UCAT
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What Is UCAT Decision Making?

Published on
May 12, 2024
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Decision Making is the second subtest of UCAT ANZ exam. It is designed to assess your ability to make logical conclusions, evaluate arguments and analyse statistics across various passages and question types. Decision Making consists of 29 questions that must be answered in 31 minutes (approximately 65 seconds per question). 

Why Is UCAT Decision Making Important?

The UCAT Decision Making subtest allows prospective medical students to demonstrate their ability to quickly evaluate and synthesise information. These personality traits are highly desirable to medical schools, wherein medical practitioners must synthesise and evaluate information quickly in order to provide the best possible outcomes for their patients. 

How Is UCAT Decision Making Marked?

The mark you receive for Decision Making is complex, in contrast to other subtests in the UCAT. Although you are marked based on the number of correct answers you give, questions with multiple answers can be awarded two marks if they are answered correctly.

Partial marks are also awarded for partially correct responses. Notably, some questions will have four answer options where there will only be one correct answer, and others will require you to respond to five statements by dragging-and-dropping a “Yes” or “No” answer next to each statement. It should be noted that all 29 questions in Decision Making are standalone and do not share data.

Your raw score at the end of the section will be converted to a scale-score, ranging between 300 and 900, where in 2020 the mean score for Decision Making was 635. 

UCAT Question Types In Decision Making

UCAT Logic Puzzles

Decision Making Logic Puzzles are designed to assess your ability to interpret abstract information, and use this information to deduce or infer a logical conclusion. This question type has four possible responses, of which only one will be correct. 

UCAT Syllogisms

Syllogisms in Decision Making are designed to test your ability to read a short passage and use deductive reasoning to draw logical conclusions from this passage. This question type is usually given in a drag-and-drop “Yes” or “No” format, but can also be multiple choice.

Interpreting Information For UCAT

The Interpreting Information question type in Decision Making requires you to interpret various texts, graphs and charts for the purpose of drawing logical conclusions from a given passage. Interpreting Information is delivered in a drag-and-drop “Yes” or “No” format. 

Recognising Assumptions In The UCAT

Recognising Assumptions in Decision making requires you to evaluate arguments for and against a given proposition in order to determine “weakness” or “strongness” in relation to the proposition. It is delivered in multiple choice format with four possible responses, of which only one will be correct.

UCAT Venn Diagrams

Venn Diagrams in Decision Making require you to evaluate information and draw conclusions using a Venn Diagram, or to generate a Venn Diagram based on limited information provided by the text. Similar to Recognising Assumptions, it is delivered in multiple choice format with four possible responses, of which only one will be correct.

Probabilistic UCAT Reasoning

Probabilistic Reasoning in Decision Making is designed to assess your ability to interpret and apply statistical theory to various events. It should be noted that probability-related questions, or statistics broadly, in the UCAT require a Grade 10 level of statistical knowledge - such as knowing the difference between an independent and dependent event. 

Probabilistic Reasoning Vocabulary

Probability-related questions are often dependent on the vocabulary being used to describe the event or scenario in the question. The UCAT consortium has provided definitions to common probability-related words used in the Decision Making subtest, which can be found below:

All An unspecified number referring to the whole of it/everything.
Always On all occasions, without fail.
Either Exclusively A or B, not both.
Few A small number of, less than 50%.
Majority A number that is more than 50% of the whole but not all.
Many An undetermined number similar to 'some'. A part of it, not all of it.
Most An undetermined but majority number/largest part.
None Not even a small amount/not even one.
Nothing Not a single thing. Of no value.
Not all 1-99%
Only
Introduces something which must happen before something else in the sentence. Indicates there is nothing else.
Unless
Introduces the only circumstance which makes the statement not true or valid.

How Do I Improve My Score In UCAT Decision Making?

Decision Making has a variety of questions designed to assess your ability to make logical conclusions, evaluate arguments and even analyse statistics across six question types. Due to this variability, many students struggle to improve their UCAT Decision Making score; however this does not mean that it is not possible, rather, students must recognise this variability and address this in a way that will maximise their UCAT Decision Making score.

Firstly, it’s important to understand where you are currently placed in Decision Making. At Frasers, we recommend that students sit a diagnostic exam prior to any study in order to gain a broad understanding of their score range. From this, we can then understand whether you are sitting in the lower (0 - 40%), middle (40 - 60%) or upper (60 - 100%) percentiles.

After sitting a diagnostic exam, it is recommended that students review strategies for question types they found challenging, as well as continuing to reinforce and strengthen question types that were easier in contrast. The UCAT Consortium also provides a few strategies available for different question types to help guide your improvement. 

Many students who have scored well in Decision Making highly recommend utilising the whiteboard both during practice and their UCAT exam. Using the whiteboard can be beneficial in helping you to visualise your thinking, particularly for Logical Puzzles, Syllogisms and Venn Diagram question types. 

UCAT Decision Making Tips

Familiarisation

Familiarize yourself with the six different question types, as each question type has a different strategy. 

Mental Mathematics

Avoid using the on-screen calculator, as tempting as it may be, everything can be solved mentally. Remember to also brush up on your mental maths - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are common in Decision Making.

Focus On Your Strengths

Before going into the exam, understand your strengths and weaknesses well. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses in Decision Making, you will be able to structure your time well by focussing on answering your strengths first - answering them quickly and accurately.

After this, you can then spend more time on your weaknesses, allowing you more time to think and reason through difficult questions.