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Verbal Reasoning

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dano

Member
I've been not doing too great in VR. I heard that last years VR was unbelievably long and inference based. I was wondering what approach to VR people who did well had. For example did you skim read the passage and then answer questions from what you remember or did you go to the question first, identify keywords and then scan the passage for support?
 

whys

Member
I've been not doing too great in VR. I heard that last years VR was unbelievably long and inference based. I was wondering what approach to VR people who did well had. For example did you skim read the passage and then answer questions from what you remember or did you go to the question first, identify keywords and then scan the passage for support?
I recommend you skim the passage for around 10 seconds and note down where each of the main ideas are. E.g. in a passage about cystic fibrosis, there may be a paragraph each about general info, diagnosis and treatment. By scanning the passage, you are able to get the main ideas and can easily locate info when necessary. Also, for the duration of this 10 seconds, it may be useful to note down keywords or phrases that could be useful later on. After this, spend around 25 seconds for each question. By using this method, I have found that my results have improved significantly from before, when I just used a random approach to all VR questions. Also remember to guesstimate flag more complicated, inference-based questions so you can complete the easy T/F/C questions first and come back to the harder questions at the end (don't flag ALL inference-based questions though). This is to ensure you don't run out of time and miss any easy marks.
 

dano

Member
I recommend you skim the passage for around 10 seconds and note down where each of the main ideas are. E.g. in a passage about cystic fibrosis, there may be a paragraph each about general info, diagnosis and treatment. By scanning the passage, you are able to get the main ideas and can easily locate info when necessary. Also, for the duration of this 10 seconds, it may be useful to note down keywords or phrases that could be useful later on. After this, spend around 25 seconds for each question. By using this method, I have found that my results have improved significantly from before, when I just used a random approach to all VR questions. Also remember to guesstimate flag more complicated, inference-based questions so you can complete the easy T/F/C questions first and come back to the harder questions at the end (don't flag ALL inference-based questions though). This is to ensure you don't run out of time and miss any easy marks.
I'll give it a shot!
 

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LouiseDisease

best western
I got 830 in VR and I have to honestly tell you all to ditch any sort of genuine strategy with answering the questions until you hit your mocks (which should be june at the earliest) and focus on learning how to speed read and become accustomed to the historical/scientific jargon that is used within the passages. From what I found VR just felt like it was siphoned straight out of wikipedia. Read a lot of random wikipedia, read novels, read the paper. It is all about your explicit ability to genuinely read. Also I would say that the true/false/can't tell are just as difficult as the text heavy comprehension when it comes to the 'can't tell'.
 

TKAO

ima head to oooo-wahhh for med
Valued Member
I got 830 in VR and I have to honestly tell you all to ditch any sort of genuine strategy with answering the questions until you hit your mocks (which should be june at the earliest) and focus on learning how to speed read and become accustomed to the historical/scientific jargon that is used within the passages. From what I found VR just felt like it was siphoned straight out of wikipedia. Read a lot of random wikipedia, read novels, read the paper. It is all about your explicit ability to genuinely read. Also I would say that the true/false/can't tell are just as difficult as the text heavy comprehension when it comes to the 'can't tell'.
I would legit try and do this. I just tried to stick to some sembelence of strategy and I ended up with a 670 VR, which is good, but by no means fantastic. Brush up on the basics and then try to get a strategy later, not the other way around.
 

Syncazor

UNSW I
It would be really interesting to see what the high VR scorers were doing. I attempted to speed read the whole text and then answer all the questions from there but that landed me a 600 in the final thing, I believe nerves were also at play here as the speed caught up on me. I'm thinking perhaps that some variant of skimming/scanning will be more advantageous. Thoughts?
 

Fili

Dentistry Student
Valued Member
I would say nerves definitely got the best of me on VR given that it was the first section of UCAT. I remember being zoned out for 2/3 of VR and my heart rate being high af.

(I could hear just how fast my heart beat was due to the ear plugs). It only started lowering when I took a quick pause to breathe and calm myself. I reckon this helped me actually get focused and not bomb the entire test.
 

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LMG!

Moderator
Staff Member of the Year 2019
It would be really interesting to see what the high VR scorers were doing. I attempted to speed read the whole text and then answer all the questions from there but that landed me a 600 in the final thing, I believe nerves were also at play here as the speed caught up on me. I'm thinking perhaps that some variant of skimming/scanning will be more advantageous. Thoughts?
LouiseDisease, who got 830, literally described her approach two posts up from yours. She's one of the highest scorers we saw here at MSO (I can only think of three higher off the top of my head who have posted here lately).
 

Syncazor

UNSW I
LouiseDisease, who got 830, literally described her approach two posts up from yours. She's one of the highest scorers we saw here at MSO (I can only think of three higher off the top of my head who have posted here lately).
Yeah one of the few i think that I might try if I decide to sit the UCAT again
 

Kezza

Regular Member
I got 830 in VR and I have to honestly tell you all to ditch any sort of genuine strategy with answering the questions until you hit your mocks (which should be June at the earliest) and focus on learning how to speed read and become accustomed to the historical/scientific jargon that is used within the passages.
I'm going to 100% disagree here. There is absolutely no reason at all you should buy into the 'don't study to early/you only need 2 weeks of prep/you'll burn yourself out"

You should be starting to practice ASAP and as often. Spaced repetition and active recall is the key to success in learning. Do you think Magnus Carlson doesn't start playing chess and studying strategies until a few weeks before a major tournament? Becoming accustomed to the structure and learning a method that works for you is something that takes time. This is true for everything you learn, not just the UCAT.

