Abstract Reasoning assesses your ability to identify patterns amongst abstract shapes where irrelevant and distracting material may lead to incorrect conclusions.

There are 4 different item types in the UKCAT test.  You will see all of these item types:

  • Type 1, you will be presented with two sets of shapes, “Set A” and “Set B”. You will be given a test shape and asked to decide whether the test shape belongs to Set A, Set B, or Neither.
  • Type 2, you will be presented with a series of shapes. You will be asked to select the next shape in the series.
  • Type 3, you will be presented with a statement, involving a group of shapes. You will be asked to determine which shape completes the statement.
  • Type 4, you will be presented with two sets of shapes labelled “Set A” and “Set B”. You will be asked to select which of the four response options belongs to Set A or Set B. 

When you first begin practicing AR it may be one of your most difficult sections. As cliché as it is, with practice comes perfect. The more sets you look at the better you get; it might even end up being the subtest you find most ‘fun’.

Top Tips

• Although time is restricted it shouldn’t be too much of a concern in AR. As each set has 2 or 3 questions attached it is okay to spend a few extra seconds to study the relationship. As once recognised each following question will only take 2 or 3 seconds.

• Spotting relationships is probably the hardest thing in AR at the start. After seeing a few sets, the pattern is generally repeated.
A few things to look at are: 

Number of Shapes
Specific number in each set? (4 shapes in Set A and 5 in Set B)
Is there a ratio of shapes? (Twice as many squares as triangles)
Is there always a specific shape? (Always two rectangles)

Types of Shapes
Is there any relationship of shape sizes? (Large square in Set A and small square in Set B)

Is there only one specific shape? (Pentagons in Set A and Hexagons in Set B)

Colour of Shapes
What colours and how many of each? (3 striped and 2 black)

Certain shapes a specific colour? (Triangles in Set A black and in Set B striped)
Ratio of Colours? (3 black shapes for every white shape)
Any colour specific to an area? (Black shapes always in the top-left)

Number of Sides
Are the number of sides the same? (4 sided in Set A and 2 sided in Set B)
Does number of sides affect anything? (Even sided always black, odd always white)
Total number of sides? (Total of 15 in Set A and 10 in Set B)

Direction of Shapes
Are they all in one direction? (All triangles point left)
Are they pointing at anything? (Arrows always point at white circle)

Angles of Shapes
Number of angles? (Always 6 right angles)
Relationship with angle? (Right angled shapes are always black)
Are angles specific to each set? (Set A angles are above 90º, Set B below 90º)