20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (2022)

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning (QR) is a section that divides students – there are theadept mathematicians who breeze past it and then there’s the not-so-number-savvy students.

The good news: there is always room for improvement. A lot of this test is about having a solid understanding of the fundamentals. Learn how to lay these foundations and improve your score.

If you've already started preparing, try some free UCAT practice questions, to get an overview of all the sections.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (1)

How to Prepare for the Quantitative Reasoning Test

The fact: Most students find the majority of QR questions easy. You are tested on basic concepts like percentages and rates, not integration or complex numbers.

The mystery: Then why don’t most students score highly in this section?

The answer: Time, time and time. When you only have 41 seconds per question, you don’t have time to think deeply about how to approach the problem - you just have to ‘get it’ it as you read the question. These tips should help you just ‘get it’ more often.

Check out our UCAT FAQs article for UCAT basics, such as cost, dates and much more.

1. Know all the key question types inside-out

The UCAT QR section asks GCSE-level maths questions around the key areas of percentage, unit conversions, rates and averages.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (2)

Focus your UCAT revision around these mathematical concepts, giving particular attention to the areas that you don’t feel that confident in.

(Video) UKCAT (UCAT) QUANTITATIVE REASONING: How to Improve Speed & Accuracy - 2019 | KharmaMedic

2. Think about timing and pace

Answering 36 questions in 25 minutes gives you 41 seconds per question.

Remember that this is an average - some questions can be solved in under 30 seconds whereas others may take a minute or longer due to their difficulty or requirement for multiple steps.

Learn more about UCAT timing (this is one area you really need to get comfortable with).

3. Refine your mental calculation skills

Develop mental calculation skills to save precious time that can be used to tackle the harder questions.

4. Don’t hesitate to use the calculator when you need to

The UCAT has an inbuilt calculator (Medify’s calculator is identical).

When you face a question outside the scope of your mental maths skills, pull out your onscreen calculator.

8.5 tips to master your primary QR tool (the calculator!)

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (3)

5. Use the memory function on the calculator

Have you ever wondered what those ‘M’ buttons are on the calculator? These are memory functions.

  • Press M+ to add a number to the memory
  • Press M- to remove the stored number
  • Press MRC to recall the stored number

This is often useful for multi-step questions.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (4)

(Video) UCAT Quantitative Reasoning - Lesson #20 - Pythagoras [UCAT 2021]

6. Practise using a computer with a number pad

The number pad is ergonomically designed to increase efficiency when typing compared to the horizontal number keys.

Use a keyboard with a number pad for your UCAT practice, as you will have access to one in a real exam.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (5)

7. Master the keyboard shortcuts

  • Use Alt+C to open and close the calculator.
  • Use the Backspace button for ON/C (clearing the calculator)
  • Use the keyboard (+,-,*,/) for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

8. Use the whiteboard and pen

For questions involving a number of mathematical operations, the whiteboard and pen provided at the test centre can be useful for jotting down key intermediate working steps.

9. Don’t be afraid to guess

There is no negative marking in the UCAT. For difficult questions, narrow down your choices and guess the answer before moving on.

10. Flag and move on if you are stuck

It is easy to become obsessed with getting a question right and dwell on it for minutes, when you could’ve answered three other questions!

If you face a question that you have no clue how to solve, have a quick guess, flag it, and move on. Flagging allows you to revisit a question at the end of a section, if there is time left over.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (6)

11. Repetition is the key

When you solve practice questions regularly, you soon realise that many questions have a pattern. It’s then just a matter of recognising which numbers to pull together.

At first, start working on your practice questions without worrying about the time limit. Gradually increase your speed and build momentum towards your UCAT exam.

Our UCAT skills trainers work with repetition to build core UCAT skills into your muscle memory. They're free with all UCAT courses.

(Video) UCAT Quantitative Reasoning: How to INSTANTLY improve + how i scored 900

12. Get into the habit of interpreting charts and graphs

Some UCAT QR questions require you to interpret data from graphs (e.g. histograms, pie charts, line charts) and tables.

Get into the habit of interpreting data presented in TV news, magazines, newspapers and other media outlets to weave UCAT preparation into your daily life.

