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UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Tips - for Type 2 Questions

UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Tips - for Type 2 Questions - JobTestPrep's Blog
You enter the exam venue for one of the most crucial exams in your academic career, and you’re immediately thrown into the deep end tackling the Verbal Reasoning section. You will probably be nervous, unsure of what level of difficulty to expect and dreading the remainder of test; so it’s definitely understandable that most pupils sitting the UKCAT exam will find great difficulty in successfully answering the Verbal Reasoning Type 2 questions.

Thankfully, our latest blog post is now here to tackle the most common challenges faced in correctly answering the Type 2 UKCAT Verbal Reasoning questions.

So what is ‘Type 2 Verbal Reasoning’?

Type 2 Verbal Reasoning refers to the batch of questions in the verbal reasoning section where you have to read a passage and choose the most suitable answer from a range of 5 possibilities. In its essence, you must be able to grasp the context of the passage and its overall key points in order to answer the question.

Technique

The biggest difficulty most pupils will have is time-management. Should you read the passage fully or should you read the question and then skim read the passage for the answer? In truth, it all comes down to personal preference, and a little combination of the two techniques.

If you feel confident on time, you should read the passage in full, creating a mental map of the key points and where they lie in the text – the most crucial thing you should pick up is a summary of the passage in your own words (or in one direct quotation if you can find it!).

However, if you are short of time, or you feel your reading and comprehension skills are not strong enough to read the full passage in time, we recommend you do the following:
  • Read the question first; understand what is being asked of you and embed that into your mind (each question is explained later in our blog).
  • Skim-read the answer options so that you have them roughly in your head – remember, there are always ways of eliminating answer options so try to do that whilst you follow the next bullet point.
  • Use a combination of skim-reading and in-depth reading to find your final answer. Skim-read the passage until you find a sentence or key-word that you think could be relevant to the answer. Then, read in-depth the adjacent sentences and try to collate an answer together.
Here at JobTestPrep, we have summarised the main questions that come up in this section into four main groups. In this blog, we will explain what each of the questions is assessing, and therefore what you need to be thinking when you look for an answer.

→ The author most/least likely agrees with which of the following…?

In this question, you should only be concerned with the OPINION of the author of the passage. We are not interested in facts, figures or data unless the author has expressed an opinion on them. In this question, you must pay close attention to qualifiers (see our online packages if you are unsure on what these are) and small phrases that will portray the author’s opinion.


→ Which of the following claims is best supported by the passage?

In short, this question is looking for the most discussed trend mentioned by the passage – this could simply be the topic that is mentioned the greatest number of times, or it could be the topic that discussed in greatest depth. To put it another way, if you were to give the passage a title or heading, this title or heading would be that most discussed trend – i.e., the claim which is best supported by the passage. Note that this has nothing to do with the author’s opinion.


→ What conclusion can be drawn from the passage?

This is a simple and self-explanatory question – you are looking for the overall message of the passage. Does the author lean for or against a specific topic? That is your conclusion. Be aware that the conclusion will not necessarily be at the end of the passage – the author may choose to mention his or her conclusion in the first sentence, and then spend the rest of the passage justifying or explaining his conclusion.


→ Which of the following statements is most/least likely to be true?

This question is very similar to question 2 above, but there is a crucial difference; here, you must make an inference as to what is probably the most accurate answer. This means that there will be more than one correct answer, but you must select the MOST correct answer. To do this correctly, you must pick up crucial sentences from all over the passage and link them together to create your own judgement – in essence, this question tests your ability to understand what is being said in the passage and select a suitable synonymous answer option. Remember not to use your own knowledge!

Summary

This short blog has outlined the crucial points of the Type 2 Verbal Reasoning questions. It will help speed up your work, eliminate incorrect answers quickly and accurately, and increase the likelihood of finding the correct answer. For a more in-depth examination of the techniques and tips for the Verbal Reasoning section, visit our UKCAT section and sign up for our UKCAT online packages (notes, explanations, and thousands of questions).

Written by Shahab, a member of JTP’s UKCAT tutors team.


UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Tips - Type #1 Questions

“I just can't seem to spot the pattern!” Is this how you feel whilst practising Abstract Reasoning questions? You are gaining confidence and getting quicker in the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Analysis sections, but just can't seem to be improving in Abstract Reasoning? Don't worry – you're not alone. The UKCAT Abstract Reasoning section has long been the nemesis of many a UKCAT student.

Here at JobTestPrep, we have put together some of the most useful tips, guidelines and bits of advice that will most certainly help you solve some of the Type 1 Abstract Reasoning questions. “Whoa whoa whoa there’s more than one type of question in Abstract Reasoning?!” In fact, three new subtypes of questions were added to the Abstract Reasoning section in the 2012 updates (keep a look out for more on this in future blog posts!) Today, we will be focusing upon tackling the type 1 Abstract Reasoning questions.

