How To Prepare For The UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning Section

calculator and pen resting on top of UKCAT quantitative reasoning past papers

calculator and pen resting on top of UKCAT quantitative reasoning past papers

The UKCAT quantitative reasoning (QR) section requires you to formulate and solve numerical problems by selecting data in a variety of ways. The QR section does not draw on any maths skills beyond GCSE, so with the right preparation, you should do really well in this test. On average, you must complete each question in about 30 seconds The following tips are a helpful guide to prepare for the QR section.

For more quantitative tips and strategies purchase a copy of my ebook, it was bought by 1-in-8 applicants in 2016 with 100% customer satisfaction – I break down the exact strategy I used to achieve a QR score in the top 10%. Read my UKCAT Study Plan for more information.

How To Prepare For The  UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning Section

1. Brush Up on GCSE Maths

To do well in the UKCAT quantitative reasoning section, you need to first familiarize yourself with basic mathematical operations, which you may already know from GCSE level mathematics.

  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division
  • Percentages, ratios and fractions
  • Speed, distance and time calculations
  • Working with money
  • Areas and Volumes
  • Graphs and Charts

If you feel rusty working on any of these operations, first have a look on the GCSE Bitesize website, it is a free learning resource to prepare for GCSE Maths, get yourself up to speed by doing the practice questions on the UKCAT website. Review where there might be gaps in your knowledge, take note of the questions you find difficult and spend additional time getting up to speed with them.

2. Improve Mental Maths Speed

One of the main constraints in the UKCAT quantitative reasoning is time, you have just 24 minutes to tackle 36 questions. On average, you must complete each question in about 30 seconds, Even though some questions might require a lot less time than others your speed and accuracy in manipulating mathematical formulae is crucial. You need to also be able to calculate and manipulate formulae quickly, a good starting point would be to improve your mental maths speed. Learn strategies that will help with carrying out basic mathematical operations in your head quickly. Speed Mathematics teaches simple methods that will enable you to make lightning calculations in your head–including multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction, as well as working with fractions, squaring numbers, and extracting square and cube roots. Read a previous post on  5 mental maths tricks to save time in the quantitative reasoning section. I also recommended reading Speed Mathematics: Secrets of Lightning Mental Calculation by Bill Handley. I learned helpful tricks and tips that significantly increased my maths speed! Anyone can learn them, it is easy!

3. Learn To Estimate and Eliminate

For some question you can eliminate one or more answer choices by guessing strategically,  it gives you a much stronger chance of picking up the mark. They will be questions in the quantitative section that would take 2 or more minutes to solve using straightforward maths, rather than the 30 seconds allotted. If you take the time to answer such a question you would only pick up one mark instead of potentially three. You must triage these questions – instead of spending time working it out,  make strategic guesses! Eyeball the data and make a logical guess on what the answer might be without calculations. Eliminating answer choices that might be too low or too high, or maybe rounding figures to save time.

4. Practice Using Online UKCAT Calculator

The simple on-screen calculator is so unrated, practice using the UKCAT calculator during preparation. There are also a few calculator shortcuts you can learn to save time in the QR. Practice using the memory and Num Lock functionalities to save time during more complex calculations. Read my post on UKCAT calculator tips.

5. Discover Your Exam Strategy

Whatever you do, please do not attempt the live test without an exam strategy, there are exam techniques you can employ to enable you to answer the maximum number of questions in the time allocated in the QR section. Find which technique works for you – I run through helpful exam strategies for the UKCAT  in my ebook, there are other UKCAT books available that also offer helpful tips.  Identify the strategies that work for you and employ them during practice.

6. Practice Under Exam Conditions

The UKCAT is a computer-based test, in order to simulate the real exam practice QR questions using an online course.  A really good affordable online course is the Job Test Prep UKCAT Course. It has thousands of practice questions and comes with amazing features. For more information read my review of Job Test Prep UKCAT course.

You can find more information on the strategy i used to prepare for the UKCAT in my ebook. It is a step-to-step guide on how you too can achieve a UKCAT score in the top percentile.


About theukcatblog 114 Articles
My name is Michael and I'm a Pharmacology 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.