Feared by many, the quantitive reasoning section of the UCAT is a daunting task for many UCAT candidate. Often known as the ‘maths section’ of the UCAT, those who are typically not so good with mathematics might worry about this section. Here, we will give you some tips to keep your score strong, even if you struggle with numbers.
1. Don’t overuse your calculator. The UCAT calculator is difficult to use on purpose – it is slow because you have to click each number individually
2. Learn the keyboard shortcuts! The keyboard shortcut for the calculator is Ctrl + C
2. Learn to estimate. Round numbers with the number 9 in them up and the number 1 in them down and do the sums in your head. Do the last one or two steps on your calculator instead of all five of them and you will save yourself a lot of time
4. Only estimate questions that have answers that are well spaced out
5. Practise to the point where you know which questions you are bad at – can’t handle questions about taxes? Good job you recognise it – if you realise you’re running out of time in the exam and one comes up, flag the question, guess an answer and move on
6. You have to get to the end even if you don’t work out the answers and you guess the last 10 without even reading the question. The exam is not negatively marked and you have a 20% chance of getting the answer right. If you leave questions unanswered, your chance of getting those right is 0%
7. Learn your basic formulas:
Speed = distance/time
Volume of cylinder
Area of circle
Area of square and triangle
Circumference of circle
Calculating percentage difference
Calculating percentage increase and decrease
Converting decimals to fractions and percentages to decimals
8. Watch out for changes in units! Every time the UCAT gives you a table or a graph, check the corner – in tiny writing there may be a unit or a (x1000) that changes your entire answer!
9. Learn how to use brackets – doing the entire sum in one go will save you a lot of time than doing each step individually
10. Learn how to use the memory button on your calculator for long questions that require many steps
Remember that the UCAT isn’t about getting every single answer perfect. The reason it is timed to make you do the questions so impossibly fast is because the universities are trying to work out who will approach the test logically as a whole. The best candidates know when to guess and move on, approaching the test so they dedicate the most of their time to the areas they are strong on.
Stay calm, keep practising and remember that the test isn’t about getting every answer right!
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