Trusted UCAT prep.

How to identify and understand emotions in UMAT (Understanding People / Section 2)


Medicine is largely a people-oriented career, which is one of the reasons UMAT tests how well you can understand people in a personal and professional setting. Whilst you can try to “study” for this section of the exam, the best way to develop and refine your interpersonal skills leading up to the UMAT is via emotional reflection and understanding certain concepts. ‘Understanding People’ questions will frequently require you to assign a specific emotion a person might be feeling at a given time. This blog will cover how to approach such a question methodically, in various steps.


STEP 1: Recognise what is verbally expressed in the text by looking at direct evidence from the dialogue. Important verbal cues to look out for are responses from characters in the form of questions and answers and any “strong language” that might be used.


STEP 2: Assess the appropriateness of the dialogue within the context of the passage. That is, reflect on the setting that the characters are in and what the purpose of the dialogue might be. Also consider the time and sensitivity of the topic covered. Sometimes insight can be gained by the repetitiveness of the questions/responses. For example, if the patient is using urgent language and repeatedly asking the same question, that might indicate worry or distress.


STEP 3: Mentally assign what the “primary” emotion might be concerning the character. These can be wide categories such as happiness, empathy, depression, anger, fear, confusion etc. This can help frame the way you think about the text and characters involved.


STEP 4: Identify anything that might be non-verbally expressed. Look at evidence from the text such as hesitancy to participate, body language and use of punctuation. Many non-verbal cues can be gleaned from the way characters describe the surroundings and environment. For example, the use of silence or lack-lustre responses can be evident in doctor-patient interactions. The aim of identifying these non-verbal cues is to help define the primary emotion you assigned by adding depth, direction and stance.


STEP 5: Mentally assign what you think the “secondary” emotion might be. This could be a subset of the primary emotion. For example irritation, rage, disgust and exasperation can all be secondary to the primary emotion of “anger”.


STEP 6: Add to the secondary emotion by understanding the “relative positioning” of the character in question. This can include their designated role or any underlying expectations. One factor to consider is the nature of the relationship and whether there is any dependency; such as in implied friendships, doctor-patient interactions or parent-child relationships.


STEP 7: Mentally assign what the “tertiary” emotion would be. This would be different levels of intensity of a secondary emotion. For example aggravation, agitation, annoyance, grumpiness are all different intensities of “irritation”.


STEP 8: Finally, after considering all this, choose the emotion in the question stem that best fits the situation. If two emotions are given for each option, choose the option where both emotions are correct in describing the situation.



It is important to improve your emotional vocabulary. There are lists available on the LMS as well as other internet resources. Emotions are subjective and people can interpret certain situations differently. By having a strong understanding of what certain emotion words mean, as well as carefully looking at all the evidence provided, you can have rational approach in understanding people.

Improving your UMAT skills in Logical Reasoning & ...
Planning time for UMAT preparation
UCAT Date UMAT Study Applications Interview Pearson VUE mmi ethical dilemma mmi scoring University fees Free UMAT questions Medicine UMAT questions UMAT compared to school ACER Study Tips umat 2019 Multiple Choice UMAT Training Situational Judgement Test Medical Entrance Process of Elimination UMAT Motivation HPAT Preparation HPAT UMAT Courses UCATSEN UMAT Skills UMAT Stress UMAT vs ATAR UMAT Workshops LMS Update UMAT Exam UCAT UMAT anxiety UCAT Results Sample Interview Questions Sample MMI Year 12 UCAT Abstract Reasoning MedEntry LMS Update UCAT exam Time Management Online UMAT Prep UCAT Anxiety UMAT Test Medical Interview Resilience UMAT Coaching Sydney UCAT Test Date Studying Medicine mmi sample answer UCAT Scores UMAT Forums UCAT Preparation Courses Active learning UCAT Situational Judgement Test UMAT Test tactics UMAT Preparation Courses UMAT scores UMAT Test Tips UMAT Section 3 Non Verbal Reasoning UMAT Problems Which Uni? Percentage questions Psychometric tests UMAT tips UCAT Practice UMAT UCAT 2019 MMI University Rankings 2019 UCAT Registrations UMAT Tutoring Medicine at Monash UMAT Courses New Zealand UMAT Prep UCAT Stress UMAT Tuition Ethical Dilemma Questions Discrimination Sample UMAT Questions UCAT Registration UCAT Exam UMAT Results UCAT App Speed Reading in UCAT UCAT Prep UMAT Practice questions UMAT Section 2 Understanding People UMAT Courses Toowoomba UCAT Tips UMAT Section 1 Logical Reasoning & Problem Solving Medicine at Melbourne Careers Teachers UMAT Practice UMAT Coaching UCAT Course mmi sample question UCAT Test Counting Problems Multistation Mini Interviews GAMSAT Speed Reading in UMAT UMAT Courses Darwin UCAT Practice Test UCAT Training UCAT Test Tips UCAT Study University Entrance UNSW USyd UMAT advice English UCAT Booking UMAT Queensland Interview Questions UCAT Preparation UCAT advice Probability UCAT workshop Video Blog UCAT Coaching UMAT Preparation UMAT resources

trhdtre tre

Get our new Free UCAT Practice Exam!