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Spotlight On... UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Test

Which set does the following shape belong to?
The UKCAT abstract reasoning subtest is a fast moving test with just 14 minutes (or 15 seconds each!) to answer 55 questions. You are not expected to answer every question in the test, (breathe), so make sure you know in advance how many you do need to get right in order to get a good score. In 2013 the average number of correct answers was 36, and with no updates to the test timing in 2014, this is the baseline to beat.

What type of question can I expect in the UKCAT abstract reasoning test?

The UKCAT abstract reasoning test contains four different question types. These types can be broadly described as place the shape in set A or set B (types 1 and 4), complete the series (type 2), and complete the statement (type 3, or shape analogies). 

Candidates taking the test in 2014 have reported that this year there is a good mix of questions, with more questions asking you to complete the series or complete the statement than in the past. Make sure to prepare all types of question in advance. 

The different types of abstract reasoning question deserve more detail than can be covered in this blog. Learn more about how to approach type 1 and type 4 questions with our type 1 questions blog. This page contains tips and advice that will help you know where to start on each and every question.

Our blog looking at types 2 and 3 will tell you more about these two styles of questions, along with tips on how to solve them. Between this page and the other page you should have a good starting point for a solving strategy. 

What help will practice be?

With so little time available to answer each question, familiarity with the questions and a technique to recognise patterns is an important contributor to getting a good score. The more you prepare, the quicker and more accurate you will be at recognising patterns, and even identifying more complex rules.

If you prepare properly for the abstract reasoning test it is not difficult, and you can get a good score. However the fast pace of the test does mean that you need to know how to answer quickly and accurately. Learn about the question types and solving strategies for your UKCAT abstract reasoning test with our online practice packs.

Spotlight On… UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning Test

In 2013 the quantitative reasoning test was the lowest scoring of the four UKCAT subtests, and in order to achieve an average score (600) you had to get just 16 questions right. These scores are a testimony to just how difficult this test was. So just what do you need to do in order to improve your QR subtest score? Let’s take a closer look at this test. 

Mastering the basics - QR maths skills

One of the key skills for the quantitative reasoning test is mental arithmetic. In this test you generally need to make more than one calculation in order to come to the answer, and you must be able to do these calculations quickly and accurately. Sharpening your mental arithmetic skills should be a large part of your UKCAT quantitative reasoning preparation. 

You also need to be clear on how to perform a range of calculations needed to come to the answers. These functions include ratios, percentages, fractions, multiplication, and division to name but a few. To arrive at the answer, you need to work through these calculations steadily,  methodically and in an organised way.

You can use a calculator to help you out with these questions, so prepare with an onscreen calculator from the beginning. 

Working quickly in a quantitative reasoning test

The most difficult element of the quantitative reasoning subtest is answering the questions with the required calculations in the time allocated. Even with this year’s additional two minutes on the time for the subtest, test takers are reporting that they are struggling to complete the test in the time allocated. So what can you do to get faster?

Practice using an onscreen calculator. This will save a lot of time as you familiarise yourself with where to move your mouse in order to make calculations. Some people have said their test centre won’t allow them to use the keyboard, so practice using a mouse on the calculator as well.

Don’t spend too long on one question. If you find you are spending too long on a question, flag it up to go back to later and move on to the next one.

Perform easy calculations in your head or on paper. Learn shortcut techniques as part of your preparation. For example, divide the number by 100 in your head when calculating percentages. You may then need to use a calculator to multiply this number by 26%, but at least you have cut out one step.

Keep your calculations on your whiteboard. You may find that you need to use the same calculations again in the next question, so writing them down and keeping them to go back to will allow you to skip stages in later questions. 

The quantitative reasoning subtest is difficult, but with good preparation of your maths and reasoning skills, as well as practising working through questions quickly will help you come out with a good score. It is worth taking time to ensure that you have the basic skills before you start preparing. And take practice tests to help you understand the timing. Our UKCAT practice packs contain revision materials for skills, as well as test tips and of course all important practice tests. Good luck!

Updated Preparation for CEB's SHL Numerical Reasoning Test

Updated Preparation for CEB's SHL Numerical Reasoning TestAs part of our continuous efforts to offer you specific and up-to-date psychometric test preparation, we are proud to announce the launch of our new and improved preparation pack for CEB’s SHL* Numerical Reasoning tests for graduate/management level.

Our new and improved preparation pack is specifically designed to provide you with study aids and practice materials that follow the trends recently seen on CEB’s SHL assessments.

One of the main improvements introduced in the new pack is the development of practice tests that include a wide spectrum of questions, thus allowing you to prepare for the different types of CEB’s SHL tests available on the market. Our varied pool of questions reflects the different CEB’s SHL tests, from concepts and visual appearance of the data to required mathematical and analytical skills and levels of difficulty.

