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Verbal Reasoning

threefivetwo

suffering from chronic swag
Why were this year's VR scores so low? Was the test just really hard?
  • Nerves before the test
  • More inference style questions requiring you to skim the entire passage instead of scanning for keywords, taking up time
  • Perceived increased difficulty of questions psyching candidates out
Regardless of whether the test gets harder, the candidate pool will only get more competitive due to re-sitters and increased number of testers. Best bet is to practice VR a lot ;)
 

saksham21

Member
  • Nerves before the test
  • More inference style questions requiring you to skim the entire passage instead of scanning for keywords, taking up time
  • Perceived increased difficulty of questions psyching candidates out
Regardless of whether the test gets harder, the candidate pool will only get more competitive due to re-sitters and increased number of testers. Best bet is to practice VR a lot ;)
Are the official UCAT resources similar to the actual exam?
 

saksham21

Member
In some regards, yes, in some no. You would do well to undertake preparation outside of the official resources, as I don't feel they're sufficient alone. I won't discuss preparation services here as that'd break Rule #13.
How do you think I can prepare for answering more inference style questions. Currently I scan for keywords and this works well for most questions, but because of this I struggle more with author's opinion and inference questions. How should I approach these questions?
 

threefivetwo

suffering from chronic swag
Posting this up for reference for future UCAT takers:
---
  • Verbal Reasoning tests your ability to read and comprehend a range of literature, locate appropriate information accurately and rapidly, and compare and evaluate it.
    • This is relevant in a clinical context when you read research, patient notes etc. and evaluate information quickly.
    • Understanding what the subtest wants from you helps you guide your preparation better.
    • Note the emphasis on rapidly.
  • Key strategies
    • Check the question stem first to see if you have to do the work. It's usually the case that you'll have to skim the passage quickly before answering. But sometimes they'll ask you something that's fairly straightforward, instead of a "Which one of the four options is true?" type question, i.e. "threefivetwo was born in July 1928 in Sydney, Australia."

      The keyword here is 1928, as the place of birth will be located near this term in the passage. So all you need to do is skim the passage for "1928" here and verify that the stem is correct.
    • Speed reading and chunking. An important part of VR is being able to grasp what the text talks about, in addition to a sense of the tone of the passage quickly so that you don't lose time. So you need to read the text faster, but this cannot come at the expense of losing a decent understanding of the text.
      A fairly common problem with speed reading is that you read it out verbally in your head, which limits your speed. If you do this, suppress the urge to do so.
      Speed reading is basically reading the text faster, meaning that your eye will track across each line of the passage faster. A good way to keep your eye focused is to use your cursor to track across the sentence as you read it. The better way is to chunk sentences/the passage into groups. This link will give you a pretty good explanation of chunking. How to Read Groups of Words: Chunking | Speed Reading Lounge
    • Changing gears. In a passage, there's often information that wouldn't be particularly useful to the question (i.e. a long winded explanation of some concept). When you encounter this, change gears and speed up. When there is important information (i.e. birth dates, places, numbers, definitions), change gears and slow down. Know when to change your reading speed.
    • Locating information based on the type of passage. The location of information can often be inferred from the type of passage. For example, if the passage is a biography and the question asks for the birth date, that's going to be in the first paragraph. If it's a news article and the stem references a quotation, that'll most likely be in the middle or the end of the passage, as the beginning is usually devoted to explaining the topic of the article.
    • Timing. Look at your UCAT prep provider's LMS for tips on timing. Generally I like finishing with about 6-8 minutes left so I have time to go back for harder questions and anything else I flagged.
    • Passes. The same strategy for completing the subtest in passes that I talked about in QR applies here.
  • Tips
    • Practice speed reading and chunking beyond your UCAT practice. Although the most useful type of practice is timed practice and mocks, practicing these techniques beyond the UCAT will help immensely in applying them. You can practice on news articles, the introduction of Wikipedia articles, sections of course notes, Moodle discussion posts, emails, etc. Once you finish reading it, ask yourself what the passage was about overall, what the key points in it were and where you'd find them, and the tone of the passage. I feel that it'd help!
    • Reflect on your mocks and target your practice. You know that VR is your weakest subtest, but do you know why it's your weakest subtest? I encourage you to reflect on your mocks and categorise each wrong question by mistake type (i.e. Missed a qualifier word, ran out of time, silly mistake). And once you do so, write down specific actions that you'll take before your next mock to work on these mistakes (i.e. Timed practice of 40 questions to improve timing, drills on x UCAT prep company to improve ___).
saksham21 - I posted this up earlier last year. This should help hopefully!
 

dhwanishk

Member
Pretty appalling at VR. Realistically how much can someone improve at VR in 6ish months and how much time should I be committing to UCAT (considering Im not confident in getting a mid 99 ATAR as of right now). Thanks
 

someday

Regular Member
Pretty appalling at VR. Realistically how much can someone improve at VR in 6ish months and how much time should I be committing to UCAT (considering Im not confident in getting a mid 99 ATAR as of right now). Thanks
My VR was pretty bad at the beginning of my prep as well (around 550-600ish in my early attempts) but after 4-5 months of practice, my scores improved to 750-850 on VR prac tests and got a 740 on the actual UCAT test. Definitely not the best VR score in the world, but goes to show how you can improve by 100+ if you put in the work. How much time you should be putting in is smth that nobody can tell you except yourself, but the common advice is to treat UCAT as an extra school subject + consistent practice (even short) is important. If you're not confident about getting a 99+ ATAR, you'd want to aim for at least 96 percentile to be confident for interviews at JMP med (93%), UAdel med (96% Interstate), WSU med (depending on VR), CSU Dent (96% non rural) using this year's data
 

saksham21

Member
Does anyone have any tips to avoid making silly mistakes in VR? I keep speeding through the exam and I end up missing words such as 'Not' or 'Except' many times.
 

ucatboy

Regular Member
Valued Member
Does anyone have any tips to avoid making silly mistakes in VR? I keep speeding through the exam and I end up missing words such as 'Not' or 'Except' many times.
You've posted this for VR and QR and the answer is literally in your post - stop doing what you're doing right now - that means stop speeding through the exam, stop skipping over words, consciously watch out for details and silly mistakes. It takes practice but you know what to improve on, so work towards that.
 

frays

Member
Does anyone have any tips to avoid making silly mistakes in VR? I keep speeding through the exam and I end up missing words such as 'Not' or 'Except' many times.
adding on to what ucatboy said - if you're finding it hard to remember to consciously watch out for details and silly mistakes in the stress of things - in the one minute before VR write down "DETAILS" or "NOT" / "EXCEPT" on your whiteboard to help jog your memory. Then use the rest of the minute to calm down.
 
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