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5 Tips for UCAT Abstract Reasoning

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Struggling with UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions? Check out this blog which outlines 5 top tips.

1.  Identify the pattern first

When you are first starting out with Abstract Reasoning UCAT questions, it can be tempting to focus on the test shape and try to ‘match’ it to the sets. This wastes valuable time and is unlikely to lead you to the correct answer. Instead, start by examining the sets and looking for a pattern. Once you have identified the pattern, it will be easy to determine which set the test shape fits into. 

2.  Choose your own perspective

Some questions are more easily solved if you look at the whole image from a ‘global’ stand-point. Some are more easily solved by focussing on a particular box. If you are struggling to find the pattern, try changing your perspective (you could encourage yourself to do this by moving closer or further away from the computer screen). You can also flag the question and come back to it later, after which your perspective on the question is likely to have changed, and you may notice patterns that you did not see before.

3.  Start with the simplest box

Many questions in UCAT Abstract Reasoning include lots of distracting information, which can… well… distract you. Minimise this by starting with the box which looks the simplest – for example, the box with the lowest number of components. It will be less likely to contain irrelevant information. Compare the boxes either side of it and see if you can find any similarities that will provide clues to the rule.

4.  Use a mnemonic

Mnemonics can be helpful in UCAT Abstract Reasoning to prevent you from missing common patterns. During the 1 minute instruction time prior to the start of the UCAT Abstract Reasoning subtest, you can quickly note down your mnemonic on your noteboard so you can refer to it during the test. A common mnemonic that students find useful is SCANS: Shape, Colour, Angle/Arrangement, Number and Symmetry. 

5.  Practice, practice, practice

Ultimately, success in UCAT Abstract Reasoning comes down to practice. You can become good at any skill, including the Abstract Reasoning UCAT questions, with sufficient practice. Practice familiarises you with common question types and patterns, prevents you from selecting incorrect ‘distractor’ options and helps you to identify the rule ‘at a glance’.

So what are you waiting for? Get practicing!

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