Decision Making

How To Prepare For UCAT Decision Making

In this section, we will cover what UCAT Decision Making entails, and how to effectively answer UCAT Decision Making questions.

What is UCAT Decision Making?

UCAT Decision Making is the second subtest of the UCAT. It assesses your ability to solve problems, draw logical conclusions and evaluate arguments.

Why is Decision Making important in medicine?

Decision making is central to the role of a health professional. Doctors need to be able to solve problems, manage risk and deal with uncertainty. Furthermore, health professionals are often required to make decisions quickly, in complex or stressful situations.

What is the structure of UCAT Decision Making?

The UCAT Decision Making subtest is composed of 29 questions. Each question is ‘individual’ – that is, each is associated with text and/or a diagram, followed by an independent question. You may be required to interpret text, tables, charts, graphs or other diagrams, and your task is to select the best answer.

You will have 31 minutes to answer the questions, which is just over one minute per UCAT question.

What are the types of UCAT Decision Making question?

UCAT Decision Making is the most diverse of the UCAT subtests, with a mixture of question types. There are six major types of question, presented in two formats.

Most UCAT Decision Making questions are presented in standard multiple choice ‘best out of four options’ format. However, syllogisms and interpreting information UCAT questions are presented differently. In this type of UCAT question, you will be provided with a series of five conclusions, and you will need to decide whether the conclusion does or does not follow. You will be required to ‘drag and drop’ a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response next to each statement.

‘Drag and Drop’ UCAT Decision Making questions are marked differently. Marks range from 0 to 2, with partially correct responses being awarded 1 mark.

Each type of question will be discussed below.

Logical puzzles

These UCAT questions present you with a puzzle or game that you need to solve in order to arrive at the answer. You are usually presented with text, with or without an accompanying diagram.

Example Question - Logical Puzzles

Decision Making Question 2

Stimulus

An Olympic athlete has put her medals up on the wall for everyone to admire. She has won six medals— two gold and four silver. The medals are from two Olympics, 2000 and 2004.

The medals are arranged as shown:

1    2    3
4    5    6

  • Medal 2 is gold.
  • Both gold medals were won in the 2004 Olympics.
  • Medals 1 and 3 were won in 2000.
  • At most only three silver medals are on the corners. 
  • All medals won in 2000 are hung adjacent to at least two medals won in 2004.

Question

Which of the following could be the kinds of medals that 4, 5, and 6 are, respectively?

(A) Gold, silver, gold.
(B) Silver, gold, silver.
(C) Silver, silver, gold.
(D) Silver, silver, silver.

Syllogisms

This type of UCAT question requires you to use deductive reasoning to assess a series of conclusions. You will need to decide whether each conclusion does or does not follow from the information provided. You will need to ‘drag and drop’ your answer accordingly.

Example Question - Syllogisms

Decision Making Question 1

At a conference for anaesthetists in Sydney last year, none were men who had subspecialised in chronic pain management.

Place “Yes” if the conclusion does follow. Place “No” if the conclusion does not follow

Decision Making Syllogisms

Interpreting Information

In these UCAT questions, you may be provided with text, charts and/or graphs. Your task is to interpret the information and decide whether each conclusion does or does not follow from the information provided. You will need to ‘drag and drop’ your answer accordingly.

Example Question - Interpreting Information

Decision Making Question 4

Jeremy, Tony, Jacob and Lucy are students who go to the same school. Jeremy only follows 2 people from school on Instagram. Everyone at school follows Lucy. The only people whom Tony follows on Instagram are those who follow him first, and Tony follows Jeremy.

Place ‘Yes’ if the conclusion does follow. Place ‘No’ if the conclusion does not follow.

Decision Making Interpreting Information

Recognising Assumptions

These questions are perhaps the strangest in UCAT and can be very unfamiliar unless you have acquired and practiced effective UCAT strategies to answer them. You will be required to analyse a statement and four associated arguments. You will need to choose the strongest argument from among the available options.

Example Question - Recognising Assumptions

Decision Making Question 3

Should the Australian government be able to monitor and read all telephone conversations?

Select the strongest argument from the statements below.

A) Yes, it is important for police to be able to prevent terrorism
B) Yes, so that the government can help plan for infrastructure
C) No, because it would be technically very difficult to do this
D) No, because it is a serious infringement of civil liberties

Venn Diagrams

These UCAT questions require an understanding of Venn diagrams. You may be presented with a Venn diagram, a series of statements requiring you to draw a Venn diagram, or several Venn diagrams that represent information. You will need to choose the correct answer from among the available options.

The diagrams presented in UCAT can look unusual due to a variety of shapes that are used. It is important to have a strong understanding of how Venn diagrams work to answer these UCAT questions.

Example Question - Venn Diagrams

Decision Making Question 5

A survey was conducted across some classes in a school to determine the forms of Asian entertainment media that its students engaged with in their spare time.

Which of the following statements is true?

(A) More students engaged with C-dramas and anime, than K-dramas and K-pop only.
(B) A total of 17 students engaged with anime and K-pop but not K-dramas.
(C) Less than 20% of all students who engaged with K-dramas also engaged with anime.
(D) Less than half of the students surveyed engaged with K-pop.

Probabilistic Reasoning

In these UCAT questions, you will be provided with a passage of text containing statistical information. You will need to use your understanding of probability principles to select the best answer.

Example Question - Probabilistic Reasoning

Decision Making Question 6

Joe has five 50 cent and three 5 cent pieces.
He picks two of these coins at random.

Joe states that the probability that both coins will be 50 cent pieces is 1/4. Is Joe correct?

(A) Yes, because there is a 1/2 chance of the first coin being a 50 cent coin and 1/2 chance that the second is a 50 cent coin
(B) Yes, because he picks the coins at random.
(C) No, the probability is 5/16
(D) No, the probability is 5/14

What strategies can I use to answer UCAT Decision Making questions?

This is the subtest where your UCAT Noteboard and pen will be most helpful to you. It will help to note down important information or key calculations, and draw tables or diagrams. You must have a strong understanding of Venn diagrams, probability and logical reasoning to succeed in this UCAT subtest. There are a variety of UCAT techniques which can be used to answer each specific question type quickly and accurately, which are discussed in detail in MedEntry UCAT Courses.

How should I prepare for UCAT Decision Making?

You can begin by assessing your ability in UCAT Decision Making with MedEntry’s free Diagnostic Test. You should develop effective strategies to answer UCAT Decision Making Questions by attending a UCAT Workshop and using MedEntry’s comprehensive guided curriculum. Practice the strategies by working on the UCAT practice exams, subtest mocks and drills on MedEntry’s UCAT online platform. Use MedEntry’s sophisticated feedback and personalised adaptive learning technology to target your weak areas within the UCAT Decision Making subtest.