Another important addition to the new pack is the inclusion of exclusive practice tests that reflect the popular Verification method used by CEB’s SHL. According to this method, all candidates are required to sit an unsupervised online test, consisting of 18 questions. Those who pass the test are often requested to take a supervised shorter version of the test, used to vouch for the reliability of their results. In order to help you prepare for both tests, we offer 10 practice tests that follow the length and time frames of the longer version, as well as 5 tests that follow those of the short version. 

The new pack includes**:

  • 15 graph/table tests that follow the features of CEB’s SHL Verify test. 
  • 7 additional graph/table practice tests.
  • 5 Word problem tests – for those expected to sit SHL’s Global Cognitive (GCI) Index test.
  • Practice drills that lay the foundations to the questions seen on CEB’s SHL tests.
  • Video tutorials and study guides which elaborate on numerical concepts and solving strategies that can reduce response times and increase overall performance.
**You will find all these new additions in all of our CEB SHL-style preparation packs, which include numerical practice.

CEB, SHL and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.

Spotlight On... UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Test

Spotlight on UKCAT Verbal Reasoning
The UKCAT is a test based on five smaller subtests. Over the coming weeks we will look more closely at these tests and some of the things you can do to improve your score in the test.

The UKCAT verbal reasoning subtest is the first test you will come up against in the UKCAT. In this test you have 21 minutes to read 11 passages and answer four questions on each testlet. There are two types of question you will come up against: the first type will ask you to decide whether a statement is true, false or you cannot say based on the information in the text; or you will be asked to pick the correct answer out of a selection of statements to answer a question about the text. 

What is verbal reasoning?

Verbal reasoning is a way of understanding the information you read. You may remember doing comprehension exercises in school when you were younger- that was a type of verbal reasoning. The verbal reasoning test in the UKCAT asks you to go one further, to think about what you have read and assess it and decide whether a statement can be drawn from what is in the text, or what information can be read between the lines. In an added complication you can only use information written in the text to inform your answer. No outside knowledge can be used. 

Try “quick reading” in everyday life

The test requires some quick reading and quick thinking. One helpful tip for improving your verbal reasoning skills is to read newspaper articles and other forms of information and to think about what you are reading is saying. This will familiarise you with different writing formats, and improve your fast reading skills at the same time.

Learn to rely on what you have read (only)

As mentioned above, you can only use the information in the text. Even where you think you know information that is not mentioned in the text which would help answer the question, this time you have to ignore it and stick to the text. This can be difficult to remember, but it is a key point to remember throughout. On the other side, think about what you have read in the text, and answering the questions becomes a whole lot easier. 

Practise questioning everything you read

The aim of the verbal reasoning test is to gain an idea of how well you understand what you are reading and can take that information to the next stage. As you walk around in daily life, think about what you have read, and what it means in reality. This will help you pick out the important pieces of information and answer the questions on it.

The verbal reasoning subtest is your first section in the UKCAT. It is important that you set yourself the right tone for the rest of your test in this section. Our UKCAT verbal reasoning tests page can tell you more about the technicalities of the test, including tips on how to prepare, and our UKCAT preparation packs can help you rehearse your technique. Here we have looked at how you can sharpen your verbal reasoning skills every day. Psytech and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.

GRT1 and GRT2 Test Preparation: a Custom-made New Preparation Pack

GRT1 and GRT2 Test Preparation: a Custom-made New Preparation Pack
JobTestPrep is proud to present another exclusive bespoke preparation pack developed specifically for the demands of the Graduate and General reasoning tests (GRT tests) by Psytech International.


The graduate numerical reasoning test (GRT1) is designed to assess high level reasoning ability and is suitable for management and graduate calibre staff.


The general numerical reasoning test (GRT2) is designed to assess general reasoning ability and is suitable for non-graduate level applicants.

Both tests consist of three sections which can be administered individually or together, measuring Verbal, Numerical and Abstract reasoning ability.
Each section offers a variety of different question types:

Verbal Section

This section assesses your understanding of words and the relationships between words. You will find 5 types of questions in this section: (a) Synonyms (b) Analogies (c) Odd one out (d) Antonyms (e) Relationships.

Numerical Section

This section assesses your ability to understand numbers and the relationships between numbers. Here you will find 4 types of questions: (a) Number series (b) Word problems (c) Odd one out (d) Number analogies.

Abstract Reasoning

This section assesses your ability to perceive and understand the relationships between abstract shapes and patterns. This section consists of 3 types of questions: (a) What comes next (b) Shape analogies (c) Odd one out.

What do you get when purchasing JobTestPrep’s preparation pack?
  • 2 FULL tests (85 questions each) featuring all three sections (verbal, numerical and abstract) and corresponding question types.
  • 8 tests targeting the verbal, numerical and abstract sections individually.
  • Video tutorials and study guides.
Get your full GRT pack from JobTestPrep and start practicing today!

Psytech and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.