Many students decide to tackle the UMAT by doing one type of question at a time, whilst others complete the questions from all three sections chronologically. It is important to work out which of the two methods works better for you, and this blog will discuss some of the factors which may influence your decision.
The primary advantage of the section-by-section approach is that it allows you to maintain the specific mindset required for each type of question. Students often find that each of the three UMAT sections need different mindsets. For instance, Section 1 (Logical Reasoning & Problem Solving) requires a more critical viewpoint, Section 2 (Understanding People) requires emotional awareness, whilst Section 3 (Non-Verbal Reasoning) questions requires understanding of patterns. Therefore, some students find that they can settle more into each mindset by completing the UMAT section-by-section. As a result, they may find it easier to arrive at the correct answer, or they may need less time to answer the question.
Some students may find that completing the UMAT one type of question at a time, results in them having to rush their final section. This may lead to significantly higher scores in two sections, in comparison to the third. In general, this is not necessarily a major issue, as most universities rank applicants based on the overall UMAT score. However, keep in mind that some universities require a threshold score for each section – and not meeting this threshold will exclude you from the selection process. Furthermore, some universities place extra weighting on certain sections.
Working out how much time needs to be spent on each section is crucial to avoiding this problem. The best way to do this is to complete practice exams using the section-by-section approach, and monitor how much time is spent on each section. Experiment also with the order of the three UMAT sections – some students prefer to complete their strongest section first to give them confidence, and others prefer to save their best section until the end when they would be most tired.
On the other hand, the relative difficulty of each section may vary between exams, and so the time required to complete each section may not be easily predicted. Hence, completing questions from all three sections as you work through the paper could be easier for time management. In addition, some students may find that their mind becomes less attentive throughout the UMAT if they only complete questions of one type at a time. Others may find it difficult to complete the answer sheet accurately if they are skipping and coming back to questions using the section by section approach.
It is perhaps best to try both approaches when attempting the full length practice exams. Each student is different, and the approach you take for the UMAT should be tailored to suit your own preferences.