Introduction to Section 1Structure AND CONTENTSection 1 of the UMAT has 44 questions and you will have 65 minutes in which to complete them. That is approximately 88-89 seconds per question. The questions can be broadly divided into: Logical reasoning questions Problem solving questionsMany of the passages in Section 1 are medicine / science / research-based, but you will not need any prior knowledge to answer the questions. All of the information you need will be provided in the question booklet. However, a basic understanding of research methods is useful (this guide covers such concepts). Many of the questions involve data presented in tables, graphs and / or diagrams. Therefore, a section in this guide is dedicated to data interpretation. Some questions are individual i.e. only one question is based on a particular stimulus. Other questions will be grouped into units and will be based on a larger amount of information / data. To aid learning, this guide is divided into various sections. Remember, however, that in the UMAT questions will often require you to combine skills discussed. For example, you may need to interpret data and research methods in a logical reasoning question. WHAT DOES IT TEST?According to the UMAT booklet, section 1 tests:Your ability to comprehend, draw logical conclusions, reach solutions by identifying relevant facts, evaluate information, pinpoint additional or missing information, and generate and test plausible hypotheses. Essentially, section 1 tests how well you can solve problems and how fast you can interpret and critically analyse data and information. Remember that section 1 will be the first section you will complete on the test day, so it is also a test of your ability to handle stress. If you can tackle this section without getting too flustered, you will conserve energy and put yourself in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the test.
how is it relevant to being a health professional?Logical and critical thinking is a vital skill for any health professional. As a health professional, you will be bombarded with information from various sources, for example, government departments, the media, research papers and pharmaceutical companies. You will need to be able to critically appraise data, arguments and new research every day in order to provide patients with the most accurate, effective and up-to-date treatment and advice. Section 1 tests your capacity to do this. It is important to note that the fields of medicine, dentistry and other health sciences are variable and ambiguous there is often no right answer or best treatment that will apply to every patient. Similarly, section 1 will include questions where alternatives are often imperfect. You will need to select the best answer in each case. Problem solving is the basis of any health professionals work. As a health professional, you will need to gather information about the patients medical history, presenting complaint and other pertinent information and use it to develop treatment plans. Often patients will present with multiple and multifaceted problems, which complicates the picture further. Often also you will need to interpret information and data quickly to make a decision. Section 1 tests these skills. What should I expect?There are very few easy questions in Section 1 and many people find this section the hardest to finish. However, keep in mind that you can still get an excellent score if you do not finish every question perfectly. Your aim should be to complete as many questions as possible as accurately as possible. Section 1 questions are the first UMAT questions you will be exposed to. Many people find that the first few questions of section 1 are very difficult, possibly because they have not yet got into the UMAT mindset or the UMAT rhythm. It is important not to get flustered, but realise that the questions will get easier. Do not be afraid to skip the first question if you find it difficult. The major difficulty of section 1 lies not in the amount of information, but complexity of the passages. This is why mere speed reading will not help you. Woody Allen once said: I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia ! This illustrates that it is not just about reading quickly, it is about thinking quickly.
TEN CRUCIAL TIPS FOR SECTION 11. The most crucial strategy to remember for section 1 questions is to approach each question with the aim of Understanding the stimulus, rather than remembering parts of it Questions will require you to use (manipulate, rearrange, comprehend, analyse) information. Unlike 'reading comprehension' style questions, they will not simply require you to parrot back bits of information.2. Use methods such as underlining, annotating and drawing diagrams to ensure that you actively interpret the information. You may also find it helpful to visualise information. 3. It is vital to realise that the UMAT is testing your skills, not your knowledge, so you must Avoid bringing in your own biases You should analyse what is presented to you, not anything from your previous knowledge (except the strictly factual, such as the meaning of scientific terms). 4. Read carefully and think quickly. Do not simply skim over parts of the stimulus, unless you are reading a long passage and are seeking specific information.5.Realise that you often need to invest some time in interpreting a stimulus. In year 12 exams, you often either know the answer or do not. In the UMAT, you need to think about the material. If you slow down and consider the material, it is less likely that you will have to read the information over and over again. Try to crack the question open the first time. 6. Previewing the question stem is particularly important for section 1 questions. This will help you sift through the not-so-relevant information and pull out that which is pertinent. 7. Subvocalising (reading individual words in your mind) can be very useful, especially with more complex stimuli. It allows you to emphasise certain words and aids understanding. Contrary to popular belief, it is usually not a hindrance.8. When you are looking for the best answer (usually logical reasoning / critical thinking questions), make sure you read and carefully consider all the options. When you are looking for the right answer (usually problem solving questions) there is no need to consider other options. As soon as you arrive at the answer, move on.9. Learn to deal with ambiguity! Most of the time you will not be presented with a perfect answer, and more than one answer may seem correct.10. Problem solving questions can be solved using various techniques. Make sure you are familiar with these techniques and know when to apply them.FIGURES & STATISTICS Some section 1 questions may require you to interpret and manipulate statistics, ratios, percentages and proportions. While the calculations themselves will not be challenging, and will not require the use of a calculator, the manipulations may be difficult. The following paragraphs explain why. Are you the kind of person who can remember a phone number without writing it down? Or are you the kind who forgets it while fumbling for a pen? The answer may mean a lot in the UMAT. The UMAT has problems full of zigzags and double-talk, and it puts enormous emphasis on what psychologists call short term working memory. Though the computations behind the problems may be easy, the written scenarios are often confusing.Another reason why these problems are difficult is because you are probably used to using a calculator, and more used to quadratic functions than simple calculations. Unfortunately in the UMAT you cannot bring in a calculator and there are no quadratic functions; there are only simple calculations. As one student put it, The most challenging thing for me about these types of questions was that I hadnt done any of this type of maths since about year six. You already know all of the maths covered in the UMAT. The trick is learning how to reason in new ways with fairly basic maths concepts. Remember that the UMAT is a reasoning test, not an achievement test. The UMAT is not designed to measure how much maths you know, but how well you reason with relatively basic maths concepts, and how you relate this to an often confusing scenario. Following are some general strategies. Be clear what the numbers refer to. Does the figure relate to the whole population, a subset of the population, or something else? If you are not clear what the number refers to, you will have difficulty answering the question. Look for short cuts. Remember you will not be required to engage in complex mathematics. For example, 54% is approximately . Good UMAT-takers know that you dont need to do any real calculations to get the right answer. By using approximate numbers, you can often estimate the number in your head and then scan your options for the right one. Calculate only what you have to. You can spend several minutes calculating everything perfectly, but often it is not necessary and is simply a waste of time. Examine the answer alternatives to see how accurate you have to be and what calculation the question is actually asking for. It may be helpful to assign symbols to unknown values eg. x, y. This can help when you manipulate the data. Try plugging in the answers. Sometimes, the quickest way to solve a problem is not to try to solve it in the conventional way. With all the answers staring you in the face, an alternative is to plug them into the question and see which one works. Also called working backwards, or trial and error, plugging in can be a core strategy. Try drawing pictures. On a test that puts enormous pressure on your short-term memory, jotted notes and drawings can be a big help. Drawing as you read takes only a few seconds, and you may be surprised at how much time you will save by not having to re-read or double-c