Our UKCAT Verbal Reasoning tutorial will help you recognise the common traps that many candidates are snared by in the UKCAT Verbal Reasoning subtest, in order to help you get the highest possible score you can achieve. We provide common strategies to help you deal with the ambiguity of verbal reasoning and how to ensure that you don't mistake a "Can't tell" for a "False"! Always check the official UKCAT website for official information! Information is for 2013 entry. Always check information directly with official sources.

 There are a number of way to ensure that you are able to effectively maximise your UKCAT verbal reasoning score - whether you consider yourself good with words or not we will show you how to achieve the best score you can by explaining exactly what is being questioned.

What do the terms mean?

In the UKCAT Verbal Reasoning subtest you will be presented with around 200 to 400 words of text, and will then be presented with statements which you must decide are "False", "True" or "Cant tell". However, in order to do this effectively you will first of all need a very clear definition in your head of what each of these terms mean - the difference between a right answer and a wrong answer very often depends on this.

"True" means that based on what you have read in the text provided (and only what you have read in the text) this statement is correct.

"False" means that based on the information provided in the text, this statement is completely and unambiguously incorrect.

"Can't tell" means that from all the information in the text you were given, you cannot know for sure whether the statement is true or false.

 "Can't tell" is typically where the problem lies for most candidates. By the time you sit the UKCAT you will have spent your life avoiding telling people that you "don't know" or can't tell". Many of us would rather try to hide from a question we don't know the answer to, rather than throw our hands up and admit to not knowing. However, not only will this attitude reduce your chances of learning generally, it will destroy your hopes of a top UKCAT score. If you have problems saying "I can't tell" you need to deal with these problems now! You will not be afraid of can't tell from here on in. As you start your UKCAT verbal reasoning practice you will find that many of the statements you thought were "true" or "false" are actually "can't tell". This is due to two things : not reading what you think is there rather than what is actually there, and the ambiguity inherent in the question. 

Reading what is actually there

In everyday life we often skim read articles in the newspapers or on the internet, and any ambiguity we usually just add in a few words ourselves to avoid having to take too long to read something. This is a fine strategy for skimming the morning news before leaving the house when you are in a rush, because generally these types of information providers do not wish to confuse you and so state things in a logical and straightforward fashion. This is not the case with the UKCAT, where the text will be deliberately ambiguous and if you don't realise because you were reading too fast without concentrating - then you will misinterpret and likely answer the question incorrectly. The key here is to concentrate while reading the UKCAT text quickly -not one or the other. This is a skill which comes with practice.

Ambiguous words in the verbal reasoning subtest

There are certain words that tell us something, but then don't go very far to define anything in particular. For example, take the phrase "I may go on holiday". What can we infer from this? This statement hasn't told us the person is  going on holiday, but at this same time the statement doesn't tell us that they're not going on holiday either. It hasn't told us where or when or how or for how long. It has told us very little in fact. If you come across a statement like this in the UKCAT be extremely cautious. Nearly any question other than "Is this person possibly going on holiday" will lead to a "Can't tell" answer - but you will probably want to mark it "true" or "false" until you get used to saying "can't tell" (which comes with practice). There are lots of words just like "may" that can lead to sentences being extremely ambiguous with regards to their meaning. Some others include might, possibly, likely, nearly, most, least, commonly, probably, frequently, many, and few. There are others too, which you will come into contact with in the practice questions, and you would be wise to treat any sentence they appear in with caution and suspicion!


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