Decision Making

How To Prepare For UCAT Decision Making

In this section, we will cover what UCAT Decision Making entails, and how to effectively answer UCAT Decision Making questions.

What is UCAT Decision Making?

UCAT Decision Making is the second subtest of the UCAT. It assesses your ability to solve problems, draw logical conclusions and evaluate arguments.

Why is Decision Making important in medicine?

Decision making is central to the role of a health professional. Doctors need to be able to solve problems, manage risk and deal with uncertainty. Furthermore, health professionals are often required to make decisions quickly, in complex or stressful situations.

What is the structure of UCAT Decision Making?

The UCAT Decision Making subtest is composed of 29 questions. Each question is ‘individual’ – that is, each is associated with text and/or a diagram, followed by an independent question. You may be required to interpret text, tables, charts, graphs or other diagrams, and your task is to select the best answer.

You will have 31 minutes to answer the questions, which is just over one minute per UCAT question.

What are the types of UCAT Decision Making question?

UCAT Decision Making is the most diverse of the UCAT subtests, with a mixture of question types. There are six major types of question, presented in two formats.

Most UCAT Decision Making questions are presented in standard multiple choice ‘best out of four options’ format. However, syllogisms and interpreting information UCAT questions are presented differently. In this type of UCAT question, you will be provided with a series of five conclusions, and you will need to decide whether the conclusion does or does not follow. You will be required to ‘drag and drop’ a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response next to each statement.

‘Drag and Drop’ UCAT Decision Making questions are marked differently. Marks range from 0 to 2, with partially correct responses being awarded 1 mark.

Each type of question will be discussed below.

Logical puzzles

These UCAT questions present you with a puzzle or game that you need to solve in order to arrive at the answer. You are usually presented with text, with or without an accompanying diagram.

Example Question - Logical Puzzles

Stimulus

A transportation company is building rail lines to connect five different cities—B, C, D, E, and F—according to the following conditions:

  • Each rail line will directly connect two cities with each other, and no two rail lines will intersect.
  • No more than one rail line will directly connect any two cities.
  • No city will have more than three rail lines directly connecting it with other cities.
  • B, C, and D will each directly be connected by a rail line with one or both of E and F.
  • B will be directly connected by a rail line with exactly two other cities.
  • C will be directly connected by a rail line with exactly one other city.
  • A rail line directly connects B and F, and a rail line directly connects E and F.

Question

Which one of the following is a complete and accurate list of the cities which could be directly connected by a rail line with D?

(A)  B, C
(B)  B, F
(C)  B, E, F
(D)  B, C, E, F

Syllogisms

This type of UCAT question requires you to use deductive reasoning to assess a series of conclusions. You will need to decide whether each conclusion does or does not follow from the information provided. You will need to ‘drag and drop’ your answer accordingly.

Example Question - Syllogisms

At a conference for anaesthetists in Sydney last year, none were men who had subspecialised in chronic pain management.

Select the strongest argument from the statements below.

Place “Yes” if the conclusion does follow. Place “No” if the conclusion does not follow

Decision Making Syllogisms

Interpreting Information

In these UCAT questions, you may be provided with text, charts and/or graphs. Your task is to interpret the information and decide whether each conclusion does or does not follow from the information provided. You will need to ‘drag and drop’ your answer accordingly.

Recognising Assumptions

These questions are perhaps the strangest in UCAT and can be very unfamiliar unless you have acquired and practiced effective UCAT strategies to answer them. You will be required to analyse a statement and four associated arguments. You will need to choose the strongest argument from among the available options.

Example Question - Recognising Assumptions

Should the Australian government be able to monitor and read all telephone conversations?

Select the strongest argument from the statements below.

A) Yes, it is important for police to be able to prevent terrorism
B) Yes, so that the government can help plan for infrastructure
C) No, because it would be technically very difficult to do this
D) No, because it is a serious infringement of civil liberties

Venn diagrams

These UCAT questions require an understanding of Venn diagrams. You may be presented with a Venn diagram, a series of statements requiring you to draw a Venn diagram, or several Venn diagrams that represent information. You will need to choose the correct answer from among the available options.

The diagrams presented in UCAT can look unusual due to a variety of shapes that are used. It is important to have a strong understanding of how Venn diagrams work to answer these UCAT questions.

Probabilistic reasoning

In these UCAT questions, you will be provided with a passage of text containing statistical information. You will need to use your understanding of probability principles to select the best answer.

Example Question - Probabilistic Reasoning

Joe has five 50 cent and three 5 cent pieces. If he picks two of these coins at random, what is the probability that both will be 50 cent pieces?

(A) 1/4
(B) 5/14
(C) 25/64
(D) 5/8

What strategies can I use to answer UCAT Decision Making questions?

This is the subtest where your UCAT Noteboard and pen will be most helpful to you. It will help to note down important information or key calculations, and draw tables or diagrams. You must have a strong understanding of Venn diagrams, probability and logical reasoning to succeed in this UCAT subtest. There are a variety of UCAT techniques which can be used to answer each specific question type quickly and accurately, which are discussed in detail in MedEntry UCAT Courses.

How should I prepare for UCAT Decision Making?

You can begin by assessing your ability in UCAT Decision Making with MedEntry’s free Diagnostic Test. You should develop effective strategies to answer UCAT Decision Making Questions by attending a UCAT Workshop and using MedEntry’s comprehensive guided curriculum. Practice the strategies by working on the UCAT practice exams, subtest mocks and drills on MedEntry’s UCAT online platform. Use MedEntry’s sophisticated feedback and personalised adaptive learning technology to target your weak areas within the UCAT Decision Making subtest.