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UKCAT Preparation - The Importance of Time Management

The UKCAT is a timed test, with arguably very short time allocations per test. Managing your time in the test is crucial to give yourself the chance to answer the questions towards the end of the test, and gaining the best score you can.


The time pressure is deliberate. The time limits create pressure, and the aim of this test is to examine how you work under pressure. In reality you are not expected to answer every question on the paper in some of the subtests, but the more questions you do answer, the more chance you give yourself of obtaining a good score.

You can prepare yourself to work under this time pressure, and here are some ways how you can do this.

Memorise how long you have to answer each question in each subtest, and try to keep to that time. Some questions will take you less time, some questions more, but try to keep the balance. Keeping to time will mean that you do not need to rush (and guess) at the end of the test. 

Know how many questions are answered on average in each test. For example, the mean number of correct answers in the quantitative reasoning test in 2013 was 16. The test in 2013 had the same number of questions in the same time frame, so this figure suggests that if you can answer more than the mean in the allocated time you stand a good chance of a decent normalised score. 

When you are calculating your time per question, factor in time for reading new passages, pieces of information or scenarios. Understand how many questions you are asked on each new piece of information in each test, so that you can work out how long you can have for each testlet. For example in the verbal reasoning test four questions are asked on each passage of text. This means that you can allocate 1.50 minutes per text and four questions rather than 28 seconds per question (which includes the time needed to read the passage). 

In most of the subtests (other than the decision analysis subtest), you can flag a question and return to it. The benefit of this is that you don’t need to waste time so that you don't have time to finish all questions. It also enables you to return to these questions once you have answered more questions and are feeling more relaxed and confident.

Don’t forget to assess how you are doing for time half way through each subtest. You will then know to speed up or slow down according to the time left on your clock. 

In a test where time is this tight, any delay over the time per question will mean that you won’t reach the end of the test. Managing your time effectively is key to enabling you to at least attempt every question. Use these tips when taking practice UKCAT tests so that you get used to working to a tight time limit, and improve your ability to keep to time in the test.

~ JobTestPrep Team ~