The Quantitative Reasoning test is used to assess one’s ability to make use of standard numerical skills (GCSE standard) to solve quantitative problems. The questions in this section will test you on your problem solving skills as opposed to your numerical ability.
The UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning section is specifically designed in order to give everyone an equal opportunity to successfully complete the section. A level maths is not required, however, most of the questions on the Quantitative Reasoning section are at least on the GCSE level.
Medical and dental practitioners frequently need to go over and apply data in their work. Practically speaking, a doctor may need to calculate a patient’s medication dosage based on the patient’s weight, age, and other factors in order to accurately administer the medication. Furthermore, clinical research may necessitate the ability to critique, define, and apply results that are presented in a more complicated form. It is important for universities to know whether or not a candidate has the aptitude to handle such situations.
On the UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning section, you will need to draw out the pertinent information from numerical presentations (such as tables). Each numerical presentation will have four questions that relate to it, each with five answer choices of which you must select the best answer. The Quantitative Reasoning subtest is comprised of nine data sets, with a total of 36 questions. You will have 24 minutes to complete this section (plus one minute for instructions). You will be provided with a simple on-screen calculator for this part of the test.
The example question below shows the type of questions you will experience in this test. By going through it with you, we are highlighting some of the challenges that you will come up against in this section.
A clothing business is trying to increase its brand awareness through the distribution of advertising items. It has addressed a number of advertising companies for their price quotes.
If "BrandMad" were to increase their prices by 10%, what would be the net change in price of an order that includes 1000 pens, 2000 match boxes, and 300 shirts?
The following diagram describes the percentage of students that passed the exam: "Introduction to Economics" out of those who took the exam at the University of Cambridge, between the years 1990 - 1996.
For example, in 1993, 20% of the students who took the exam, passed it.
It is known that a quarter of the students who passed the exam in 1992, passed it at the first trial. Assuming each exam has two trials, what percent of all the students who took the exam that year pass it in the second trial?
On the UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning subtest, you will be provided with an on-screen calculator (you do not need to bring your own). The UKCAT calculator may be helpful on the test, but it can also present challenges and slow you down. Here are some helpful tips and a tutorial video:
The UKCAT calculator is a TI-108, which is the most basic calculator. The calculator includes the four basic functions as well as square root and percentage keys. In each Quantitative Reasoning question, there is a link to the online calculator on the top left-hand side of the screen. When you click on this link, the UKCAT calculator will appear on your screen. You may either click the buttons using your mouse or by using the number buttons on your keyboard.
You may find using a calculator while you practise for the UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning section to be beneficial. Make sure to use the same type of basic calculator so that you can get acquainted with it before the test. Here are some tips to consider regarding the UKCAT calculator:
Our UKCAT test prep pack offers comprehensive question solving tips, a mock test, separate Quantitative Reasoning practice tests, and a series of videos to explain some of the mathematical functions required on the test. These tests can be completed in either timed or step-by-step mode, in which each question comes with a detailed explanation. This method allows you to learn as you prepare for the test. Our online pack also contains a complete guide to the UKCAT with tips for the Quantitative Reasoning test. Learn more about UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips here.
In 2013 the quantitative reasoning test was the lowest scoring of the four UKCAT subtests, and in order to achieve an average score (600) you had to get just 16 questions right. These scores are a testimony to just how difficult this test was. So just what do you need to do in order to improve your QR subtest score? Let’s take a closer look at this test.
One of the key skills for the quantitative reasoning test is mental arithmetic. In this test you generally need to make more than one calculation in order to come to the answer, and you must be able to do these calculations quickly and accurately. Sharpening your mental arithmetic skills should be a large part of your UKCAT quantitative reasoning preparation.
You also need to be clear on how to perform a range of calculations needed to come to the answers. These functions include ratios, percentages, fractions, multiplication, and division to name but a few. To arrive at the answer, you need to work through these calculations steadily, methodically and in an organised way.
You can use a calculator to help you out with these questions, so prepare with an onscreen calculator from the beginning.
Working quickly in a quantitative reasoning test
The most difficult element of the quantitative reasoning subtest is answering the questions with the required calculations in the time allocated. Even with this year’s additional two minutes on the time for the subtest, test takers are reporting that they are struggling to complete the test in the time allocated. So what can you do to get faster?
Practice using an onscreen calculator. This will save a lot of time as you familiarise yourself with where to move your mouse in order to make calculations. Some people have said their test centre won’t allow them to use the keyboard, so practice using a mouse on the calculator as well.
Don’t spend too long on one question. If you find you are spending too long on a question, flag it up to go back to later and move on to the next one.
Perform easy calculations in your head or on paper. Learn shortcut techniques as part of your preparation. For example, divide the number by 100 in your head when calculating percentages. You may then need to use a calculator to multiply this number by 26%, but at least you have cut out one step.
Keep your calculations on your whiteboard. You may find that you need to use the same calculations again in the next question, so writing them down and keeping them to go back to will allow you to skip stages in later questions.
The quantitative reasoning subtest is difficult, but with good preparation of your maths and reasoning skills, as well as practising working through questions quickly will help you come out with a good score. It is worth taking time to ensure that you have the basic skills before you start preparing. And take practice tests to help you understand the timing. Our UKCAT practice packs contain revision materials for skills, as well as test tips and of course all important practice tests. Good luck!
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