UCAT Decision Making Strategies

1. Understand the Format

The Decision Making subtest consists of scenarios presented in the form of text, tables, charts, or diagrams. Questions typically assess your ability to:

  • Interpret information accurately.
  • Apply logical reasoning to make decisions.
  • Identify patterns or trends.
  • Evaluate arguments or propositions.

Familiarize yourself with the types of questions and practice understanding how to extract key information quickly from different formats.

2. Practice Regularly

Regular practice is crucial for improving your skills. Use practice tests and questions specifically designed for the UCAT Decision Making subtest. Look for resources that offer a variety of scenarios, from simple logical deductions to more complex ethical dilemmas.

  • Types of Questions: Practice with questions that involve interpreting numerical data, making decisions based on logical arguments, and analyzing patterns or relationships.

3. Learn Key Techniques

Mastering certain techniques can significantly enhance your ability to approach Decision Making questions:

  • Venn Diagrams: Useful for analyzing relationships between groups or categories.
  • Decision Trees: Helpful for systematically weighing options and outcomes.
  • Probability Calculations: Basic understanding of probabilities can aid in making informed decisions.

Understanding when and how to apply these techniques can streamline your approach to different types of scenarios presented in the subtest.

4. Time Management

The Decision Making subtest is time-constrained, with about 32 questions to be answered in 31 minutes. Effective time management is essential:

  • Practice Under Time Pressure: Use timed practice tests to simulate exam conditions and improve your pacing.
  • Prioritize Questions: Start with questions you find easier or quicker to solve. Flag challenging ones to revisit if time allows.

5. Review Mistakes

After each practice session or mock exam, review your answers:

  • Identify Patterns: Are there specific types of questions you consistently struggle with?
  • Understand Errors: Analyze why you got certain questions wrong. Was it a misunderstanding of the scenario, misinterpretation of data, or a flawed logical step?

Learning from your mistakes is critical for improving your performance.

6. Stay Calm and Focused

During the exam, maintain a calm demeanor and stay focused:

  • Manage Stress: If you encounter a challenging question, move on and return to it later if time permits.
  • Read Carefully: Ensure you understand each scenario before attempting to answer.

7. Stay Updated

Keep abreast of any updates or changes to the UCAT test format or question styles. Utilize updated resources and practice materials to align your preparation with the current exam requirements.

By diligently following these strategies, you can effectively prepare for the UCAT Decision Making subtest and maximize your performance on exam day.


Decision Making is a critical skill for doctors, encompassing the ability to make informed and effective choices in various clinical and non-clinical situations. Here’s an overview of its importance and application in medical practice:

Importance of Decision Making in Medicine:

  1. Patient Care: Doctors must make decisions that directly impact patient health and well-being, such as diagnosing illnesses, prescribing treatments, and performing procedures.

  2. Complexity of Cases: Medical situations often involve complex factors, such as multiple symptoms, co-morbidities, and patient preferences, requiring doctors to weigh various options and choose the most suitable course of action.

  3. Uncertainty and Risk Management: Medicine involves dealing with uncertainty and risks. Decision Making helps doctors navigate these uncertainties by assessing risks, benefits, and probabilities associated with different treatment options.

  4. Emergency Situations: In emergencies, quick and accurate decision-making can be life-saving. Doctors must prioritize actions and treatments under time pressure.

  5. Ethical Considerations: Medical decisions often involve ethical dilemmas, such as respecting patient autonomy, justice in resource allocation, and beneficence (doing good).

How Decision Making is Applied in Medical Practice:

  1. Clinical Reasoning: Doctors use clinical reasoning to gather information from patient history, physical examinations, diagnostic tests, and consultations with colleagues to formulate diagnoses and treatment plans.

  2. Evidence-Based Medicine: Decision Making in medicine is increasingly guided by evidence-based practices, where doctors integrate the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values.

  3. Collaboration: Doctors often collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, consulting specialists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to make well-informed decisions.

  4. Continual Learning: Decision Making in medicine involves continual learning and adaptation to new medical knowledge, technologies, and patient outcomes.

Skills Required for Effective Decision Making in Medicine:

  1. Analytical Thinking: Doctors must analyze complex information, identify patterns, and make logical connections to arrive at accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.

  2. Communication: Effective communication skills are crucial for discussing treatment options with patients, explaining risks and benefits, and obtaining informed consent.

  3. Emotional Intelligence: Understanding patient emotions and responding empathetically enhances decision-making processes and patient satisfaction.

  4. Adaptability: Medicine requires adaptability to changing circumstances, unexpected outcomes, and evolving patient conditions.

In summary, Decision Making is essential for doctors to provide safe, effective, and patient-centered care. It involves a blend of clinical knowledge, critical thinking, ethical considerations, and effective communication to navigate the complexities of medical practice successfully.


  • Strategies for Success

    • Familiarize with Question Types: Understand the different formats of questions and practice each type regularly.
    • Develop Logical Thinking Skills: Practice solving puzzles and problems that require logical deduction and reasoning.
    • Work on Probabilities and Statistics: Brush up on basic concepts of probability and statistics, as these are commonly tested.
    • Use Diagrams and Visual Aids: Practice drawing and interpreting Venn diagrams, charts, and graphs.
    • Practice Time Management: Allocate time wisely to ensure all questions are attempted within the time limit.

Logical puzzles: You are required to take one or more steps of deductive inference from the information presented in order to arrive at a conclusion. There is only one correct response per question. Information may be given in form of text, tables or other graphic.

Syllogisms: In these items you will be required to evaluate whether each of a series of conclusions arises from a given set of premises. Some questions may have multiple correct responses option. You need to drag and drop the correct responses.

Interpreting Information: You will be presented with information in various formats (written passages, graphs, charts, etc.), and will be required to interpret this information in order to determine which conclusions follow. There may be multiple correct response options per item.

Recognising Assumption: Ask you to evaluate arguments for and against a particular solution to a problem. Required to evaluate the strength of argument and soundness of assumptions. Only one correct response per question: candidates must reach the strongest conclusion.

Venn Diagrams: Presented with a Venn diagram and asked to select the single best conclusion from a list of statements, basically a passage of information to interpret either in the form of a Venn diagram or by providing conclusion. May be provided with a set of statement and set of different Venn diagram as response option.

Probability Reasoning: You will be presented with a very short passage containing statistical information. You will be asked to select the best response to the question.

Yes No Statements: You will be asked to respond to five statements, by answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ next to each statement. These types of questions can also be in the form of any of the six question types mentioned above.

Decision Making

  • Shape equations, logic puzzles and Venn diagrams:
  • Have a systematic approach and follow clear logic
  • Eliminate the options facts by fact
  • Argument questions – 2 ways to make an argument weaker:
  • Making the argument subjective (based on emotions or opinions)
  • Chose argument based on evidence, statistics, facts or studies
  • Avoiding the question in an argument.
  • If there is a specific name or things mentions in the question, then focus on that while scanning through the information.
  • Layout all the information un an ideal format
  • Some = All = Most of =/ None
  • Not all = None = Zero =/ All

Doctor in White Scrubs and gloves doing an examination

Next Steps

n recent years at the University of Aberdeen there have been between five and seven multiple mini interviews (MMI) with each station being manned by a single interviewer or more if required for role play scenarios. These stations are five minutes long with two questions being asked in each MMI Station. A


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