Decision Making (DM) is the 2nd section of the UCAT and will follow the Verbal Reasoning section on the real exam. It will be comprised of 29 questions and you’ll have 31 minutes to solve them.
Decision Making tests your ability to analyse data, draw logical inferences or evaluate conclusions through a mix of question types. These will include logical puzzles, data-analysis, venn diagrams, calculations of probability, yes/no questions and recognising assumptions.
Most students agree that DM isn’t as time-pressured as other sections of the UCAT. Here, you should aim for doing the questions well and go for quality, rather than quantity. Why? Some questions of the Decision Making section (like the ‘Yes/No’ questions) will require you to get all subquestions right to get full marks for the question.
🥶 Identify your weaknesses
Decision making is comprised of a few different types of questions, some of which you can figure out faster and some of which you’ll find personally more challenging.
Identify the latter and try to focus on these during UCAT prep. You can keep track of questions you got wrong, to get a broader picture and realise where to improve:
Right before your exam, you will probably still find some question types more challenging than the others. To make the most out of the time you have, you can leave those until the end of the exam by using the guess, flag and skip method.
👀 Read questions with particular attention
During the decision making section, a single word can make a huge difference in how you answer the question.
When reading the question and the answers give particular attention to words like MUST, NOT, DOESN’T, BOTH and the like. To ensure that you don’t miss them, repeat them a few times in your head while reading the question (”Both Anna and James will Join the science club... ok BOTH Anna and James, BOTH Anna and James...”).
⏱️ Watch the timer
It’s all too easy to get caught up on a complicated DM question and spend a significant amount of time-solving the puzzle (let’s be honest - some of the questions are actually absorbing and fun!). During your UCAT prep, you should get into the habit of checking the timer regularly, every 15 seconds or so.
If you notice that you are spending more than 1.5min on a question, you should move on (guess, flag and leave until the end). The UCAT is an extremely time-pressured exam, so remember to be ruthless about the timing and skipping questions.
📝 Use the whiteboard
The whiteboard you are provided with on the UCAT is your best friend. The amount of information you should remember to solve the puzzle can often surpass the capacity of our short term memory.
Write things down. Come up with shortcuts to save time (use arrows, first letters instead of full names etc.). However, don’t rush it on the other hand - make sure your notes are organised and readable.
Have a look at tips for other sections of the UCAT too: