The UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Strategy That Works

Student studying using the UKCAT verbal reasoning strategy. UKCAT resources

The biggest difficulty most candidates have in the UKCAT verbal reasoning is time-management. You have 1 minute to read the instructions, and then 21 minutes to answer items. If you divide your time equally among the 11 sets, then you will have just under 2 minutes to complete each set. You should have realised by now that  it is difficult to read a full passage and answer 4 accompanying questions in 2 minutes – so you must attempt the verbal reasoning section with a strategy that will allow you attempt all the statements within the allocated time. You can find more verbal reasoning strategies in my ebook,  The 2016 edition was bought by 1-in-8 applicants with 100% customer satisfaction. The 2017 edition will be coming in April 2017 subscribe for updates.

The UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Strategy

Should you read the passage fully or should you read the question and then skim read the passage for the answer? In truth, it all comes down to what works for you, and a little combination of the two techniques. If you feel confident on time, you should read the passage in full, creating a mental map of the key points and where they lie in the text – the most crucial thing you should pick up is a summary of the each paragraph in your own words (or in one direct quotation if you can find it!). I personally discovered I’m a slow reader so spent time improving speed reading and my time saving techniques, I discovered that skimming each passage for keywords and then only reading  the relevant paragraph worked better for me. Find out what works best for you

However, if you are short of time, or you feel your reading and comprehension skills are not strong enough to read the full passage in time, I recommend you do the following:

  • Read the question first and scan for the keyword; understand what is being asked of you and embed that into your mind.
  • Skim-read the answer options so that you have them roughly in your head – remember, there are always ways of eliminating answer options so try to do that whilst you follow the next bullet point.
  • Use a combination of skim-reading and in-depth reading to find your final answer. Skim-read the passage until you find a sentence or key-word that you think could be relevant to the answer. Then, read in-depth the adjacent sentences and try to collate an answer together.

I strongly recommend practising your exam techniques with an online UKCAT course to mimic the actual exam. I recommend the Job Test Prep Online UKCAT course, it has thousands of practice questions and amazing features that make it one of the best in the market. You can find my full review of the Job Test Prep online UKCAT course.

Students also struggle to understand the nature of the task in the VR, students tend to confuse the three statements – False, True or Can’t tell. The most common mistake that students make is that they assume that False means that the statement is not true. On the UKCAT, a statement is false if it contradicts the passage. The following is a breakdown of each type of statement:


True statements either are extracted from the text or directly follow from it. Think about whether the statement matches the tone, style and general message of the tex

If it doesn’t look out of place, and follows the text’s logical flow, it’s likely to be a “true” statement.


These are the polar opposites of the true statements and contradict the passage. As such, they are likely to support a directly opposite message and would not fit into the text.

Can’t tell

Does the statement refer to something not mentioned in the text?
Would you say you need more information in order to answer the question?
If it doesn’t fit to “false” criteria, but something makes you doubt it’s true, it’s likely to be a “cannot tell” statement.

Make sure you have a UKCAT verbal reasoning strategy in place before the exam, take the time to practice it with an online course and PLEASE do not lose marks due to misunderstanding of the three statements.



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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.