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UCAT Focus: Situational Judgement broken down

By January 15, 2021No Comments

The term ‘save the best for last’ was probably not invented with the UCAT in mind. Nevertheless, to conclude your test, you are greeted to a series of 22 scenarios with 69 questions and are scored based on how appropriately you respond to these situations.

The Situational Judgement section lends itself to the more non-academic, patient and empathy focused side of medicine. It focuses on core values such as integrity, teamwork and compassion and asks prospective doctors to respond to hypothetical scenarios with these values in mind. Scenarios involve a clinical or education-related event from which two styles of questions are asked:

  • Appropriateness – Rate each action based on how appropriate it is to the relevant scenario.
  • Importance – Rate each action by level of importance within the context of the scenario.

The questions expect students to respond as if they themselves were medical students or doctors. Their values shared by those of the medical profession and the regulatory body- the GMC. Fortunately, there is an easily accessible guide called – Good Medical Practice written by the GMC that lists the values and appropriateness expected of medical professionals. A good knowledge of these principles will prove invaluably useful and help ease that transition into the medical world.

The Good Medical Practice guide walks you through areas such as communication, maintaining trust, ensuring patient safety and teamwork, all core values of the well rounded doctor. The GMC website also has interactive case-studies, each with robust feedback – a useful addition for the ambitious student.

From personal experience the situational judgement is much more than common sense. Leaving preparation to the last minute may seem the norm but is ill-advised. A composed preparation to this section and use of multiple resources will help train your brain to respond with those core values engrained.

I often recall that it is never the worst or best options that catch students out, but the options in the middle. Both seem equally appropriate or could be ranked as similarly important considerations. Differentiating correctly between these two answers and correctly placing them will be separating factor between the very best students. At MedAhead we focus on building this key analytical skill.

With a doctor paired to each student, we are able to walk you through scenarios explaining precisely why certain options are better than others. With our years of experience in medicine and working in line with GMC values we are able to share examples and bring a real life context to your questions. What better way to learn to behave like a doctor, than have a doctor, 1:1, guiding you through each scenario. At Medahead, this is our guarantee.

Dr Heer Shah

Co-Founder MedAhead

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