Our UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tutorial aims to give you the techniques which will help you get the best score possible in this subtest of the UKCAT. Quantitative Reasoning can be a difficult section due to a number of factors, so we hope to provide you with help on how to overcome these and succeed in the Quantitative reasoning subsection. Always check the official UKCAT website for official information! Information provided may not be current or up-to-date, and all information should checked against official information and official sources. Information is for 2013 entry. Always check information directly with official sources

There may be a number of ways you can help maximise your Quantitative reasoning score, which will obviously have a positive impact on your average UKCAT score

Time management

For every section of the UKCAT you will only have a certain amount of time to complete all the questions. However, for Quantitative reasoning this becomes a real issue. You will have 22 minutes to answer 36 questions, which works out as just less than 37 seconds per question! This is not very long, especially when you consider that you may have tables, graphs and figures (or a mixture of all three) to analyse and extract data from before you can even answer the question. One thing that helps with becoming quicker at answering these types of questions is practice - the more you can do the better, the more questions you practice on the better - and the more mistakes you make while practicing the quantitative reasoning practice questions the fewer mistakes you are likely to make in the actual UKCAT. 

Don't over-complicate things

You are aware you have less than 37 seconds to answer each quantitative reasoning question in the UKCAT and yet the first one you come across has four graphs and a pie chart to look at - what do you do? These tests are designed to test your ability to dissect and retrieve only the most important parts of information. There is no doubt that seeing lots of graphs and charts can make it hard to see exactly what information is needed - so skip them and go right to the question. Read the question thoroughly and then go back to the data. Use your knowledge of the question type to analyse the data on front of you - if the data isn't relevant then ignore it. You don't have time to over-complicate the issue. 


Obvious to some, units are often overlooked by many UKCAT candidates who are left wondering why the answer they calculated isn't one of the options available for answering the question. Pay attention to units and practice working with the more common ones - you should be fluent in going from grams to thousands, seconds to minutes, metres to centimetres and vice-versa. Changing the units to values within a question, or being deliberately ambiguous with the units is one of the easiest ways an examiner has to try and determine whether you were really paying attention as you read the question, looked at the graphs etc. Do not be fooled - keep in mind the units used in the question and check they are still the units available in the answer and even if they are the units that the data is displayed in - and if not be ready to convert. It helps to be extremely proficient with 24 hour and 12 hour time formats.

The calculator

First of all, learn how to use it by checking the information on the official UKCAT website. Then work out how to do without it (most of the time). The type you will be provided with in the UKCAT (you can't bring your own) carries out only simple functions - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There are time when a calculator is important and even necessary - if you practice hard enough this will only be the odd occasion. It is a lack of practice, and therefore confidence, which makes candidates reach for the calculator - and lose valuable seconds in the meantime. You are probably smart enough to do all the maths already - it is the time constraint and the pressure which you are most likely not used to. Don't lose confidence in your abilities - only use a calculator when you really need to.


Even though you have practiced hard it might just not be your day - but don't lose hope! The UKCAT is not negatively marked so you will not be penalised for guessing. However, with only a 1 in 5 chance of getting it right the odds are against you - so learn how to stack the odds in your favour. There are certain answers which you will be able to rule out immediately - if they are obviously too high or too low for what the question is asking, if they are in the wrong units, if the questions tells you to give the answer to the nearest 1 decimal place and yet this answer is given to 2 decimal places - so do not waste time on them. Practice will ensure you get a feel for what you can get away with when it comes to guess work. If you completely run out of time and can't even do this then at least have a quick guess - you never know- that guess might be right and might mean the difference between getting into medical school and being rejected! 

Information provided may not be current or up-to-date, and all information should checked against official information and official sources.

Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine