I realised very early during my preparation for the exam that the UKCAT verbal reasoning was my weakest section. As a result I spent majority of my preparation time improving my VR skills and practising mostly VR questions. For more information on my UKCAT preparation strategy, I recommend purchasing a copy of my ebook for my entire UKCAT study plan.
The UKCAT verbal reasoning section tests your ability to evaluate information in written form. You’ll be asked to read through 11 passages and answer questions about the conclusions that you can make. For some items you’ll need to answer either ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘can’t tell’, and for others you’ll need to select which of the statements presented is true or false based on the information in the passage. Find below my tips on how to prepare for the UKCAT verbal reasoning.
How To Prepare For The UKCAT Verbal Reasoning
The are three elements that determine a candidate’s success in the verbal reasoning, they include:
- Understanding of the task
All three elements are equally important, I’ll cover each element in more depth and offer tips on how to improve them. Make sure that during your preparation to identify which of the three elements you struggle with the most and take the necessary steps to improve. I run through strategies and techniques in my ebook to deal with each element.
Your capacity to comprehend and understand the passages is the first element, the verbal reasoning includes a total of 11 passages, each with 4 items to answer. Ideally, you want to be in a position where if you attempted the verbal reasoning section untimed you would score 100%. I would recommend attempting the official UKCAT verbal reasoning practice questions untimed (not the practice test). Take note of questions you get incorrect and make sure to fully understand why you got them wrong. Another good way to improve comprehension is by buying a a UKCAT book with loads of practice questions. You want to pick a book that has tons of practice questions so you can familiarize yourself with the exam and the potential traps laid by examiners. I would recommend focus on getting answers right! You want to be in a position where you are getting at least 3 out of every 4 questions correct.
When reading the UKCAT book do not time yourself just focus on getting questions right and understand the reason behind the correct answers. Do not time yourself on the mock exams these books provide just take your time focusing on trying to get a perfect score even if it takes you days – you can worry about time and developing your exam technique once you are getting at least 3 out of 4 questions correct.
You might realise that your comprehension skill is fine but you struggle with time. Timing is the main challenge with the UKCAT verbal reasoning test, if you could manage to read a passage in 1 minute, you would only have 15 seconds to answer each accompanying items. That might be enough time for straightforward and simple questions, but most questions will be of medium to advanced difficulty. So what do you do? You need to adopt a strategy that saves time but doesn’t compromise your comprehension. I recommend the keyword approach, first scanning the question for keywords then only reading the part (or parts) of the passage keyword is found. You can also work on improving your speed reading, using tools such as spreeder. The question-based books recommended ealier also have useful time-saving tips that are helpful. I found the Score higher in the UKCAT 1000 UKCAT questions book the most helpful for verbal reasoning strategies. Once you’ve found a strategy that works for you practise on an online UKCAT courses to mimic the real exam. I recommend the Job Test Prep UKCAT course. You can read my full review of the Job Test Prep UKCAT course.
Understanding The Task
The other main difficulty in the verbal reasoning section is that candidates confuse ‘False’ with ‘Can’t Tell’. On the UKCAT, a statement is ‘False’ if it contradicts the passage. If a statement is not true it doesn’t mean it is ‘False’. A statement must contradict the passage to be ‘False’. Take the time to be sure you fully understand the difference and practice questions till you are 100% comfortable with this concept. I would recommend downloading the UKCAT app and changing the default setting so you only receive daily verbal reasoning questions. There are really helpful UKCAT books that address this concept really well. You can also find more information on the UKCAT website.