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What is UCAT Quantitative Reasoning?

Published on
June 28, 2024

Quantitative Reasoning is the third subtest of the UCAT. It assesses your ability to solve numeracy-based problems and requires familiarity with mathematics up to a Grade 10 high school level. Quantitative Reasoning consists of 36 questions, associated with tables, charts and/or graphs that must be answered in 25 minutes (approximately 40 seconds per question). 

Why Is UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Important?

The UCAT Quantitative Reasoning subtest allows prospective medical students to demonstrate their ability to quickly and accurately solve numeracy-based problems. Demonstrating good numerical reasoning is a highly desirable skill in any science-based career, though in medicine it is incredibly important in prescription drug calculations where medical professionals must factor their patient’s weight, height and age in order to maximise drug efficacy.

In clinical research, being able to interpret, critique and apply statistical data is becoming increasingly important in the practice of Evidence-Based Medicine and holistic healthcare

How Is UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Marked?

Quantitative Reasoning marking is relatively straightforward, where you are marked based upon the correct number of responses you give. The lowest score that can be received in Quantitative Reasoning is 300, and the highest score is 900. 

It is worth noting that most questions in Quantitative Reasoning will be presented as sets of five multiple choice questions, where each of the four questions will be connected to the same set of data. Some questions are standalone, and do not share data. All questions will have five multiple choice answer options - where you must decide which is the most accurate response. 

In 2020, the mean score for Quantitative Reasoning was 671 - the highest average score out of all UCAT subtests

Question Types In UCAT Quantitative Reasoning

Simple Numeracy for UCAT

Simple numeracy-based questions assess your ability to apply simple numerical functions, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, onto a related data set. 

Algebra for UCAT

Algebraic-style questions assess your ability to manipulate equations in order to solve for unknown values. This question type may require you to generate an equation based off of written information in a passage. 

Geometry for UCAT

Geometry-style questions require you to be familiar with a handful of prerequisite formulas, such as finding the area or perimeter of a given shape. Geometry-related questions will require you to estimate answers, provide proportions or ratios, or accurately determine the answer across five multiple choice answer options.

Statistics for UCAT

Statistics in Quantitative Reasoning include mean, mode and median as well as extending to the application of fundamental probability laws which can be presented in the form of text, charts, tables or diagrams. 

How Do I Improve My Score In UCAT Quantitative Reasoning?

Quantitative Reasoning is amongst the easier UCAT subtests, where Quantitative Reasoning has the highest mean score. Fortunately, leverage can be gained through familiarity with equations and mathematical laws in Quantitative Reasoning. 

As such, it is much easier to leverage familiarity with equations and mathematical laws to score highly in this section. With plenty of time and practice, Quantitative Reasoning can be quite easy to score well in. 

Before beginning your UCAT study, it’s important to understand where you are currently placed in Quantitative Reasoning. At Fraser's, 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. You can check out our free UCAT practice exam here to approximate your percentile score in Quantitative Reasoning, or you can use one of the UCAT Consortium free practice exams and convert your raw UCAT score to a percentile score here.

After sitting a diagnostic exam, it is recommended that students revise algebra, geometry and probability-based mathematical theorems, equivalent to a Grade 10 level. 

Students who have previously scored well in Quantitative Reasoning recommend avoiding the on-screen calculator, and emphasise being able to mentally calculate the answer especially when the possible answer options are spread widely apart. 

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips

Understanding UCAT Mathematical Theory

As Quantitative Reasoning assumes understanding of mathematical theory at a Grade 10 level, it would be a good idea to revise your understanding of algebraic manipulation, geometry (area and perimeter calculations for various shapes) and probability. 

UCAT Mental Mathematics

Try to avoid using the on-screen calculator as most questions can be answered quickly through approximation, particularly in circumstances where the five answer options are spread widely apart. When the answer options appear closer together, this is when you should pay closer attention to your numerical values and equations. 

Focus on What You Know

All the information required to answer the question will be provided in the question - though some information may be more obvious than others. Focus on the question and what you are attempting to solve, rather than taking an “absolute comprehension” approach.