Overview

The Type 1 Abstract Reasoning questions essentially require you to identify the logic behind one set (A or B), identify the logic of the other set, whose pattern is usually linked to its counterpart, and then place 5 test shapes into either set A, set B or neither set. It’s worth clearing up a fairly common mistake made here. The answer will be ‘neither’ if the test shape does not match either set, OR, if the test shape matches both sets. But it’s spotting the pattern that can be the real difficulty…

A few UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Tips…

The three square rule:

With just over 70 seconds to work out both patterns and then place the 5 test shapes into a category, it is fundamental that you have an efficient method of working out the rule. Perhaps the most useful method to use here is the three square rule:


  1. Find the box out of either set which is the most simple - normally the one with the fewest things inside it. (You have to remember that every box, however simple, must contain the rule used. The simpler the box, the fewer the number of distractors inside it -see below!)
  2. Look at two boxes either side of it
  3. Compare the three boxes, looking for any similarity with regards to the shapes, patterns, colouring or edges.
  4. Think you're on to something? Great, check this works for the rest of the boxes in that set, and more importantly, not for any of the boxes in the other set.
  5. If this works, voila, you're probably onto something…
“That’s all well and good, but what do I look for in the three boxes?”

Going through the fairly repetitive task of recognising patterns amongst the boxes requires some sort of checklist of things to look out for – a mnemonic. Using a mnemonic, be it a short simple one or a longer more advanced one, will help save you time constantly thinking about what to look for next across the boxes in a set. Use a mnemonic like:

SCANS:
  • Shape
  • Colour
  • Angle/Arrangement
  • Number of (shapes, sides, intersections…)
  • Symmetry
Do remember, that this mnemonic is by no means exhaustive, but serves as a useful basis upon which you can work out what the rule really is!


“I thought I had the pattern, but it didn't quite fit one of the boxes.” 

You've probably stumbled across a distractor. As if some of the patterns are not complex enough, distractors are used to divert your attention away from the real pattern. Being able to spot a distractor will not only save you time, but help make your attempt at finding the pattern far more efficient. Let’s take the example of one of the most common distractors used - colour. Quite simply, if you see a box where all the shapes are the same colour, colour is most likely being used as a distractor, so move on! Quickly eliminating distracter answer options will help increase the time you have, and thus the chances of finding the correct answer!

This is a very general overview of some just some of the methods that you can use to help decipher the rule used within each of the type 1 UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Questions. For much more information on methods of spotting distractors, a more advanced mnemonic, and a list of some of the most common patterns and features to look out for, head over to our UKCAT section. Here you can take a free UKCAT test online; sign up for our UKCAT online packages (notes, in-depth explanations and thousands of questions) and even speak to one of our experienced UKCAT tutors for some extra guidance!

Written by Akash, a member of JTP’s UKCAT tutors team.


The Differences Between Diagrammatical and Spatial Reasoning Tests

Inductive- Diagrammatic Reasoning Test ExampleThroughout your job search you may encounter diagrammatical or spatial reasoning tests. There are some similarities between them but in actual fact they are aimed at two distinctly different groups. In this blog we will explain what they are, their target audience, and the difference between the two of them.


Diagrammatical Reasoning Tests

Diagrammatic Reasoning Test Sample Exercise


There are many types of diagrammatical tests and they are used in many different contexts. Many assessment companies use this name to describe quite different tests, however they all have one thing in common - they are non-verbal reasoning tests. 
In a broad sense diagrammatic reasoning tests are used in assessing your ability to understand different rules and draw correct conclusions from them. This conclusion may be in the form of working out the next image in a sequence or using the rules that have been formed throughout the question to select a correct output of a particular sequence. Hence, these tests are a true assessment of General Mental Ability (GMA). For example, you may be given a set of instructions that cause the output to change, i.e. a square changes the sequence and rotates it 180 degrees and a circle causes the image to rotate 90 degrees clockwise.

In general, there are three different skills that candidates are assessed on in a diagrammatical reasoning test and these are outlined below. They are the ability to: 
  • Identify different causes to understand missing inputs of a logical sequence. 
  • Understand logical rules. 
  • Infer a set of rules from a chart and to apply these rules to new situations.
The diagrammatical reasoning tests can be utilised for a wide range of job positions as they are a test of a candidates’ ability to think in a logical manner. However, they are at their most useful in the assessment of candidates applying for jobs in the IT sector such as system analysts and system designers. This is because the rules governing such jobs are often in a different form than that of other, managerial type jobs. 

