Preparation strategy

UMAT is not based on any curriculum or subject areas; therefore you do not need any special knowledge. The test is designed to measure ability in the following areas: Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving, Understanding People and Non-verbal Reasoning. Further information about the type of questions included in the test and tips on how to answer them is provided below.

Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving
Questions are based on ideas about problem solving and critical thinking as key processes in making rational decisions. Elements of these reasoning processes are considered, such as the ability to identify the problem and relevant information; to comprehend, analyse, select, transform, synthesise and evaluate information; to generate and test hypotheses and solutions; and to draw conclusions. The questions have a common general reasoning focus and employ both text-based and text-free reasoning and both inductive and deductive reasoning. Questions are based on information that is generally non-medical and non-technical. No curriculum-specific knowledge is required (beyond basic literacy and numeracy) to understand the materials and to arrive at the correct answers. However, non-specialist scientific contexts may be used and the application of commonsense, everyday scientific methodology is expected.

Understanding People 
Interpersonal Understanding is an ability considered important for anyone intending to work as a medical or health professional. Increasingly, patients, health professionals and the community are recognising that to treat people effectively, doctors and health workers need a high level of personal interaction skills and ability. Questions are generally based on texts or scenarios that feature personal reflections or interpersonal situations. Some passages may involve interactions between health professionals and patients, but they are not confined to health settings. No specialised knowledge is expected. The questions test a candidate’s ability to identify, understand and, where necessary, infer the thoughts, feelings, behaviour and/or intentions of the people represented in the situations.

Non-verbal Reasoning
Questions consist of a sequence or a pattern comprising a number of ‘frames’ composed of a number of elements. The questions require the identification of the rules that determine the patterns and relationships between the elements from frame to frame, and the application of these rules to find the option (out of a choice of five) that most simply and logically functions as the answer. This requires the generation of appropriate hypotheses and evaluation of evidence to test these hypotheses. Note that different elements may be related by different rules, and different aspects of an element (e.g. orientation and colour) may be governed by different rules.

Three different types of Non-verbal Reasoning questions appear in the test:

  1. Next in the Series
    For a sequence of four diagrams, identify the option that most simply and logically comes next in the sequence.
  2. Missing Segment
    For a pattern composed of a number of segments, identify the option that most simply and logically fits the missing segment.
  3. Middle of the Sequence
    In this variant of Next in the Series, determine the correct order for the five given stages of a sequence, and identify the middle stage.

Rules involved in all three types of questions may include:
• movement of elements that is either consistent (same amount each time) or progressive (by increasing amounts);
• changes in size, shape or pattern of elements (consistent or progressive);
• arithmetic relationships;
• combination or disassociation of elements; e.g. ‘black + white = white’; ‘like elements cancel when superimposed’;
• rotation (clockwise or anticlockwise) of elements (consistent or progressive);
• reflection of elements; and
• symmetry.

Some general hints for arriving at a solution

  1. Identify the separate elements that make up the sequence or overall pattern.
  2. Examine each element individually and observe how it is changing. For example:
    • Is the element present in all frames, or does it disappear?
    • Does the number and/or size of the element increase/decrease?
    • Does the position and/or orientation of the element change?
    • Are there changes in shading/pattern?
  3. Formulate rules for different elements and check that they ‘work’ for the whole sequence. Rules should be as ‘simple’ as possible, e.g. smallest increments in rotation or position; shortest sequence of pattern changes; addition before multiplication.
  4. For each element, use the rule to extend the pattern to determine how it will appear in the answer frame.

Note also:
• Determining rules for some elements may help eliminate some options as an answer.
• It may not always be necessary to determine rules for all elements to arrive at an answer.
• Sometimes, a definitive answer may only be arrived at by analysing the answer options.