What is UKCAT Abstract Reasoning

UKCAT (UK clinical aptitude tests) refers to battery of psychometric assessments that include numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning items. Usually, UKCAT tests are administered to candidates applying for medical schools nevertheless they are closely related to other psychometric tests used in recruitment and selection. In this section we will be primarily concerned with reasoning tests that contain abstract items. Such tests evaluate your ability to extract and make sense of critical information from large sample of data. In medical practice these skills are critical for making diagnosis to determine future courses of actions.


Formats and tasks

Often in UKCAT abstract reasoning test your task will be to identify underlying logic of patterns. You will have to examine various shapes and symbols to see how they fit together. In particular, UKCAT abstract reasoning test contains two sets with corresponding shapes as indicated in figure below. Your task will be to evaluate whether the test shapes belong to set A, set B or to neither set.  You will have to carefully examine both patterns alike, find underlying rules and see to which pattern test shapes fit.


For example in the above question you can see that each set is dominated by particular item. That is, set A is dominated by black square whereas set B is dominated by white circle. Hence you can conclude that test shape 1 belongs to neither set as it includes both white circle and black square whereas shape 2 belongs set A and shape 3 belongs to set B. You can read UKCAT abstract reasoning test tips to see how to approach these types of question in your assessment.


Main challenges

UKCAT abstract tests are demanding fast paced assessments and hence one of the major challenges is time within which you have to complete the assessment. You will have to work against the clock and under pressure and hence you will have limited time to find the connections and relationship to complete the test. It is likely that it will be up to you to allocate the time for each question. Many new starters take too long to search for patterns only to find out that they are running out of time and hence may not complete easier questions for which they could gain points. Another challenge of UKCAT abstract reasoning is to find patterns quickly enough. Fortunately, depending on the level and type of material practiced you can train your eyes to spot patterns in quick way.


Test preparation

There is a wide range of resources available that allow you to prepare for UKCAT abstract reasoning test. Although some test publishers assert that these assessments are designed to be test of aptitude rather than academic achievement and hence they claim that no preparation is needed as these tests does not draw on any particular knowledge. For sure there are number of different techniques and strategies that you can practice to maximise your test score. In particular, familiarity with abstract reasoning test patterns and studying how different items are connected to form patterns can help tremendously to increase your chance of passing your exam. Studying the practice test questions and using feedback to understand where you need to focus your revision and improve your knowledge gives you competitive edge to succeed.