First introduced in 2016, to replace the Decision Analysis subtest, the UCAT Decision Making subtest assesses your ability to analyse information and apply logic to make decisions. This can be a tricky section of the UCAT with some questions which can easily trip candidates up; however, with adequate preparation, you can ensure that you’re familiar with the questions and able to perform well during the exam.
This guide will provide you with more information about the Decision Making subtest, including how to prepare, tips to do well and where to access free quality UCAT practice questions.
With questions related to information presented in text, charts, tables, graphs and diagrams, the UCAT Decision Making subtest assesses your ability to evaluate arguments, analyse statistical information and apply logic to make decisions or form conclusions.
The ability to make decisions is an important skill for doctors. Often they are tasked with doing so in complex situations, in which they’re required to assess and manage risk, deal with uncertainty and apply high-level problem solving skills.
Being able to reason, evaluate arguments for and against, and to use logic are key skills for problem solving.
The format of the UCAT Decision Making section is as follows:
You’ll have 31 minutes (plus a 1 minute instruction section) to answer the 29 questions, giving you approximately 1 minute per question.
There are six types of questions within the UCAT Decision Making subtest, they are:
You can find strategies for each of the question types in the relevant section below.
As mentioned above, there are two answer types within the UCAT Decision Making subtest:
The strategies section below gives more information on how to approach each of these question types.
Within the Decision Making subtest, scoring depends on the type of question. For the multiple choice questions, which have one correct answer, there is one mark available for each. For the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, which have five statements to respond to, there are two available marks; two marks will be awarded for all correct responses to the statements and one mark for partially correct responses.
The raw mark that you achieve in the Decision Making subtest is converted into a ‘scale score’ between 300 – 900. The other cognitive subtests – Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning – are all scored in the same way, whereas the Situational Judgement Test is scored using a band system.
Although it was introduced in 2016, the UCAT Decision Making subtest was unscored in the first year. Therefore, the following ‘mean scores’ provided on the UCAT website are from 2017 – 2020:
*Note, scores from 2020 are for tests taken up to 25 October 2020.
For more information about how the UCAT is scored, including the scaled scoring, visit the UCAT Practice Test blog.
For all of the ‘cognitive subtests’ in the UCAT, it’s generally advised that a ‘good’ score is approximately 20 – 30 marks above the average score for that subtest. For example, for 2020, a ‘good’ UCAT score for the Decision Making subtest would be 645 – 655.
Remember, the average score will vary each year, depending on how that year’s candidates perform, and therefore, so will what’s considered a ‘good’ UCAT score.
As mentioned previously, some of the questions in the Decision Making subtest can be tricky if you’re unsure of them; therefore, it’s vital that you’re familiar with the types of questions you’ll receive and how to answer them. Focusing on practice questions and practice tests during your UCAT preparations will support you to understand what the subtest involves and how to approach it.
To ensure that you’re fully prepared for the exam, you should practice all six types of questions that you'll encounter. In addition to this, to gain more from your preparations, you should aim to identify the types of questions which you find more challenging and dedicate additional time to those. Our adaptive question bank can help you with this, by automatically identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and ensuring that you spend time developing the areas which are likely to have the biggest impact on your UCAT Decision Making score.
As well as practice questions and tests, brushing up on your maths skills will help you with the Decision Making section. The UCAT website suggests that you specifically focus on revising probability and Venn diagrams, which are needed for the probabilistic reasoning and Venn diagrams questions.
The UCAT Question Tutorial provides the following strategies for answering questions in the UCAT Decision Making subtest:
For logical puzzles and syllogisms in particular, which refer to the type of language being used, the UCAT website provides ‘Decision Making definitions’ which clarifies the key language used in the subtests.
The following tips will support you to perform well during the UCAT Decision Making subtest:
Completing practice questions and practice tests is the most effective way of preparing for the UCAT. They allow you to become familiar with the types of questions you’ll be asked and how to answer them, which will increase your pace and help you to approach the questions more confidently.
Our UCAT Practice Test blog is a great place to start, as it offers free practice questions, for all areas of the UCAT including the Decision Making subtest. It also provides general information about the UCAT which you may find useful. In addition to this, our adaptive question bank offers artificial intelligence powered practice questions and practice tests, which automatically adapt to your strengths and weaknesses, to provide a personalised learning experience. This method of learning means that you’ll be guided to spend more revising the areas which are likely to have the biggest impact on your UCAT score and therefore make effective use of your UCAT preparation time.
Our algorithms will work out your strengths and weaknesses.
Adaptive learning can improve learning outcomes by up to 50%! Give yourself the edge with our adaptive UCAT question bank.
We’ll make sure you only spend time on areas likely to have the biggest impact on your exam score.