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IntroductiontoSection1

STRUCTURE ANDCONTENT
Section1 oftheUMAThas 44 questions and youwillhave 65minutes inwhichto
completethem.Thatisapproximately8889secondsperquestion.
Thequestionscanbebroadlydividedinto:
Logicalreasoningquestions
Problemsolvingquestions
ManyofthepassagesinSection1aremedicine/science/researchbased,butyouwill
notneedanypriorknowledgetoanswerthequestions.Alloftheinformationyouneed
will be provided in the question booklet. However, a basic understanding of research
methods isuseful(thisguidecoverssuchconcepts).
Many of the questions involve data presented in tables, graphs and / or diagrams.
Therefore,asectioninthisguideisdedicatedtodatainterpretation.
Somequestionsareindividuali.e.onlyonequestionisbasedonaparticularstimulus.
Otherquestions willbegrouped into unitsand willbe based on alargeramountof
information/data.
Toaidlearning,thisguideisdividedintovarioussections.Remember,however,that in
theUMATquestionswilloftenrequireyoutocombineskillsdiscussed.Forexample,you
mayneedtointerpretdataandresearchmethodsinalogicalreasoningquestion.

WHATDOESITTEST?
AccordingtotheUMATbooklet,section1tests:
Yourabilitytocomprehend,drawlogicalconclusions,reachsolutionsbyidentifying
relevantfacts,evaluateinformation,pinpointadditionalormissinginformation,and
generateandtestplausiblehypotheses.
Essentially, section 1 tests how well you can solve problems and how fast you can
interpretandcriticallyanalysedataandinformation.
Rememberthatsection1willbethefirstsectionyouwillcompleteonthetestday,soitis

alsoatestofyourabilitytohandlestress.Ifyoucantacklethissectionwithoutgettingtoo
flustered,youwillconserveenergyandputyourselfinapositiveframeofmindfor the
restofthetest.

HOWISITRELEVANTTOBEINGAHEALTHPROFESSIONAL?

Logical and critical thinking is a vital skill for any health professional. As a health
professional,youwillbebombardedwithinformationfromvarioussources,forexample,
governmentdepartments,themedia,researchpapersandpharmaceuticalcompanies.You
willneedtobeabletocriticallyappraisedata,argumentsandnewresearcheverydayin
ordertoprovidepatientswiththemostaccurate,effectiveanduptodatetreatment and
advice.Section1testsyourcapacitytodothis.
Itisimportanttonotethatthefieldsofmedicine,dentistryandotherhealthsciencesare
variableandambiguousthereisoftennorightanswerorbesttreatmentthatwillapply
toeverypatient.Similarly,section1willincludequestionswherealternativesare often
imperfect.Youwillneedtoselectthebestanswerineachcase.
Problemsolvingisthebasisofanyhealthprofessionalswork.Asahealthprofessional,
you will need to gather information about the patients medical history, presenting
complaintandotherpertinentinformationanduseittodeveloptreatmentplans.
Oftenpatientswillpresentwithmultipleandmultifacetedproblems,whichcomplicates
thepicturefurther.Oftenalsoyouwillneedtointerpretinformationanddataquicklyto
makeadecision.Section1teststheseskills.

WHATSHOULD I EXPECT?
Thereare veryfeweasyquestions inSection1andmanypeoplefindthissectionthe
hardesttofinish.However,keepinmindthatyoucanstillgetanexcellentscoreifyou
donotfinisheveryquestionperfectly.Youraimshouldbetocompleteasmanyquestions
aspossibleasaccuratelyaspossible.
Section1questionsarethefirstUMATquestionsyouwillbeexposedto.Manypeople
findthatthefirstfewquestionsofsection1areverydifficult,possiblybecausetheyhave
notyetgotintotheUMATmindsetortheUMATrhythm.Itisimportantnottoget
flustered,butrealisethatthequestionswillgeteasier.Donotbeafraidtoskipthefirst
questionifyoufinditdifficult.
Themajordifficultyofsection1liesnotintheamountofinformation,butcomplexityof
thepassages.Thisiswhymerespeedreadingwillnothelpyou.WoodyAllenoncesaid:
Itookaspeedreadingcourseandread WarandPeace intwentyminutes.Itinvolves
Russia !Thisillustratesthat it isnotjust about reading quickly, itis about thinking
quickly.

TEN CRUCIALTIPSFORSECTION1

1. Themostcrucialstrategytorememberforsection1questionsistoapproacheach
questionwiththeaimof
Understandingthestimulus,ratherthanrememberingpartsofit

Questionswillrequireyoutouse(manipulate,rearrange,comprehend,analyse)
information.Unlike'readingcomprehension'stylequestions,theywillnotsimplyrequire
youtoparrotbackbitsofinformation.
2. Usemethodssuchasunderlining,annotatinganddrawingdiagramstoensurethatyou
activelyinterprettheinformation.Youmayalsofindithelpfultovisualiseinformation.
3. ItisvitaltorealisethattheUMATistestingyourskills,notyourknowledge,soyou
must
Avoidbringinginyourownbiases

You should analyse what is presented to you, not anything from your previous
knowledge(exceptthestrictlyfactual,suchasthemeaningofscientificterms).
4. Read carefullyandthinkquickly.Donotsimplyskimoverpartsofthestimulus,
unlessyouarereadingalongpassageandareseekingspecificinformation.
5.Realisethatyouoftenneedto investsometimeininterpretingastimulus.Inyear12
exams,youofteneitherknowtheanswerordonot.IntheUMAT,youneedto think
aboutthematerial.Ifyou slowdownandconsiderthematerial,itislesslikelythatyou
willhavetoreadtheinformationoverandoveragain.Trytocrackthequestionopen
thefirsttime.
6. Previewingthequestionstemisparticularlyimportantforsection1questions.This
will help you sift through the notsorelevant information and pull out that which is
pertinent.
7. Subvocalising(readingindividualwordsinyourmind)canbeveryuseful,especially
with more complex stimuli. It allows you to emphasise certain words and aids
understanding.Contrarytopopularbelief,itisusuallynotahindrance.
8. When you are looking for the best answer (usually logical reasoning / critical
thinkingquestions),makesureyoureadandcarefullyconsideralltheoptions.Whenyou
arelookingfortherightanswer(usuallyproblemsolvingquestions)thereisnoneedto

considerotheroptions.Assoonasyouarriveattheanswer,moveon.
9. Learntodeal with ambiguity!Mostofthetimeyouwill not bepresentedwitha
perfectanswer,andmorethanoneanswermayseemcorrect.
10. Problemsolvingquestionscanbesolvedusingvarioustechniques.Makesureyou
arefamiliarwiththesetechniquesandknowwhentoapplythem.