UCAT Situational Judgement: 7 Tips For UCAT Success

The Situational Judgement is the final section of the UCAT. It looks at how you would react in certain clinical or professional settings.

Despite being the last section students do not think that it is any less important. You need to make sure that you do not neglect it. And these seven tips will help you to succeed

1.   Make Sure You Learn The GMC Rules 

Many students tend to learn Situational Judgement by trial and error. Doing mock questions is great practise and essential for success. But, as with most parts of the UCAT, it is best to learn the theory first. This will then give you a great foundation when practising this section.

First read through and got your head around the GMC rules. And then it may help if you make a document with them in, it will always give you something to refer back to while you are practising. And then over time try and answer more and more questions without it.

UCAT Situational Judgement GMC
GMC

GMC Good Medical Practise guidelines can be found here: https://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/ethical-guidance-for-doctors/good-medical-practice

2.   Do Not Neglect The Situational Judgement 

As mentioned at the start, being the last section some students neglect this section, especially as it does not contribute to their total score. Instead it has a different scoring system of either Band 1,2,3 or 4. The table below explains what these bands represent.

Band 1Performed at an excellent level, displaying judgement similar to the majority of the expert panel.
Band 2Displayed a decent level of performance, often demonstrating appropriate judgement, with several responses corresponding to model answers.
Band 3Performed at a modest level, displaying appropriate judgement for some questions and significant differences from model responses for other questions.
Band 4Performed poorly, displaying significantly different judgement than the model response in several cases.
Situational Judgement Bands

It is important to note that some universities look at Situational Judgement more than others. For example: a Band 1 score may not drive your application forward that much, but a Band 3 score will definitely weaken your application a lot. Band 3 shows a lack of awareness for medical ethics and decision making, which will concern any admissions officer. 

But regardless of how much your chosen Universities consider it, it is critical that you do not neglect it. As scoring highly in this section will keep as many options as possible open to you when applying.

3.   Search For Resources Carefully

Situational Judgement tests are used throughout medical careers. For example, at University, during Foundation Years and even when you specialise. Therefore, type in ‘Situational Judgement UCAT’ if you’re looking for the best questions. There is so much out there, you what to make sure the ones you are doing are appropriate, as you don’t want to end up doing a Cardiology Speciality test! 

UCAT SJT Books
UCAT Resources

Our blogs on UCAT resources and UCAT books will help point you in the right direction for some of the best resources (https://www.medicmind.co.uk/medicine-ucas-guide/ucat-resources-the-best-to-help-with-ucat-preparation/). 

4.   When revising make sure to read explanations properly

It is important to understand the reason why the answer is what it is. This is the case even if you got it right. If a book or question bank doesn’t give good explanations for the questions, then it may be an inadequate resource to prepare you. 

UCAT SJT
Understand the explanations

If you continue to struggle with explanations, then you may benefit from some one-to-one tuition. All of our tutors have experience within the NHS and are well versed with GMC guidelines, so can give expert advice. 

5.   Prepare For The Full Length Of The Test 

Many students fade during the Situational Judgement section. They have prepared hard for the others and have expended all their energy answering those questions. This impacts there score in the final section as they run out of steam right at the end. 

UCAT SJT
Do not run out of energy for the SJT

You need to make sure that this does not happen to you on test day. To avoid this make sure you practise mocks that are the full length of the UCAT, so you will have the stamina to get you all the way through on test day. And remember if you get extra time in the test be sure to add this on to your practise.

6.   Situational Judgement: Timing Tip

This section is the least time pressured section. Therefore, make sure you are reading each question carefully and not missing any key details. Do not rush your answers but think carefully. But equally, do not become complaisant – the test is not finished yet. 

UCAT timing
UCAT timing is key

Once again this reiterates why it is so important not to neglect this section of the test. Practising and preparing for it will allow you to find a rhythm when answering the questions. And by knowing roughly how long it takes you to answer a question, you will know on test day if you answering too slowly or too quickly.

7.   Situational Judgement: Do Not Be Too Indecisive

Sometimes students deliberate too much in Situational Judgement and go back and forth between answer options. You will get a half mark just for getting the right side (a/b or c/d). This does not mean that you rush, but do not spend too long pondering between a or b for example.  

Practise is something that will help significantly if this is something that you struggle with. It will allow you to get used to the question types and understand the ethics behind the questions. Once you are familiar with both of these things you will be able to move through the questions confidently and efficiently.

Summary 

Situational Judgement is the final hurdle for the UCAT. Make sure you have practised it and have enough left in the tank to get you over it. This is not the part of the test you want to let yourself down on. As you have done arguably the four hardest parts. You just need to think clearly, and have approached your preparation methodically so as ensure that you score well. 

An explanation of what this section is trying to test can be found at: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/ucat/test-format/ucat-subtests/

If you have any further questions regarding the Situation Judgement please leave a comment below and we will get back to you!

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