New type of UCAT Situational Judgement question!
10 months ago by Chris
In 2022, there will be a new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question. It’s similar to previous UCAT Situational Judgement questions, but there are some changes to the structure of the question and what it is asking you to do. This blog describes this type of UCAT Situational Judgement question in more detail, including why it was introduced and how to approach it.
What is the new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question?
The new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question isn’t really new, it’s just a variation of standard Situational Judgement questions.
Standard Situational Judgement appropriateness and importance questions include four answer options.
|Appropriateness UCAT Situational Judgement questions
have the following answer options:
|Importance UCAT Situational Judgement questions
have these answer options:
In the ‘new’ type of question, only two options are presented:
|Appropriateness questions:||Importance questions:|
There is also a change to the format of the question, which is now presented in a similar format to most / least appropriate questions. In this type of question, you need to ‘drag and drop’ your answer next to each response, deciding if the response is appropriate / not appropriate or important / not important:
Instead of evaluating a single response and deciding if it is appropriate / not appropriate or important / not important, your task is to consider three responses and whether each of them is appropriate / not appropriate or important / not important. Therefore, this type of question is overall more time consuming.
Wasn’t there a change to UCAT Situational Judgement questions last year?
Yes, last year there was a change to UCAT Situational Judgement, where a couple of questions had two options (appropriate / not appropriate or important / not important) rather than four. This year’s new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question builds upon the change made last year, as questions are now in a drag and drop format, with three responses to evaluate.
What will the new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question be like?
First, let’s first look at a ‘normal’ UCAT Situational Judgement question. Here is an example of a Situational Judgement importance question with 4 options:
Jacob, a medical student, is undertaking a placement in a surgical ward. Jacob is shadowing a junior doctor, Peter. Peter appears to be a very competent doctor who listens carefully to his patients. However, Jacob notices that Peter rarely administers pain medication. Jacob feels that there have been multiple occasions when pain relief was required but Peter did not prescribe it.
How important to take into account are the following considerations for Jacob when deciding how to respond to the situation?
That raising his concerns about Peter’s decisions may create an unpleasant work atmosphere.
A. Very important
C. Of minor importance
D. Not important at all
The answer to this question is C. If Jacob believes that patient care is being compromised he should not avoid having a conversation with Peter simply because he feels it may damage the working relationship. However, the answer is not D as Jacob should approach the situation respectfully and ensure that he understands Peter’s decision making process. Approaching the situation confrontationally may create an unpleasant work atmosphere and this should be avoided.
Let’s now see how this question changes with the ‘new’ question format:
- That patients who require pain relief may not receive it: Important
- That raising his concerns about Peter's decisions may create an unpleasant work atmosphere: Not Important
- That Jacob is a medical student with limited knowledge of pain medication: Not Important
The most important consideration in this scenario relates to patient care – that is, that patients who require pain relief may not receive it. It is therefore vital that Jacob raise his concerns with Peter.
It is always important to maintain good relationships with colleagues, but not at the expense of patient care. Therefore, the fact that Jacob's concerns may create an unpleasant work atmosphere is not important. Furthermore, it is unlikely that Jacob raising his concerns with Peter will lead to conflict, as the primary concern is to ensure patients are receiving the appropriate treatment. If anything, it may become a teaching opportunity, where Jacob learns more about appropriate prescribing.
The fact that Jacob is a medical student with limited knowledge of pain medication is not important. While it may be true that Jacob’s knowledge of pain and pain relief is limited, he has made an observation that raises the possibility of patients not receiving the care and treatment they require. He therefore has an obligation to report his concerns. If he does not, patients may be left without their pain being adequately treated.
Why was this change introduced?
Like any good exam, UCAT is constantly evolving and changing. Ongoing research, statistical analysis of student performance and preferences of universities all have an impact on the content of UCAT. Like any entrance test, each year there are usually a small number of ‘trial’ questions. These are questions that do not contribute to candidate scores but are included as a trial to see if they would be suitable to be used in subsequent years UCAT exams.
Situational Judgment questions are used widely in medicine and non-medical fields. Research is ongoing to determine the validity and reliability of these questions, and to find out the best format for distinguishing highly able applicants from the standard candidate pool. New formats are proposed, adopted and tested. This means that occasionally new question types will appear in UCAT, as has happened in this case.
In essence, the UCAT Consortium have introduced this type of question to decide if it is a better way of assessing Situational Judgement than previous question types. If statistical analysis of student performance shows that it is as good (or better), then it will be used in future UCAT exams. If analysis shows it is not a good discriminator between high and low performing students, it will not be included in future exams.
How many of these questions will I get?
It is likely that you will get 2-3 of these 'new' UCAT Situational Judgement question types in your live UCAT. The new format may be present in any of the following UCAT Situational Judgement question types:
- Appropriateness questions
- ‘Exact quote’ appropriateness questions (where you are asked to assess the appropriateness of a particular statement made by a character)
- Importance questions
You can find examples of all of the above question types on our sample questions page.
How should I approach this ‘new’ type of question?
You should approach this type of question in a similar way to how you approach standard UCAT Situational Judgement questions. Strategies for approaching UCAT Situational Judgement questions are outlined in detail in MedEntry's UCAT courses. You can also find tips on how to approach UCAT Situational Judgement questions in our blog.
These questions tend to be more time consuming than standard UCAT Situational Judgement appropriateness or importance questions, so it is important to keep this in mind. You could, for example, leave these types of questions until last.