TLDR: There is no such thing as too much study or studying too early.
 

LouiseDisease

best western
In no way am I advocating to leave things to the last minute, actually the opposite. If you start your mocks, as was explicitly stated, before June then you simply will run out of mocks.

But hear me out on VR: people's constant qualm is that they don't get better in their practicing with VR, and they come out with fairly low VR subsection results (<650). This is clearly not ideal if WSU is your first preference from the pattern we saw. I said to develop and hone your reading skills then get back to the questions. Unlike DM and AR, QR and VR can easily be worked on in ways isolated from UCAT materials and procedures to develop those skills.
 

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Some guy

Member
I also got 830 VR, and agree with LouiseDisease that the best long-term prep is wide reading of complex passages, like historic texts or fact-heavy government reports.

But if you're after more immediate tips the two I found most useful were:

One, try reading the question first and then the passage. It helps your speed in finding the key sentences that answer what;'s being asked. Worked for me anyway.

Two, read it like a lawyer - ignore general knowledge or "obvious" answers and look for facts or direct inferences in the passage alone. An example I read somewhere: "the three crew members of the first lunar mission were Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins." then a question saying "Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon." Based on real-life knowledge the answer is "true." Based solely on the passage the answer is 'Can't tell."

In passing I also agree with Fili, if you get too stressed in section 1 it can affect the rest of your test. So a third piece of advice - however hard the question: relax, keep to time, and breathe. 😎
 

LMG!

Moderator
Staff Member of the Year 2019
Two, read it like a lawyer - ignore general knowledge or "obvious" answers and look for facts or direct inferences in the passage alone. An example I read somewhere: "the three crew members of the first lunar mission were Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins." then a question saying "Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon." Based on real-life knowledge the answer is "true." Based solely on the passage the answer is 'Can't tell."
Yes, this is very important. It's easy to go "Oh, I know the answer to this!" when you're panicking and looking for easy points, but it's VITAL you ONLY use the information provided in the passage. Don't bring your own general knowledge to the table.
 

Syncazor

UNSW I
I also got 830 VR, and agree with LouiseDisease that the best long-term prep is wide reading of complex passages, like historic texts or fact-heavy government reports.

But if you're after more immediate tips the two I found most useful were:

One, try reading the question first and then the passage. It helps your speed in finding the key sentences that answer what;'s being asked. Worked for me anyway.

Two, read it like a lawyer - ignore general knowledge or "obvious" answers and look for facts or direct inferences in the passage alone. An example I read somewhere: "the three crew members of the first lunar mission were Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins." then a question saying "Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon." Based on real-life knowledge the answer is "true." Based solely on the passage the answer is 'Can't tell."

In passing I also agree with Fili, if you get too stressed in section 1 it can affect the rest of your test. So a third piece of advice - however hard the question: relax, keep to time, and breathe. 😎
where did you find some of these practice texts?
 

Some guy

Member
I bought a book of UKCAT questions. I probably shouldn't advertise in this thread, but google will steer you in the right direction if you are looking for one. There'll also be some practice questions at ucat.edu.au when the test window comes closer.
 

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dano

Member
I do also feel like your VR is heavily reliant on your natural ability. Thats not to say you can't improve your score however I do feel like lots of the very high scorers (800+) mainly skim read the passage first and then answered the question. It probably worked for them because they were naturally just super quick at reading. I could be wrong though so if I am please let me know. I feel like maybe it would be worth switching from strategy to strategy based on the question type.
 

TKAO

ima head to oooo-wahhh for med
Valued Member
I do also feel like your VR is heavily reliant on your natural ability. Thats not to say you can't improve your score however I do feel like lots of the very high scorers (800+) mainly skim read the passage first and then answered the question. It probably worked for them because they were naturally just super quick at reading. I could be wrong though so if I am please let me know. I feel like maybe it would be worth switching from strategy to strategy based on the question type.
I don't think anyone is naturally good at skim reading to such a large extent. Such things require habit and are more of a skill to learn than anything else. Don't kid yourself into thinking that you can't do well in VR but rather think about ways you too can improve your skim reading. I'd be the first to tell you that I didn't do that well in VR either, but I wouldn't blame it on a lack of natural ability.
 

coolguy246

Member
Hey, I got a 850 in the VR section of the UCAT (overall score of 95th percentile now studying med @ monash) and would highly recommend reading the question first and then skimming over the text looking for those 1/2 key word(s) in the question. This is really time saving.
 

woodstock

Lurker
Hey guys,
I was just wondering if anyone has any strategy for the questions in VR which say "based on the passage, which of the following is true...". At the moment I'm just reading all the options, picking one of them, and then going back to the text to check the statement. Does anyone have any tips of how to do these questions any quicker? Thanks
 

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