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top 5 Situational Judgement tips

Situational Judgement UCAT questions test a different type of non-cognitive aptitude, and can be challenging if you do not have an effective framework to answer them. This blog covers five key tips for success in the UCAT Situational Judgement test.

1.  Identify the key issue(s) in the scenario

When reading the UCAT Situational Judgement scenario, it is important to read actively, identifying the key issues raised. This will help you to judge the relative importance of considerations, or the appropriateness of various actions. For example, a consideration is likely to be ‘very important’ if it addresses a key issue raised in the scenario, and a response which does not address a key issue is likely to be inappropriate.

2.  Understand important ethical principles

It is important to have a solid understanding of medical ethics and the principles of medical professionalism to succeed in the UCAT Situational Judgement test. These are outlined in detail in documents produced by the GMC ( and the Medical Board of Australia (

Key principles for UCAT Situational Judgement include:

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Compassionate and patient-centred care
  • Effective teamwork
  • Patient autonomy
  • Confidentiality
  • A commitment to safety and ongoing improvement

When selecting your answers to Situational Judgement UCAT questions, it is important that you consider the above principles. Answers which display them are more likely to be correct.

3.  Recognise your limitations

In medicine, it is essential that a student or doctor understands the limitations of their experience, and seeks help when required. Therefore, pay close attention to the role that the character has in the UCAT Situational Judgement question.

Is the character a medical student, junior doctor or senior doctor? This will influence the appropriateness of the action that a character takes. For example, medical students are generally not permitted to prescribe medication, deliver patient results or perform complex procedures.

4.  Don’t agonise

Situational Judgement UCAT questions are easy to overthink if you consider them for too long. You can always make an argument that something is more or less important or appropriate, based on various factors. In reality, the answers to questions in UCAT Situational Judgement are decided upon by a group of ‘Subject Matter Experts’ (SMEs).

Therefore, place more emphasis on choosing the correct ‘side’ of an answer, rather than agonising about the correct response. Remember that partial marks are awarded – for example, if the correct answer is ‘Very important’ and you chose ‘Important’, you would get partial marks.

5.  Watch fatigue

By the start of the UCAT Situational Judgement test, you will already have answered over 150 UCAT questions, and you will have been concentrating extremely hard for an hour and a half. It is likely that you will be tired and you may have difficulty concentrating.

Realise this and try to keep up your focus for the UCAT Situational Judgement test. If you are lagging, take a couple of seconds to close your eyes, take a deep breath and stretch. Then look back at the computer screen perform at your best!

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