a good way of brushing up on your speed-reading skills, as mentioned above. You could try a science journal, magazine or news articles. You’ll become used to reading long, abstract chunks of text – which you’ll often find in Verbal Reasoning questions!
After you’ve finished reading, you could try making a bullet pointed list of the key facts or points made in the article – and see how much you can remember each time. This will train you to read attentively.
5. Don’t overthink it
This is important – UCAT examiners will know that, especially in Verbal Reasoning, you don’t have a lot of time to complete each question.
Take statements at face value – if you find yourself spending too long on one question, you can easily make yourself confused and you’ll end up wasting time.
If you find yourself re-reading a passage or a question multiple times, it’s quite likely that the answer is probably ‘Can’t Tell’.
6. Trust your instinct
One of the most crucial UCAT Verbal Reasoning tips. Most students find Verbal Reasoning incredibly time pressured, and many will run out of time. This is part of the reason that most tips for this section will involve skim-reading and reading the question first.
So, if you find yourself running out of time for a particular question, we’d advise you to go with your gut instinct. Don’t waste time doubting yourself as it’s not a good use of your time! Answer the question with your best guess, and move on.
7. Pay attention to the question wording
Always pay attention to the question wording of the question – as this is often where the clue to the answer lies. If the text says that ‘X sometimes happens’ and the questions asks you if ‘X always happens’ – then you know it’s not technically correct, but the difference is just one word, and under the time pressure of the Verbal Reasoning section it can often catch people out!
The questions will only be based on what is in front of you, so as mentioned before it’s important to take the text as it is, without bringing any of your own knowledge to it.