Breaking down the UCAT and summarising the different tests is essential as part of your UCAT preparation. After you do a mock it’s always a good idea to review and analyse how much time you used to answer each question and whether it’s better to skip certain types of questions to focus on the ones you’re more likely to get right. Your job is to “find the questions you can get right quickly“. It can get confusing so I’ve summarised this all below for you so you can get that top level information at a glance !

UCAT Summary Breakdown

UCAT SubtestNo. of QuestionsTime (minutes)Time (seconds)Time Per QuestionsComment
Verbal Reasoning4421 minutes1260 seconds28.63 secondsLow scoring test
Decision Making2931 minutes1860 seconds64.14 secondsLogic focused
Quantitative Reasoning3624 minutes1440 seconds40 secondsQuick maths
Abstract Reasoning5513 minutes780 seconds14.18 secondsCrazy pattern finding
Situational Judgement6926 minutes1560 seconds22.61 secondsApplied common sense
Chess Set indicating the intelligence and problem solving skills required to be a doctor

Improve your UCAT Strategy and Score High

Why the Skills Tested in the UCAT are Relevant?

Why Verbal Reasoning is tested in the UCAT?

Doctors and dentists need to understand complex information quickly and be able to communicate clearly with patients. Communication is one of the key attributes of a good medical practitioner. Being able to read, understand, and critically analyse written material (e.g. academic research, patient history) draw a conclusion on the information’s validity and come to a conclusion and create an action plan are key skills.

Why Decision Making is tested in the UCAT?

Doctors and dentists are constantly making decisions which taking into consideration a plethora of factors – from medications, symptoms, feelings, impact etc… The decisions made will have a direct impact on the health of patients and are often taken in a time pressured environment. Taking these types of complex decisions requires the ability evaluate, assess, manage risk and deal with uncertainty.

Why Quantitative Reasoning is tested in the UCAT?

Being able to quickly process numbers is a key skill doctors require. Drug calculations need to be accurate and use calculations based on weight, age, etc.. In a pediatric setting these skills are even more essential. Clinical research also requires the use of complex statistics and the ability to understand, critique and use results is essential.

Why Abstract Reasoning is tested in the UCAT?

Doctors need to recognise patterns and linkages between symptoms and the results of diagnostic tests (e.g. radiology, blood tests etc.. ) in order to come to the best diagnosis. Being able to appreciate the reliability ad relative importance of this information help doctors to be able to reach conclusions and formulate their next steps. Reading and writing research also requires the ability to see patterns presented in a variety of forms and an essential skills to help generate future hypotheses.

Why Situational Judgement is tested in the UCAT?

The character of medical students and future doctors needs to assessed to understand how an individual will behave or react in a real world situations. Integrity, teamworking, resilience, adaptability, moral and ethical standards are also aspects of what it takes to be a good doctor.


Check out the official UCAT breakdown here.

Make sure also read the UCAT Overview.