13. Know your units and how to convert them

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (7)

14. Familiarise yourself with common fractions and percentages

Know how to convert common fractions to percentages and vice versa to save time:

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (8)

15. Be comfortable converting between hours and minutes

Always be mindful of your units and become familiar with the common minute-hour equivalents.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (9)

16. Understand compound interest

Interest compounds over time and a 5% return in one year does not mean a 10% return in two years. The return in the second year will be the original amount x 1.05 x 1.05.

There are often distracting answer options that don’t include the compound interest.

17. Understand tax brackets

Questions involving tax brackets are often featured in the QR section. The key to understanding the tax bracket is knowing that you don’t calculate the tax at a flat rate.

Instead, the first specified portion of the income is taxed at a low rate (or no tax), and the next specified portions gradually get taxed at higher rates.

(Video) UCAT Quantitative Reasoning 2022 | Tips, Formulas & Practice Questions

For example, in England and Wales, the following rates apply to taxable incomes:

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (10)

Based on the above tax bracket, the tax payable for a doctor earning £170,000 would be:

  • Tax on first £12,500 = £0
  • Tax on next £37,500 = £37,500 x 0.2 = £7,500
  • Tax on next £100,000 = £100,000 x 0.4 = £40,000
  • Tax on next £20,000 = £20,000 x 0.45 = £9,000

Total tax payable = £0 + £7,500 + £40,000 + £9,000 = £56,500

18. Areas and volumes

Know the formulas for the areas and volumes of common shapes.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (11)

19. Get into the zone

Most people are prone to making mistakes under stress. For example, you might forget to enter a decimal point in the calculator.

You need to stay calm throughout the question-solving process:

  • First, remember that the questions are no harder than GCSE mathematics and you have all the skills to tackle the questions.
  • Second, practise under timed conditions to emulate the pressure of exam conditions so that you can get used to it.

The graph below shows that some stress is good. Performance actually increases with stress until an optimal point. After that, performance drops off rapidly. The key is to channel your stress into targeted exam practice, and realise when you need to take a step back.

20 UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips and Techniques You Need to Know | Blog | Medify (12)

20. Sit mock exams under timed conditions to find your weaknesses

Practise answering UCAT QR questions under timed, pressured conditions to accurately diagnose your weaknesses.

(Video) UCAT Quantitative Reasoning: Advice and Techniques to score High!

Medify’s mock exams use an enormous data set to compare your performance against the average time users take to reach the correct answer.

We’ve updated all of our mocks and mini-mocks to reflect the latest changes to the UCAT UK 2022 Quantitative Reasoning section.

Summary

  1. Fully understand the type of questions asked in the UCAT QR section.
  2. Be mindful of the time limit and don’t dwell on one question. Make educated guesses, flag and come back if required.
  3. Get up to speed with your mental maths calculations and use of the provided tools (whiteboard and pen, calculator).

FAQs

Is quantitative reasoning for UCAT hard? ›

The level of mathematics required for Quantitative reasoning is not difficult (typically corresponding to year 10 or below) – but this not a maths test! The difficulty comes from the time pressure, the amount and complexity of information, and the complexity of the questions.

Is QR easy in UCAT? ›

QR is literally the easiest section, don't worry about it all. In fact, I know people who completely neglected preparing for QR [because of how easy it was in the exam according to people who had taken the exam] and still managed to score in the 700s. You'll be fine.

How can I improve my VR UCAT? ›

  1. Practise Your Speed Reading. You need to hone your ability to scan text as quickly as possible. ...
  2. Read The Question First. ...
  3. Find The Keywords. ...
  4. Don't Miss Multiple Keywords. ...
  5. Take Statements At Face Value. ...
  6. Don't Waste Time On All The Answers. ...
  7. Use The Flag And Guess Method. ...
  8. Practise Questions In A Realistic Environment.
22 Jun 2022

What does M mean on UCAT calculator? ›

The Backspace key clears all the digits at once, i.e. it is equivalent to pressing the ON/C button. There are no other buttons or keyboard shortcuts to delete one number at a time during calculations. The following memory functions are available: M+ = Memory Plus M- = Memory Minus MRC = Memory Recall / Memory Clear.

