Verbal Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning

How To Prepare For UCAT Verbal Reasoning

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

What is UCAT Verbal Reasoning?

The Verbal Reasoning subtest is the first section in UCAT. It assesses your ability to quickly read a passage, locate relevant information and critically evaluate it, and make logical conclusions.

Why is Verbal Reasoning important in medicine?

Verbal Reasoning is an important skill in medicine. Doctors need to interpret information from textbooks, journals, referral letters and other sources quickly, and communicate information clearly to other health professionals and patients. They also need to critically appraise research findings in order to provide patients with the best possible care.

What is the structure of UCAT Verbal Reasoning?

The UCAT Verbal Reasoning subtest is composed of 11 passages of text (ranging from 200 to 400 words), each with 4 associated questions, giving a total of 44 questions.

You have 21 minutes to complete these UCAT questions, which is under 2 minutes per unit, and under 30 seconds per question! It is generally the most time pressured UCAT subtest, and every year one fifth of candidates fail to answer every question (that is, they run out of time to even make a random guess!).

What are the main types of UCAT Verbal Reasoning questions?

There are two main types of UCAT Verbal Reasoning questions.

‘True, False, Can’t Tell’ questions

In these UCAT questions you will be presented with a passage associated with four statements. For each statement, you must decide if, based on the information in the text, the statement is:

  • True
  • False
  • Can’t tell (that is, you cannot tell from the passage whether the statement is true or false)
Example Question - True, False, Can’t Tell

Verbal Reasoning Question 8

Passage

There are several species of citrus trees whose fruits are called limes, including the Key lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), Persian lime (Citrus latifolia), kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix), and desert lime (Citrus glauca). Persian limes are more phototoxic than Key limes. The difficulty in identifying exactly which species of fruit are called lime in different parts of the English-speaking world is increased by the botanical complexity of the citrus genus itself, to which the majority of limes belong. Species of this genus readily interbreed, and it is only recently that genetic studies have started to throw light on the structure of the genus. The majority of cultivated lime species are in reality bred from two different “parent” species through hybridisation, produced from the citron (Citrus medica), the mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), the pomelo (Citrus maxima) and in particular with many lime varieties, the micrantha (Citrus micrantha).

Although the precise origin is uncertain, wild limes are believed to have first grown in Indonesia or Southeast Asia, and then were transported to the Mediterranean region and North Africa around 1000 CE. To prevent scurvy during the 19th century, British sailors were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon, and later switched to lime. The use of citrus was initially a closely guarded military secret, as scurvy was a common scourge of various national navies, and the ability to remain at sea for lengthy periods without contracting the disorder was a huge benefit for the British military. British sailors thus acquired the nickname "Limey" because of their use of limes.

Raw limes are 88% water, 10% carbohydrates and less than 1% each of fat and protein. Only vitamin C content at 35% of the Daily Value (DV) per 100 g serving is significant for nutrition, with other nutrients present in low DV amounts. Lime juice contains about 47 g/L of citric acid, slightly less than the citric acid of lemon juice, nearly twice the citric acid of grapefruit juice, and about five times the amount of citric acid found in orange juice. Phototoxicity in lime species is due to higher concentrations of furanocoumarins, and lime peel contains higher concentrations of furanocoumarins than lime pulp (by one or two orders of magnitude).

Question

Citrus latifolia contains higher concentrations of furanocoumarins than Citrus aurantiifolia.

(A) True
(B) False
(C) Can’t Tell

Reading Comprehension questions

In these UCAT questions, you will be provided with an incomplete statement or question, and will be required to choose one of four options that can best be concluded based on the passage. You will need to use critical thinking and logical reasoning skills to arrive at the correct answer.

Example Question - Reading Comprehension

Verbal Reasoning Question 2

Passage

The Mechanical Turk was a fake chess-playing machine, constructed and unveiled in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen to impress the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The Turk appeared to be able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent, as well as perform the knight's tour, a puzzle that requires the player to move a knight to occupy every square of a chessboard exactly once. Until its destruction by fire, it was exhibited by various owners as an automaton, though it was eventually revealed to be an elaborate hoax.

Following word of its debut, interest in the machine grew across Europe. Kempelen, however, was more interested in his other projects and avoided exhibiting the Turk, often lying about the machine's repair status to prospective challengers. In the decade following its debut at Schönbrunn Palace, the Turk only played one opponent, Sir Robert Murray Keith, a Scottish noble, and Kempelen went as far as dismantling the Turk entirely following the match. Kempelen was quoted as referring to the invention as a "mere bagatelle", as he was not pleased with its popularity and would rather continue work on steam engines and machines that replicated human speech.

In 1781, Kempelen was ordered by Emperor Joseph II to reconstruct the Turk and deliver it to Vienna for a state visit from Grand Duke Paul of Russia and his wife. The appearance was so successful that Grand Duke Paul suggested a tour of Europe for the Turk, a request to which Kempelen reluctantly agreed. The Turk began its European tour in 1783, beginning with an appearance in France in April. Upon arrival in Paris in May 1783, it was displayed to the public and played a variety of opponents, including a lawyer named Mr. Bernard who was a second rank in chess ability. Following the sessions at Versailles, demands increased for a match with François-André Danican Philidor, who was considered the best chess player of his time. Moving to the Café de la Régence, the machine played many of the most skilled players, often losing, until securing a match with Philidor at the Académie des Sciences. While Philidor won his match with the Turk, Philidor's son noted that his father called it "his most fatiguing game of chess ever!" The Turk's final game in Paris was against Benjamin Franklin, who was serving as ambassador to France from the United States.

Question

Which of the following statements cannot be inferred from the passage?

(A) The Turk began its tour of Europe in April of 1783.
(B) During its European tour, the Turk won almost all of its matches.
(C) Philidor found his match with the Turk challenging.
(D) The Turk’s visit to Vienna preceded its appearance in Paris.

What strategies can I use to answer UCAT Verbal Reasoning questions?

There are many UCAT strategies for answering Verbal Reasoning questions quickly and accurately. These include speed reading, keyword searching, understanding logical fallacies, applying a critical thinking framework, not using your own knowledge/biases and many other techniques that are explained in detail in the MedEntry UCAT Course.

How should I prepare for UCAT Verbal Reasoning?

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