Situational Judgement

How To Prepare For UCAT Situational Judgement

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

What is UCAT Situational Judgement?

Situational Judgement is the fifth and final subtest in UCAT.

It assesses your ability to understand real world situations and identify important factors and appropriate responses in dealing with them. Scenarios are usually based in a university or health-related setting, and the main character will normally be a medical or dental student, or junior health professional.

Why is Situational Judgement important in medicine?

Situational Judgement tests are widely used in medicine to evaluate candidates’ professionalism. UCAT Situational Judgement assesses attributes considered important in the study and practice of medicine, including empathy, adaptability, resilience, teamwork and integrity. 

What is the structure of UCAT Situational Judgement?

In this UCAT subtest you will be presented with 69 questions within 22 scenarios. Each scenario will be associated with between one and five UCAT questions.

You will have 26 minutes to answer all of the questions, but most students do not find Situational Judgement as time pressured as other UCAT subtests. It is, however, often very difficult to judge which is the ‘correct’ answer. 

In UCAT Situational Judgement, you will receive full marks if you choose the correct answer, and partial marks if you choose an option that is close to the correct answer.

What are the types of UCAT Situational Judgement question?

There are three main types of Situational Judgement question.

Importance questions

Less than half of the UCAT Situational Judgement subtest will be composed of Importance questions. In these UCAT questions, you will be presented with a scenario, followed by a number of considerations. You will need to rate the relative importance of each consideration in the context of the scenario, from ‘very important’ to ‘not important at all’.

Example Question - Importance Questions

Passage

A junior doctor, Brian, has just commenced work on a busy surgical ward. He shares his workload with another junior colleague, John. Brian has noticed that John is consistently late for work. This has been going on for the past fortnight. John being late has resulted in Brian taking on extra responsibilities on the ward to ensure that patients receive appropriate care.

How important to take into account are the following considerations for Brian when deciding how to respond to the situation?

Question

Whether John being late has led to patient care being compromised

A) Very important
B) Important
C) Of minor importance
D) Not important at all

Appropriateness questions

The commonest type of question in UCAT Situational Judgement is Appropriateness questions. Here you will be presented with a scenario and a series of actions. You will need to rate the appropriateness of each action from ‘very appropriate’ to ‘very inappropriate’.

A smaller number of questions will provide an exact quote that a character may say based on the scenario, and ask you to rate the appropriateness of each statement.

Example Question - Appropriateness Questions

Passage

Two junior doctors, Sarah and Michael, are working in the same hospital ward. They attended medical school together. Recently, Michael confided in Sarah that he has been finding work particularly challenging recently, and has grown increasingly dependent on alcohol. Sarah knows that Michael has had issues with alcohol dependence in the past, while at medical school. Michael asks Sarah not to tell anyone, as he is concerned that it may have an impact on his future employment at the hospital.

How appropriate are each of the following responses by Sarah in this situation?

Question

Promise Michael that his comments will not be shared with anyone.

A) A very appropriate thing to do
B) Appropriate, but not ideal
C) Inappropriate, but not awful
D) A very inappropriate thing to do

Most/least appropriateness questions

In this UCAT question type, you are also presented with a scenario. However, you are then given three possible actions or responses directly underneath the scenario. You will need to choose the most and least appropriate response for the given scenario, and ‘drag and drop’ these items accordingly.

Example Question - Most/Least Appropriate Questions

Passage

A medical student, Joanne, is interviewing Mr Jones, a patient with a chronic lung condition. Joanne has read in Mr Jones’ notes that he has stated that he has quit smoking, which is a major reason why he has been assessed as being suitable for home oxygen. Joanne is aware that only patients who have quit smoking are offered home oxygen, and that smoking on home oxygen is very dangerous. While conducting the interview, Joanne notices a pack of cigarettes in Mr Jones’ jacket pocket.

Choose the one most appropriate action and the one least appropriate action that Joanne should take in response to this situation.

 

1. Inform the senior doctor immediately, as this may be a risk to Mr Jones’ health.
2. Overlook the packet of cigarettes, so as not to damage the relationship that Joanne has built with Mr Jones.
3. Ask Mr Jones further questions to understand what she has seen, and to assess whether her suspicions regarding him smoking are correct.

What strategies can I use to answer UCAT Situational Judgement questions?

To effectively answer UCAT Situational Judgement questions, you will need a solid understanding of the principles governing medical professionalism. These include: honesty and integrity, compassionate and patient-centred care, effective teamwork, patient autonomy, confidentiality and a commitment to safety and ongoing improvement. There are a variety of UCAT strategies that can be used for Situational Judgement questions to arrive at the correct answer and maximise your score. These will be covered in detail in the MedEntry UCAT Course.

How should I prepare for UCAT Situational Judgement?

You can test your ability in UCAT Situational Judgement with MedEntry’s free Diagnostic Test. You should develop effective strategies to answer UCAT Situational Judgement 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 in the lead up to UCAT test day.