Five Top Tips for UCAT Decision Making
The Decision Making subtest of UCAT is a relatively new subtest, which was first introduced in 2017. Students will be presented with a variety of question types. The questions presented are characteristic, but often unusual. It is therefore important that you practice answering Decision Making UCAT questions, and develop familiarity with each type.
This blog describes five key tips to help you answer Decision Making UCAT questions quickly and accurately.
Know the strategies for each question type
There are five major question types in the Decision Making subtest of UCAT:
- Logic games: you are presented with a series of statements describing people or objects. You will be required to arrange or sequence them to solve a ‘puzzle’.
- Strongest argument: you are required to consider a proposal, and identify the strongest argument for or against that proposal.
- Venn diagrams: you are either required to interpret a Venn diagram, or choose a Venn diagram which represents a series of statements.
- Probability: you are required to reason using basic probability principles.
- Conclusion Yes/No questions: you are required to evaluate a series of five statements, deciding if the statement does or does not flow logically from the information presented. The information can be in the form of a passage or graph.
Identify and work on your weaknesses
Because each question type in the Decision Making subtest of UCAT requires different skills, it is important to gain an early appreciation of which question types you find most difficult. You should then work on those UCAT questions, learning the strategies required to approach them and practicing them to improve your skills.
Carefully analyse your performance in each UCAT practice exam that you do, and identify the question types which you tend to do less well on. Make these the focus of your practice.
Understand probability principles
Some questions in the Decision Making subtest of UCAT require you to have a basic understanding of probability principles. For example, you should understand the following concepts:
- Independent and dependent events
- Conditional probability and mutually exclusive events
- Multiplication rules and additive rules
Questions in the Decision Making subtest will often require you to set up and solve basic probability equations. It is vital that you practice doing this to maximise your score in this UCAT subtest.
Understand Venn diagrams
Many questions in the Decision Making subtest of UCAT require an understanding of Venn diagrams. You will be required to:
- Calculate the number of objects or people within various overlapping regions in a Venn diagram
- Interpret a Venn diagram to choose a conclusion which follows
- Choose an appropriate Venn diagram which represents of a series of statements
Furthermore, often creation of a simple Venn diagram is useful in answering conclusion Yes/No questions, of the syllogism type. Therefore, to succeed in the Decision Making subtest of UCAT, it is vital that you understand how Venn diagrams work, and how to interpret them quickly.
Use your noteboard
In the Decision Making subtest of UCAT, your noteboard is a very useful tool to answer questions quickly. It is useful to draw a table, diagram or Venn diagram to solve Decision Making questions. It can also help to note down key rules, and key calculations that need to be made to arrive at an answer. Writing down information not only reduces the load on your short term memory (which is vital in UCAT), but it also avoids making simple errors.
As we’ve mentioned earlier the medentry skills trainer is a really useful way for you to easily identify your weaknesses and practice them. If you’re interested, you can check it out here.
Next up – Top Tips for Quantitative Reasoning.