What is the UCAT?
The Universal Cognitive Aptitude Test (UCAT) by Criteria is a general aptitude test that measures your critical thinking, problem-solving skills, reasoning ability, and ability to learn.
The UCAT is the language-independent alternative to the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT). While many aspects of the two tests are the same, they are far from identical. The major difference is that the UCAT does not contain any verbal ability questions.
The test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and has a 20-minute time limit, which means you have an average of 30 seconds to answer each question.
A calculator is not allowed for the UCAT, but, of course, you can use pen and paper instead.
Here we will cover what you need to know about the UCAT.
What questions can I expect on the UCAT?
Criteria defines four question categories: logic & analysis, attention to detail, numerical reasoning, and spatial reasoning. To help you understand the types of questions on the test, we will break down these categories into eight sub-categories.
Logic & Analysis
The logic and analysis questions contain syllogisms and order arrangement questions. You will be required to use your problem-solving and reasoning skills by evaluating arguments, analyzing scenarios, and drawing logical conclusions.
Logic & Analysis (syllogism type) example question:
All crows are black. All black birds are loud. All crows are birds.
Statement: All crows are loud.
Explanation: Select your answer to display explanation.
Now, let’s look at the conclusion: “All crows are loud.” Since all crows are black (from the first statement), and all black birds are loud (from the second statement), it logically follows that all crows (being black birds) are loud.
Therefore, the statement “All crows are loud” is true.
Attention to Detail
These questions will assess your eye for detail, and to some degree, also your spatial reasoning ability.
In these questions, you are presented with two columns of figures, each column contains of four figures. The figures in the left and right column will be either identical or almost identical. You must determine how many (if any) of the figures on the left and right column are identical.
Numerical Reasoning
The UCAT’s numerical reasoning questions test your basic algebra skills, your ability to work through word problems, and your ability to read and understand graphs. The question types are:
Number series
In these test questions, you are presented with a series of numbers with one number missing; you need to find the missing number. Number series tests assess your logical thinking ability.
Tables & Graphs
Tables & Graphs questions will assess your ability to interpret simple graphs and tables, and work with the data they hold.
You are presented with a graph or table and have to answer one or more questions with the help of the graph/table. In some questions you will be able to read the answer directly on the graph/table, in other cases, you will need to do simple calculations to reach the correct answer.
Numerical word problems
Numerical word problems, also called math word problems, are mathematical questions presented in a written format. The questions will assess your mathematical ability and your logical reasoning skills.
Numerical Word Problems example question:
It takes two machines at a toy factory 50 minutes to create ten (10) teddy bears. How many teddy bears can one machine create in 30 minutes?
Explanation: Select your answer to display explanation.
First find how many teddy bears one machine can create in 50 minutes:
10/2 = 5 teddy bears
Now find how long it takes one machine to create 1 teddy bear:
50/5 = 10 minutes per teddy bear
At last find how many teddy bears the machine can create in 30 minutes:
30 / 10 = 3 teddy bears.
Spatial reasoning questions
The UCAT’s spatial reasoning questions will evaluate your spatial reasoning skills by having you rotate or flip images in your head, recognize patterns, and identify deviations. The question types are:
Image Series
Image series assesses your ability to identify and interpret patterns. You need to identify the rules and patterns in a series of objects to find a missing object.
Image Matrices
Image matrices assess your ability to identify and interpret patterns. You must find the rules and patterns in sets of objects to identify the missing object.
As you may notice from the description, these questions are somewhat similar to image series questions; only the format is slightly different.
Odd one out
Odd one out questions assesses your ability to see relationships and patterns between shapes.
You are shown five (5) shapes/items, and you are required to identify the rules and similarities between them to find the correct answer. You will be asked to find the item that does not belong with the rest: the odd one out.
Odd One Out example question:
Find the odd one out.
Explanation: Select your answer to display explanation.
The correct answer is option D. All other options contains an even number of squares.
We have included practice questions of every type in our Criteria Test Prep Package.
How to prepare for the UCAT
Preparing for the UCAT will help you perform better. There are several things you can do to prepare for the UCAT:
- Speed is important for scoring well on the UCAT. So, practice your mental calculation skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
- Brush up on your knowledge of basic mathematical rules and concepts, such as fractions, decimals, percentages, square roots, exponents, and basic algebra.
- Practice questions similar to those of the UCAT, this will familiarize you with the questions and help you feel more confident about the test.
- Set up a simulated UCAT test with the same question types and time limit. Practicing time management techniques is very important for performing well.
Tips for taking your UCAT
- Keep an eye on the time. You only have 20 minutes to answer as many questions as you can.
- You should not spend too much time on any one question. If you are not close to an answer after 60 seconds, take a guess and move on.
- If you do not know the answer to a question, or if you find yourself taking too much time on any one question, you should guess at the answer rather than leave it blank. There is no penalty for wrong answers.
- Use scratch paper and a pen or pencil to assist you; it will help you keep track of your calculations.
- Remember to read all answer options. Sometimes ruling out unreasonable answers can make it easier to identify the correct answer.
We can help you prepare for the UCAT. With our Criteria Test Prep package, you get more than 630 UCAT practice questions with explained solutions, four full-length simulated UCAT tests, extra study tools, and guidance throughout your training. Get access now.
Try our free UCAT practice test, we’ve included each of the question types explained above.
Free UCAT Practice Test
Try a free Universal Cognitive Aptitude test.
This free practice test contains 10 test questions with a 6-minute time limit.
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- Arithmetic Trainer
- Math Knowledge Study Tool
- Vocabulary Trainer
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