Are you wondering about the "Verbal Reasoning" section of the UCAT and want a useful 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 Verbal Reasoning section?
The verbal reasoning section of the UCAT is a reading comprehension test that assesses your ability to deduce meaning from a piece of text.
You must read and answer questions on 200-300-word passages. It is the shortest and most time-pressured section of the UCAT, clocking in at just 21 minutes.
There are 11 passages of text, each with four questions, and in that time you must read and respond to each passage.
That works out to a total of 44 verbal reasoning questions that you can complete in two minutes, or 30 seconds each.
When it comes to verbal reasoning questions, there are two main types to look out for:
True, False, or Can't Tell: You have to infer from the text whether or not the statements are true or false, or if it is impossible to determine whether or not they are true or false.
Free Text: Depending on what you've read, you'll have to choose from a list of possible free text responses.
What's the marking scheme?
Let's break down the marking scheme:
The question types are very straightforward, and there are no complicated marking schemes to deal with here, unlike many exams. It's super straightforward and not something you need to worry about.
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 verbal reasoning score?
In 2021, the average verbal reasoning for the UK was 572. Generally, getting over 650 points in this section is considered a good score.
How to get a good verbal reasoning score?
Now let's talk about how to actually get a good score in this section.
It's important to have a scientific approach to this section. You need to be able to understand and dissect texts and have a deductive approach to the questions.
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 Hazal and Lydie 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 30 seconds to answer each question, and this includes reading the text presented.
Here's a question from the UCAT Verbal Reasoning Question Bank , the questions are quite lengthy:
"Sea defences were first built by the Romans who arrived in England in 43 AD. Since medieval times sea walls have been attempted and much land reclaimed to grow crops. Yet, while this was happening, the early medieval capital of East Anglia, Dunwich, was slipping into the sea.
The increasing number of today's visiting tourists just see a ruined monastery and some houses. According to Professor David Sear, Dunwich has often been referred to as England's Atlantis because it is the largest of the 150 settlements lost to the North Sea. It used to be a major trading port, the biggest in the east of England. In 1,000 AD the Suffolk port of Dunwich rivalled London as a centre of trade and merchant shipping.
The Domesday Book records that half of the town's taxable farmland was lost to the sea through coastal erosion between 1066 and 1086. In 1287 a great storm pulled many of its 5,000 residents' homes into the sea. Also, 400 houses, two churches, shops and windmills were drowned in 1328.
The last remnants of All Saints' Church fell into the sea in 1919 and now Dunwich consists of a 200-population cliff top hamlet which increasingly lives off tourism. In June 2010 a team used underwater sonar equipment to locate two lost churches. Soon all evidence of Dunwich may be lost unless a 21st century plan to understand its past and reveal its streets with high tech underwater cameras proves successful."
Dunwich is described as 'England's Atlantis' because, like Atlantis, it was:
A. drowned by the ocean.
B. a busy trading port.
C. the home of thousands of people.
D. noted for its fine buildings.
Have a think about it, below are the answers and the reasoning for the answer.
The correct answer is A
The text says in the second paragraph that ‘Dunwich has often been referred to as England’s Atlantis because it is the largest of the 150 settlements lost to the North Sea.’
These are not super hard questions, but the time restraint is severe.