How To Prepare For The UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Section

The UKCAT Abstract reasoning was my strongest section, working out pattern similarity comes naturally to me. However, you may realise this is not the same case for you and you rarely notice similarity instantly. Do not panic! With the right preparation  you can improve your UKCAT abstract reasoning skills.

Everyone is different and might view each set differently, so the goal here is to discover  your own approach in spotting patterns. Once you’ve found a method that works for you then I suggest practising it with an online UKCAT course so  that you are familiar with the exam environment.

With enough  practice, you will discover the approach that works for you,  as a starting point try working  through the following list to identify commonalities:

  • Shape of components
  • Type of edges on each component
  • Number of corners on each component
  • Colour of each component
  • Number of components
  • Orientation of components
  • Consistent position of one component relative to another
  • Size of components

This list is the possible similarities to a set, take the time apply it when answering questions. You will notice the more abstract questions you practice the easier you’ll notice the similarities.

When I took the UKCAT I actually wrote out the above list and tested each hypothesis on any abstract set I couldn’t work out straight away. Finding patterns is not a skill that they you are either lucky enough to be born with or not. It can be learned and developed with an understanding of what kind of patterns to look out for, the list is a good starting point, you may notice that sometimes more than one rule applies to a set for some of the more complicated questions.  

My UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Preparation Strategy

The following tips are how I prepared for the UKCAT abstract reasoning. You can find more information on the strategy in my ebook. It is a step-to-step guide on how to achieve a UKCAT score in the top percentile.

1. Learn the Mini List 

My approach was simple, I wrote out the mini  list of possibilities during the 1 minute allocated to reading the instructions.

  • Shape of components
  • Type of edges on each component
  • Number of corners on each component
  • Colour of each component
  • Number of components
  • Orientation of components
  • Consistent position of one component relative to another
  • Size of components

During the live exam I used the  list as a checklist for abstract questions I couldn’t find the similarity straight away. It worked really well.

2. Practice Using the Flags

The Flags are a great tool to save time during the exam. I would attempt  attempt abstract questions that came to me straightway and flag the ones that didn’t. Then go back after I had completed the exam and re-attempt the flagged questions using the list above as a checklist.  This strategy worked really well for me, I  practised and worked on this approach before the exam by using an online UKCAT course to practice under real ­life exam conditions.

3. Find Patterns Do not Match

If you try to simply match the test shapes to a similar looking box in one set  you will lose marks. Marks come from finding patterns, not matching. Occasionally they will be overlap between patterns in Set A and Set B. A test shape might look similar to one box in one of the sets, but actually fit  the pattern for the other set.  

4. Start with The Question Sets Not The Test Shapes 

Do not start with the test shapes, they do not help with pattern finding, they might not even have the pattern for either shapes. Start with the Boxes in  each set, develop a hypothesis then check if it complies with the test  shapes.   

5. Start With The Simplest Box First

This approach will help improve your pattern finding skill because   distracting shapes are minimised and will contain the pattern. For example,  if a box contains one shape then your task becomes easier, if gives you more of a clue on what the pattern might be. For instance, if a box only had  a single shaded circle in the corner of the box, you now have a clue that the pattern is either about circles, a shaded shape or about arrangement in the  corner. By checking other boxes in the set for the same characteristics, you  will find patterns quickly.

My ebook covers more of my Abstract reasoning strategy. Learn the entire strategy I used to achieve a UKCAT score in the top 10%. You can find more information in my UKCAT Study Plan.

Goodluck!
Mike

reviews

theukcatblog

My name is Michael and I'm a physiology graduate from the University of Manchester, I was able to improve my UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) score from 2400 to 2840 in 3 months and get offered a place at Warwick’s graduate-entry medical programme.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.