How can I improve my QR UCAT timing? ›

Summary
  1. Fully understand the type of questions asked in the UCAT QR section.
  2. Be mindful of the time limit and don't dwell on one question. Make educated guesses, flag and come back if required.
  3. Get up to speed with your mental maths calculations and use of the provided tools (whiteboard and pen, calculator).
28 Jul 2022

What's the hardest UCAT section? ›

2. The time limit for Verbal Reasoning makes it the most difficult section.

What is the hardest section in the UCAT? ›

VR is often considered to be the hardest section in terms of timing. Read our tips and tricks articles above to create your revision plan, as targeting your weaknesses and sticking to routines increases your speed. Ultimately, the best way to improve your timing is by doing timed UCAT practice questions.

Is medify harder than actual UCAT? ›

Far higher than what my Medify mocks had suggested. Now it may be that I was extremely lucky on test day, or the UCAT gods were on my side, but I'd suggest Medify mocks are slightly harder than the real UCAT.

How many UCAT questions should I do a day? ›

This gives applicants around 2 months to prepare for the first UCAT exams. We estimate that students complete an average of 40 questions a day along with learning UCAT techniques and understanding the different sections of the test.

What is a good UCAT score in 2022? ›

Therefore, a score of 2830 or over can be considered as a good UCAT score in 2022, and a score of 2980 or higher can be considered as very competitive. Each university uses the UCAT ANZ in different ways.

How do you guess UCAT? ›

Strategy 4: Answer every question

There is no negative marking in the UCAT. Therefore, to maximise your UCAT score, make sure you answer every single question even if you need to guess some of your answers. Eliminate the answers that you know to be wrong and then make your best guess from those that are left.

How do you get 900 in VR UCAT? ›

How I Scored 900 In UCAT Verbal Reasoning
  1. Tip 1: Learn to Speed Read. ...
  2. Tip 2: Read the Question! ...
  3. Tip 3: Search for Key Words. ...
  4. Tip 4: Make Inferences Carefully. ...
  5. Tip 5: Get in The Zone.

What is the average UCAT score? ›

What Is An Average UCAT Score? The average UCAT score changes each year – but is generally between 620 and 630. In 2021 the average UCAT score was 625, or a total of 2,499 in the UK. This is just below the 5th decile, or the 50th percentile.

What is a good VR score? ›

What Is A Good Score For Verbal Reasoning? A good verbal reasoning score would be above 580, according to the 2021 scores. A high VR score of 650+ would put you in the top 20% of test takers in the same year.

Can I use my own calculator in UCAT? ›

While you are not allowed to bring in your own calculator or any other electronic devices, the UCAT provides a basic on-screen calculator for the decision making and quantitative reasoning subtests. You can access this calculator by clicking the icon at the top left of the screen.

Are you allowed a piece of paper in UCAT? ›

No pen and paper for notes

are allowed.

Are you allowed scrap paper on the UCAT? ›

You will need to store all items that you have brought with you, including bags, coats, scrap paper, books, pens, watches, wallets, keys, mobile phones, food and drink. Note that nothing is allowed into the UCAT testing room aside from you and the indoor clothes you are wearing.

How can quantitative be improved? ›

5 Tips to Master Quantitative Aptitude Tests
  1. Start from the Basics. ...
  2. Focus on Rare Problems. ...
  3. Check Up on Your Speed. ...
  4. Focus on Your Weaker Links. ...
  5. Grasp the Numbers. ...
  6. Percentage Trick. ...
  7. Profit and Loss. ...
  8. Train Relative Speed.
10 May 2021

Is medify abstract reasoning harder? ›

This means medify over prepares you which may actually work against your favour since you will spend a lot of time trying to find complicated patterns. In general, it seems medify abstract reasoning questions are harder than what you may expect in the real thing.

What is the formula for quantitative reasoning? ›

Arithmetic Formulas for the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section
FormulaSymbolsComment
(xa)b=xa⋅ba, b, x = any real number
(x⋅y)a=xa⋅yaa, x, y = any real number
x1=xx = any real number
x0=1x = any real numberx≠0
9 more rows

Videos

1. Quantitative Reasoning Walkthrough: Do Questions with Me!
(ScotMed)
2. UCAT : Quantitative reasoning tips
(Medic Hero)
3. HOW TO ACE THE UCAT QUANTITATIVE REASONING SECTION | Tips + Worked Examples
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4. UCAT Quantitative Reasoning - Lesson #19 - Table Shortcuts [UCAT 2021]
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5. UCAT Quantitative Reasoning - Lesson #21 - Perimeters, Areas and Volumes [UCAT 2021]
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6. UCAT 10 Highest Impact Tips For Quantitative Reasoning
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