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  1. #1
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    Abstract Reasoning today (plus test tips)

    Yes this is another thread about AR and the marking and for that I apologise, but this is my first post so you all have to humour me .

    Last year I sat the UKCAT. I got 680 VR, 640 NR, 600 DA and 580 AR. I'm not one of those blessed with the knack for AR so I just went with what 'felt' right for each answer and to be honest I was quite pleased with my score in that section.

    Today I sat UKCAT again, was really pleased with 3 areas - 700 VR, 680 QR and 680 DA.

    In the AR section this year I scored a miserable 470, despite using EXACTLY the same approach for identifying the likely correct answers as last time round.

    I'm no statistician but surely with a subset of over 60 multiple choice questions there should be enough scope for someone using the same technique two years running to post two very similar scores. It appears to me that this section of the exam is a random and arcane lottery. After all this exam is supposed to be one you cannot revise for, one that is supposed to test one's innate abilities in a particular area. If it is possible to achieve such different scores in the space of a year (unless my brain has got worse at recognising shapes and patterns) then surely is the test not flawed?

    The same is true of the other sections although I would argue that my improvement in general has been relatively slight on the whole and it is possible that I could have adapted my approaches to these, whereas I know I haven't adapted my approach to the AR as I never had any other than a 'best guess' method.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rant over, for anyone yet to take the test some tips for what they're worth:

    - I am a pretty hopeless mathematician and am really pleased with 680 for QR. I answered only 1/3 of the questions and guessed the rest, completely skipping the ones which looked too complex and focusing on ones such as pie charts etc with the minimum amount of information on the screen to have to process.

    - Write down the literal (English) translations for the Decision Analysis before you attempt to solve them, it makes it so much easier and it is something I didn't do last year.

    - Ask to be put in a single room! I wasn’t last year and the sounds of 9 other mice clicking away at their driving theory test hazard perceptions etc was really off-putting. This year I asked on the off-chance and they were more than happy to oblige. I even got the feeling that the staff (at least in the Oxford Pearson Vue centre) seem to want to oblige UKCAT candidates more than anyone else! Maybe we're a bit of a novelty.

    Hope some or all of this helps and I'd be interested to find out what you think about the abstract reasoning.
    Last edited by d2024p; 21-09-2009 at 06:07 PM.



  2. #2
    Member magpie7's Avatar
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    So to sum that all up...

    You got a fairly low score in Year 1, but you were still pleased with it. Year 2 came and you got a lower score and weren't pleased with it. You decided to then blame it on the test.

    This is a clear example of: "Blame it on someone else. No, it wasn't me."

    As you stated, in the first year you just guessed with gut instinct. You done the same in the second year.

    What if your gut instinct was actually just complete guesses both years, and the first year you just seemed to be luckier.

    If you had a better technique other than "guessing" your argument would be more valid.

    I'm sure Pearson VUE have many people taking the UKCAT more than once, and while comparing their scores with past scores, would have done something about it if their scores varied massively each time they took it.
    2010 entry:
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by magpie7 View Post
    So to sum that all up...

    You got a fairly low score in Year 1, but you were still pleased with it. Year 2 came and you got a lower score and weren't pleased with it. You decided to then blame it on the test.

    This is a clear example of: "Blame it on someone else. No, it wasn't me."

    As you stated, in the first year you just guessed with gut instinct. You done the same in the second year.

    What if your gut instinct was actually just complete guesses both years, and the first year you just seemed to be luckier.

    If you had a better technique other than "guessing" your argument would be more valid.

    I'm sure Pearson VUE have many people taking the UKCAT more than once, and while comparing their scores with past scores, would have done something about it if their scores varied massively each time they took it.

    Magpie7

    I do not want to continue a forum-wide argument about the validity of the UKCAT. Yes, you did very well in the test – we can all see that–you’ve put it in your sig. I do not for a moment want to take away your achievement.

    All I was saying was that the test seems a little random. I consider myself to have very good abstract and spatial awareness (I work as a surveyor and I don’t think that it would be possible to be a capable surveyor without these skills, I’m sure you’ll correct me if you disagree).

    Similarly, I consider myself to have, in terms of the UKCAT ‘syllabus’, sub-standard QR skills. I attempted just a third of all the maths questions, yet I attained what by anyone’s standards would be considered a good score. Not excellent, but above par.

    My comments on the AR were that I attempted the questions not being able to see a definite pattern, but working on loose criteria that worked in my mind, and deciding where things should go based on the look of the patterns and groups involved. This was by no means guess-work (perhaps I would have done better using this approach, I don’t know). The approach I used, despite not following definite rules, did employ abstract reasoning – no matter how flawed this reasoning was. As such, as I said, from such a large group of questions I should imagine that I would achieve a very similar, if quite low score, to last year if I attempted the questions in the same way, as there are enough questions to counteract the occurrence of too many lucky guesses.

    All I am saying in summation is that in my objective opinion the questions in this section are not sufficiently well thought out to allow for consistency year-on-year. I do not feel that the test as a whole is flawed, I do believe that the balance has yet to be found on the Abstract Reasoning section for it be considered consistently reliable, partly evidenced by the decision by the examining body to remove this section from a UKCAT run not long ago. From my perspective of course I would be happy for this element to be removed as I believe it to be the only section that is not even attemptable without the right brain for it – giving an advantage to those candidates who just ‘get’ it. However I would like to think that I would say the same if I were not one of those who attained 800-900 in the test. I will never know.

    I am quite happy with my results - the three other sections come very close to yours on average so hell they must be good – I have no reason to be ashamed that there is one element of the test which is a complete mystery to me. My score has improved since last year. I have no regrets or excuses. I do not wish to undermine the exam in general, or your status as someone who can do abstract reasoning to a UKCAT standard.

  4. #4
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    i've noticed this magpie on a few topics.

    geez.
    if magpie ever actually becomes a doctor i hope i don't have to be treated by them.

  5. #5
    Member magpie7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzyair View Post
    i've noticed this magpie on a few topics.

    geez.
    if magpie ever actually becomes a doctor i hope i don't have to be treated by them.
    A Doctor with an opinion that not everyone agrees with... Damn, who'd have thought?
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    University of Cambridge (Second year)



  6. #6
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    gosh.
    a doctor with a bad attitude and no communication skills.
    just what everyone needs.
    does belittling people make you feel better?

  7. #7
    Member magpie7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzyair View Post
    gosh.
    a doctor with a bad attitude and no communication skills.
    just what everyone needs.
    does belittling people make you feel better?
    1) You don't know me.

    2) Things said on the internet are read with no expressions. In reality I don't talk to people in a belittling manner and have good communication skills.

    3) I tell people the truth, as not to give them false hopes. Many appreciate this. How can you interpret this as 'bad attitude'?

    4) I only put up a strong worded and completey biased argument, when others do the same. eg. "OMG I did bad in UKCAT, therefore it is useless in every single way."
    2010 entry:
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  8. #8
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    fair point.

    i'm just thanking god i'm not applying to any unis you are.

  9. #9
    Member magpie7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzyair View Post
    fair point.

    i'm just thanking god i'm not applying to any unis you are.
    Likewise.

    I would hate to be on a course with people who flip if I don't share their own opinion.
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  10. #10
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    i didn't flip out.
    i have more important things to flip out over than what a 17/18 year old is gabbling on about.
    sorry.

    as you would say. i was merely voicing an opinion.

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