Do you have questions about the "Decision Making" section of the UCAT and want a comprehensive guide?
In this post, we'll go over everything you need to know about this exam section, the kind of questions that show up, tips, strategies,and what constitutes a good score with examples.
Here's a brief breakdown of what you should expect :
What's in the decision making section?
This section requires you to use logic and reasoning to solve questions. These questions can be text-based, visual or data-related. You will have access to the onscreen calculator widget during this section.
Overall, you have 31 minutes to answer 29 questions. There are two different types of questions you'll have to cover:
There are both multiple choice questions and binary choice questions. In the multiple choice questions, you have to choose one of 4 possible answers, one of which is correct.
In the binary questions, you just mark yes or no.
The questions are designed to test your ability to think logically and rationally about a given situation. It measures your ability to critically analyse and draw conclusions based on a variety of arguments and data. This is a critical skill for any position in the medical field.
What's the marking scheme?
Let's break down the marking scheme:
The question types are either choice based or binary statements, and there are no complicated marking schemes to deal with here, unlike many exams. It's super straightforward so you don't have to worry about the marking scheme.
The only thing you really need to understand is that these marks get converted to a scale score, which will become your final UCAT score.
What's a good decision-making score?
In 2021, the average decision making score for the UK was 610. Generally, getting over 700 points in this section is considered a good score.
How to get a good decision making score?
Now let's talk about how to actually get a good score in this section.
It's important to have a logical approach to this section. You need to be able to understand and dissect arguments as well as understand statistics and have an analytical approach to data.
So what does that actually mean?
These are hard things to get used to if you haven't learnt how to approach these questions. There are multiple ways to go about increasing your score.
One way is to get personalised help from an expert tutor on LessonWise. In a completely free class, they will help you approach this section as well as all other sections of the exam. This is by far the fastest method to get to grips with this section.
However, there are also YouTube videos that cover the personal experiences of students and how they approach the exam. These can be helpful to start building your own approach. Here's a video of Nasir going over some questions and explaining how he goes about approaching them.
The timing and the question types require getting used to, so no matter what you do, you will still need to spend some time practising this section.
You will need to practise timing. You only have around 66 seconds to answer each question, and this includes reading and dissecting the diagrams and stats presented.
Here's a question from the UCAT Decision Making Question Bank :
Employees are promoted on the strength of their performance rating. A company rates all its employees between 1 and 4 for their bonus allocation. 1 is the highest, 4 is the lowest.
Employees are only eligible for promotion after 3 years of service in the same position. All employees, and those eligible for promotion, must get a rating of 1 or 2 for a bonus payment.
Place 'Yes' if the conclusion does follow. Place 'No' if the conclusion does not follow.
Have a think about it, below are the answers and the reasoning for each answer.
1 - Yes, because all employees need a 1 or 2 rating to get a bonus.
2 - No, Brian can only be eligible after 3 years in his new job. It's not a certain!
3 - Yes, Roger must have gotten a 1 or 2 for a bonus, so he couldn't have gotten a 3.
4 - Yes, because we are told that employees are only eligible for promotion after 3 years of service.
5 - No, because we have no data to show whether the number of employees promoted yearly is greater than those who are not.
Now, this is a pretty easy question and does not represent the totality of the questions and problems you will need to solve but it does give you an idea of what the section is about.