• Amy van Dongen

Scoring in the top 10% for Verbal Reasoning – top 5 tips!

The Verbal Reasoning (VR) test is the first test in the UCAT. It is a difficult section, made even trickier with the anxiety of it being the beginning of the exam. It’s important that you have some strategies in place to tackle this test, and so here are our top 5 tips to help you perform at your best!

1. Be aware of timing


The VR test is extremely time-pressured, with large amounts of text to process in limited time. You only have 28 seconds per question! Therefore, if you are spending too long on one question, you should flag it and move on to another. It is better to revisit it at the end if you have time, or even guess, and complete the rest of the test, than waste your time on one question.

When practicing, you will learn which questions take longer. When you encounter these in the real exam, you could then flag these and move on to easier questions. This way, you complete as much of the test as possible.


2. Skim-reading


In each set of questions, you will be presented with a 200-300 word passage. It would take up too much time to read the whole passage, so practice skim reading in the run up to the test to save time in the exam.

Looking out for keywords is also a great tactic. Read the question first, identify the keywords of the question and then skim the passage for these words to save time and find the answer quickly.


3. True/false/can’t tell


The true/false/can’t tell questions are easy to complete quickly, but you need to understand what is meant by true, false, and can’t tell.


Statements will be true if they are stated in the passage or followed logically from the information. Statements are false if they do not follow logically from the information provided, and you “can’t tell” if there is insufficient information to make a judgment.


You must only assess the statements from the information in the passage – avoid using any existing knowledge on the topic presented. Take everything written in the passage literally and make no assumptions. This way, you will maximise your scores for the easier true/false/can’t tell questions!


4. Identifying extreme language


You can sometimes eliminate possible answers which use extreme language, for example ‘all’, ‘none’, ‘always’ or ‘never’. Answers which use this language will miss out on any nuances of the passage, whereas those which use language such as ‘can’ ‘might’ or ‘sometimes’ are more likely to be correct.


By identifying extreme language, you can often exclude some possible answers. If you then don’t have time to complete the question properly and you have eliminated answers with extreme language, you will have fewer possibilities to select from meaning you’re more likely to guess correctly!


5. Practice!


Make sure that in the run-up to your exam, you practice in different ways. It’s important that you practice the types of questions you are less good at in a targeted way to improve your overall score, but it is equally important to practice the whole test to nail those timings and learn how you work best throughout the duration of the test.

I hope that these 5 tips will help you nail the VR test!


Do you want to boost your score even further?