Quantitative Reasoning determines your competence in using numerical skills to solve problems. It is generally accepted that the use of numbers needed isn’t much more than GCSE level, but it is more geared towards how you use numbers to solve particular problems as opposed to simple maths. The Quantitative Reasoning part of the UKCAT lasts 23 minutes – 1 minute for instructions telling you how to do the test – and 22 minutes to answer the 36 questions. Questions often have tables, charts and graphs and you may need to very quickly working out what information you are being presented with and what is important for the particular question you are answering.

The reason this is included in the test is that Doctors (and Medical Students) have to review data very regularly – think of patient drug charts, dosage calculations and test data. Indeed many Doctors (and medical students) carry out research and a good grasp of data interpretation through Quantitative Reasoning is very important

In a quantitative reasoning question you could be given a number of stems which relate to a chart, table or graph and you are then given five answers. You then have to select the answers that fit the questions.

Calculators can be used – but it does waste time so don’t be using it for simple calculations and don’t fall into the trap of obsessively over-checking your work. Do it well, and move on. Everyone I have ever spoken to has started to shiver and some have even cried. And then they usually complain about how little time they had –some didn’t get to finish all the questions. It’s not a case of haste makes waste. You must do both. Work well, work efficiently and work. And if possible try some example questions with a calculator – this usually makes a big difference.

Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine