Abstract Reasoning

How To Prepare For UCAT Abstract Reasoning

In this section, we will cover what UCAT Abstract Reasoning entails, and how to effectively answer UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions.

What is UCAT Abstract Reasoning?

Abstract Reasoning is the fourth subtest in UCAT.

It assesses your non-verbal and visuo-spatial reasoning ability. You will be required to identify patterns, spot trends, engage in hypothesis testing and ignore distracting information in order to arrive at the right answer.


Why is Abstract Reasoning important in medicine?

Much of the work of a senior health professional involves pattern recognition. Furthermore, doctors will often need to generate and test hypotheses, extract relevant information and identify trends in their day to day work and in research.

What is the structure of UCAT Abstract Reasoning?


In UCAT Abstract Reasoning, you will have 50 questions to answer in just 12 minutes, which is an average of less than 15 seconds per question!

Most UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions are presented in units of 5 questions, based ontwo ‘sets’ of images. Some questions will be individual or ‘standalone’.

UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions can look unfamiliar and intimidating. You will be presented with several images, and you will need to identify (and sometimes extrapolate) patterns to arrive at the correct answer.

What are the types of UCAT Abstract Reasoning question?

There are four types of Abstract Reasoning question.


Each UCAT Abstract Reasoning question type will be discussed in turn.

‘Type 1’ questions (Set A / B / Neither)

This is the commonest type of question in UCAT Abstract Reasoning. You will be presented with two sets of shapes, one labelled ‘Set A’ and the other labelled ‘Set B’. You will provided with a series of five ‘test shapes’ sequentially, and will be asked to decide whether the test shape belongs to Set A, Set B or Neither Set A nor B.

Note that this is not a ‘matching’ exercise. You are not simply required to match the test shape to one of the boxes. You will first need to find a logical pattern that links all images in Set A, and a related (but different) pattern that links all images in Set B.

Example Question - Set A / B / Neither Click Here For Solutions

Abstract Reasoning AR1 Question 1




Does the following shape belong to Set A or Set B or Neither?

  1. Set A
  2. Set B
  3. Neither
‘Type 2’ questions (Complete the Series)

In these UCAT questions, you will be provided with a series of images. You will need to determine the likely pattern and select the image that would logically appear next in the series.

Example Question - Complete the Series Click Here For Solutions

Abstract Reasoning AR3




Which figure completes the series?

‘Type 3’ questions (Complete the Statement)

These UCAT questions are otherwise known as ‘this is to that’. In these questions, you will be given an image which has undergone a transformation to form another image. You will need to apply the same transformation to a third image to arrive at the answer.

Example Question - Complete the Statement Click Here For Solutions

Abstract Reasoning AR4




Which figure completes the statement?

‘Type 4’ questions (Set A or B)

These UCAT questions are similar in appearance to type 1 questions (Set A / B / Neither). You will be given a set of images labelled ‘Set A’ and a second set of images labelled ‘Set B’. You will then be given a series of four ‘test shapes’ simultaneously and will be asked to determine which of the four belongs to either Set A or Set B.

Example Question - Set A or B Click Here For Solutions

Abstract Reasoning AR2 Question 1




Which of the following shapes belongs in Set A?

  1. Set A
  2. Set B
  3. Neither

What strategies can I use to answer UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions?

It is useful to use a mnemonic that covers the key patterns that arise in UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions. Practicing UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions will familiarise you with common patterns and rules. There are a variety of effective UCAT strategies that can be used for each type of Abstract Reasoning question to arrive at the answer quickly and accurately. These will be covered in detail in the MedEntry UCAT Course.

How should I prepare for UCAT Abstract Reasoning?

Test your ability in UCAT Abstract Reasoning with MedEntry’s free Diagnostic Test. Then develop effective strategies to answer UCAT Abstract Reasoning questions by attending a UCAT Workshop and using MedEntry’s comprehensive guided curriculum. Practice the strategies by working on the UCAT practice exams, subtest mocks and drills on MedEntry’s UCAT online platform. Use MedEntry’s sophisticated feedback and personalised adaptive learning technology to target your weak areas in the lead up to UCAT test day.

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