What is the UCAT?

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a computerised aptitude test designed to assess a candidate’s ability to make good evidence-based decisions across a variety of contexts. The test is two hours long and contains 233 questions spread across five subtests, which are individually timed.

When we say that it’s an ‘aptitude test’, it’s important to understand that this means it’s NOT an academic assessment. It’s not knowledge-based—you don’t need to memorise or regurgitate any information for this test.

Rather, an ‘aptitude test’ means that it’s a skills-based test. Like with any other kind of skill (e.g. solving a math question, baking a cake, driving a car, or riding a bike), there are certain steps you need to follow, and the skill needs to be developed over time so that you can become good at it.

In the case of the UCAT, the skill being measured is your logical reasoning and evidence-based decision making. To put this in more simple language: it’s a thinking test. The UCAT is designed to test how (and how well) you think. So to do well, you can’t be emotive, subjective, or assumptive in the way you reason and make decisions, but need to think critically, systematically and objectively. This can be seen more clearly from the five sections of the test, which each assess candidates on different aspects of their logical reasoning skills:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Decision Making
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Situational Judgement

To achieve a high UCAT score, students need to learn the step-by-step approach for solving each of the fourteen question types that appear in the five sections of the test, and then do mindful practice to develop speed and accuracy.

To give you an idea of what UCAT questions actually look like, here are some sample questions you can try:

Sample Question for Verbal Reasoning (28sec/q)

I went to the Rwenzori Mountains for 4 months in 2015 as a volunteer with the Top and
Trunk Preservation Project. It was the best experience of my life – I’ll never forget it!

All of the volunteers at the Rwenzori Mountains office worked from Monday to Friday, and then had free time to do whatever we wanted on the other two days (e.g. seeing local sights, mountain climbing, visiting the national park). Since everyone had the same days off, we had lots of opportunities to chat and spend time together

When I first arrived, I was a monkey volunteer. Our group leader used my first day there to teach me how to identify almost forty different species of plants. It was really interesting! Monkey volunteers would get up around 6am at the earliest or around 7:30am at the latest. All volunteers were tasked with gathering phenological data every Thursday. While I was a monkey volunteer, I spent most of my time following chimpanzees and taking notes on their behaviour every 30 minutes. After I mastered this skill, I was also allowed to follow the olive baboons and the De Brazza’s monkeys. I had a really great time during the eight weeks that I helped with the monkeys.

Whilst being an elephant volunteer, I and the other elephant volunteers spent four days per week hiking to the 28 camera stations owned by the project. At each camera station, we changed the camera’s SD card and replaced its battery. After each hike, we would return to the office to check the photographs on the computer. We tagged each photograph with the names of all plant species and the ID numbers of the individual elephants, and backed up the photographs on the online server

Q1. All volunteers involved with the Top and Trunk Preservation Project work five days
a week.

A. True
B. False
C. Can’t Tell

Q2. The volunteers helping with the monkeys would wake up before 8am.

A. True
B. False
C. Can’t Tell

Q3. The elephant volunteers needed to be familiar with various local species of flora.

A. True
B. False
C. Can’t Tell

Q4. The volunteers frequently participated in training sessions on the weekends.

A. True
B. False
C. Can’t Tell

Sample Question for Decision Making – Syllogism Type(64sec/q)

A certain hospital only accepts students from either Harvard or Yale. Some of the Harvard students did not graduate with honours. The other students attended a special welcome dinner.

Q5. Place ‘Yes’ if the conclusion does follow. Place ‘No’ if the conclusion does not follow.

  1. If a student did not graduate with honours, they must be from Harvard.
  2. All the Yale students are at the dinner.
  3. No student at the dinner graduated without honours.
  4. None of the Harvard students are at the dinner.
  5. If a Harvard student was at the dinner, they graduated with honours

Sample Question for Quantitative Reasoning (40sec/q)

A cafe recorded the sweets bought by customers on a single day divided into two different times of the day.

[table id=6 /]

Q6. How many more cakes were sold to males in the afternoon compared to females that
bought muffins in the morning?

A. 1
B. 7
C. 10
D. 12
E. 15

Q7. It was noted that all banana cakes were sold in a morning set which came with a blueberry muffin for every banana cake purchased. What is the ratio of muffins sold in this set compared to the other muffins sold during this time of the day?

A. 3:28
B. 3:25
C. 1:6
D. 1:5
E. 1:4

Sample Question for Abstract Reasoning – Sets Type (14sec/q)

Patterns may arise from a specific position of shapes and colours, a specific rule to connect different shapes and colours, or a counting pattern.What type of pattern is being used in this example?

Q8. Which of the following test shapes belongs in Set B?


Q9. Which of the following test shapes belongs in Set A?

Q10. Which of the following test shapes belongs in Set A?

Q11. Which of the following test shapes belongs in Set B?

Q12. Which of the following test shapes belongs in Set B?

Sample Question for Situational Judgement – Importance Type (22sec/q)

Dr Anderson is supervising a medical student. As the medical student is about to perform a procedure on a patient, she begins to panic and tells Dr Anderson in front of the patient that she cannot perform the procedure. Dr Anderson knows that she is capable of performing this procedure, as he has seen her confidently perform it before, and is unsure why she is suddenly feeling anxious about it. The patient appears to be unsettled by the medical student’s behaviour.

How important to take into account are the following factors for Dr Anderson when deciding how to respond to the situation?

Q13. The reputation of the medical staff amongst their patients

A. Very important
B. Important
C. Of minor importance
D. Not important at all

Q14. The student’s academic progression

A. Very important
B. Important
C. Of minor importance
D. Not important at all

Q15. Emotional issues that the student may be facing

A. Very important
B. Important
C. Of minor importance
D. Not important at all

Q16. The fact that he has seen the student perform the procedure before

A. Very important
B. Important
C. Of minor importance
D. Not important at all

For more free sample questions (plus step-by-step video solutions), check out our Resources Hub: www.icanmed.com.au/category/ucat-resources


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ucat guide 2022