Spatial Reasoning Tests

Spatial Reasoning Test Sample

Spatial tests are more specialised in their approach and are closely linked with the job being applied for. For example, someone working as an engineer needs to understand complex diagrams in both 2 and 3 dimensions and use them to create or fix a structure. Hence these tests are used for those applying to “hands on” jobs such as mechanics, engineers, and those working with Computer Aided Design, CAD. There are also used for design jobs such as architects. Another important need for spatial recognition is in the medical field, particularly for surgeons. There are three main skills assessed in these spatial reasoning tests, they are:
  • The ability to estimate lengths and angles,
  • The ability to rotate shapes mentally, and 
  • The ability to understand the correlation between two and three dimensional shapes. 
For example, you may be presented an image such as a box that has been “unwrapped” and rotated in various ways. You need to use your spatial awareness skills to correctly decide which one of the complete boxes is the 3D image. 

In summary

We have seen that there are similarities and differences between diagrammatical reasoning tests and spatial reasoning test. Both of these tests measure cognitive abilities and are non-verbal tests. Moreover, both of these tests could be used to hire a single candidate for a single position. However, whilst diagrammatic reasoning tests are used in a more general sense, assessing candidates’ logical thinking ability and are used in the main by those working in a computer based environment, spatial reasoning tests are used in more “hands on” positions such as engineers.

How can we help? 

At JobTestPrep we have a plethora of resources covering diagrammatical reasoning tests as well as spatial reasoning tests. These tests can be taken in a timed test environment or in an untimed manner giving you the opportunity to fully think through your answers before tackling a timed test. What this means for you is that when you actually come to take the tests you will be fully prepared both in terms of content and with the ability to work fast under time pressure.

With our help and guidance we are sure that you will be able to perform your best in your next job application. Looking forward to hearing your positive reply after using our products. Good luck!


UKCAT Decision Analysis Test Help

UKCAT Decision Analysis Test Help - JobTestPrep's Blog
So you've been on our website and you're fast becoming an expert at tackling the UKCAT… BUT you're stuck on Decision Analysis?

Well problem solved! We here at JobTestPrep have compiled the most useful tips and techniques for solving Decision Analysis problems – from the very basic to the most advanced.

Overview

In its simplest terms, the UKCAT Decision Analysis section consists of making and breaking codes. Firstly, you will be given a table of numbers and letters, each of which stands for a particular word that you will be told. Using this table, you will be asked to do some of the following activities:
  • Break a code,
  • Use the table to create a code for a sentence,
  • Choose two suitable code words that could be added to the table to improve the fluidity of a specific sentence.

Technique

The biggest difficulty facing most people trying to solve Decision Analysis questions is deciding upon the technique to use. The three most common techniques are as follows:
  • Trying to break and solve the code in your head, then looking for a suitable answer option.
  • Write down the broken and solved code in full onto your whiteboard, then looking at your answer options and eliminating incorrect answers and choosing the most suitable answer. This technique is known as Top-Down Analysis.
  • You could break down the code on your whiteboard in fragments, looking at the answer options to see which do and do not match. This way, you can also eliminate answer options, ultimately leaving you with one correct choice. This technique is known as Bottom-Up Analysis.

So which is best?

In this section, you are given 34 minutes to answer 28 questions – this is the only section in the UKCAT where you have over 1 minute per question.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you write down your “broken and solved” code onto your whiteboard. This prevents you from making silly mistakes in your head. Whether you decide to use the Top-Down or Bottom-Up Analysis is up to your personal preference; some may find it time-consuming to do Top-Down, whilst others may prefer it because it decreases your chances of making a mistake.

Once you've written your broken code out, compare it to the five answer options you have been provided with. Four of these answer options, have a specific and deliberate mistake in them, however similar they may be to the actual answer. These deliberate mistakes are known as Distracters.

Look for any distracter answer options that have:

  • included new words,
  • missed out words from the code,
  • been written in the wrong tense,
  • made incorrect reference to the singular or plural,
  • misinterpreted commas and brackets,
  • incorrectly used codes from the Operators column,
  • been written too literally.

This will help you to eliminate distracter answer options, thus increasing your chances of finding the correct answer.

If you’re still unable to decide on an answer despite having eliminated a few distracters, be aware that two or more answers may be correct at any one time – the important thing to remember is that you must select the most suitable answer. In other words, you must pick that which is more correct out of the remaining options.

Conclusion

This general overview into tackling the techniques behind Decision Analysis will help speed up your work, help you eliminate incorrect answers quickly and accurately, and increase the likelihood of finding the correct answer. For a more in-depth examination of the techniques and tips for the Decision Analysis section, visit our UKCAT section on and sign up for our UKCAT online packages (notes, explanations, and thousands of practice questions).

Written by Shahab, a member of JTP’s UKCAT tutors team.