We have separated each UMAT section into different categories. You can think of these as sub-sections that we organise similar questions into. This guide goes through each of these categories, offering examples, and tips on how to solve the type of questions.
We recommend reading through it section by section, and then doing a practice quiz on that section.
This section aims to test how well you can draw logical conclusions, identify facts, analyse information and test hypotheses from written or graphical information.
We separate this section into a few different categories: analysing arguments, numerical reasoning, rule-based reasoning, graph analysis, data table analysis, experiments & studies, image-based questions. On the surface, the categories are quite different, but in fact all can be solved with logical reasoning.
Numerical Reasoning questions require the most in-depth analysis of the data provided. Here's an example:
A vote is carried out at a board meeting on whether to ban smoking at work. Not everyone present is in favour of the ban. Half the attendees are smokers, half are not.
Twenty percent of the attendees are against the ban. Of this twenty percent, six in every fifteen are smokers. All other attendees support the ban.
Which of the following is true?
Often, the maths will be too complex to do precisely within the 80 seconds you should take per question. You can usually use rough estimates, or round the numbers up/down to make it easier. The difficulty in this type of question is in identifying the numbers you need, and what you need to do with them.
Here are some quick tips:
This category is the most common in Section 1. We separate this category further into three different types of question: rule-based questions, hierarchy questions and category questions. They test your ability to identify facts and rules, require you to hold a large number of related facts in your head, and draw conclusions from them.
This type of question describes a large set of rules, which you will need to apply logically. Here's an example:
Your sock drawer contains ten pairs of white socks and ten pairs of black socks.
If you’re only allowed to take one sock from the drawer at a time and you can’t see what colour sock you’re taking until you’ve taken it, how many socks do you have to take before you’re guaranteed to have at least one matching pair?
Most often, but not always, there will be around four possible outcomes from applying the rules - usually each possibility corresponding to an answer. The quickest approach is often to eliminate three answers.
Here are some helpful tips to consider:
This type of question usually provide a list of items that are ranked in a particular order. Then, additional items are provided with information on where they rank relative to items in the current list. Here's an example:
The following fruit are in order of decreasing sweetness. Orange, Watermelon, Melon, Banana, Guava, Apple. A Peach is sweeter than an Apple, but less sweet than a Watermelon. A Nectarine is sweeter than a Peach.
Which of the following is definitely true?
The trick here is there is a lot of ambiguity; there is only enough information to place them relative to some other items but with uncertainty about their exact placement. For example, we cannot tell whether a Peach or a Banana is sweeter from the information provided above.
How we recommend solving this type of problem:
Here's an example suggesting what to do for the example above:
In this type of question, students are provided with a number of categories (e.g. people, houses, species) and items within the category (e.g. Tom, the blue house, golden eagle) There are usually three or four items in each category. Each item is related to one other item in each of the other categories. Here's an example:
Jack, James, Judy and Jess are four medical students. Each has a different brand of smart phone and each travels to university their own way.
Jack does not live near a bus route. James lives next door to Judy so sometimes offers her a lift to Uni. Jess' iPhone needs a new screen. The Motorola was left in the car.
Who takes the bus?
Here are some helpful steps:
Continue in this way until you have exhausted the information available to you. Now try and reconcile this with the questions and answers. Given that you only have around 80 seconds to answer a question in the UMAT, you should not be able to completely fill the grid. The questions are designed so that you can answer them with a partial solution. For example, from the grid we can tell that Judy or Jess take the bus, which might be enough to answer a question.
This section aims to test how you think and understand people, their thoughts, relationships and feelings.
While we can separate this section into three categories (pure dialogue, pure narration, and mixed dialogue and narration), they are in fact extremely similar. So, instead of looking at each category, we look at each type of question.
One of the most common questions in Section 2 will ask you to choose between sets of adjectives describing how a character feels (sometimes only one adjective). You need to determine which set is most applicable. Here's an example:
This is how we recommend you solve these questions:
This section tests your abstract reasoning, pattern recognition and visual problem solving ability.
Many people consider this the hardest UMAT section. We break it down into three categories: rearranging a sequence, completing a sequence, and three-by-three grids. Within these categories, UMAT questions tend to follow a few simple patterns.
There are two main types of question: those that follow a sequence along the rows/down the columns, and those where shapes add or cancel out along the rows/down the columns.
In this type of question, the rows or columns follow a sequence (just like 'rearranging a sequence' or 'completing a sequence' questions). The difference is that there are only three images per sequence (each row/column is its own sequence). This would normally make the sequences harder to identify, but the sequence that each row/column follows is related to that followed by the others. Here is an example:
Here are some steps to follow that may help you solve these questions:
In this type, the shapes along the rows or columns are adding up or cancelling out. This means that if there are two shapes in the same positions in first two rows/columns, the position will be empty in the third row/column. Here is an example:
After you understand these once, this type of question is very simple to solve. They are used surprisingly often in the official UMAT test. Here are the steps we recommend following:
Here's a worked example: