The Ultimate UKCAT Guide - Rohan Agarwal - ebook

“If you had all day to do your UKCAT, you would get 100%  But you don’t!”Whilst this isn’t completely true, it illustrates a very important point - the clock is your biggest enemy. This seemingly obvious statement has one very important consequence. The way to improve your UKCAT score is to improve your speed. There is no magic bullet. But thereare a great number of techniques that, with practice, will give you significant time gains, allowing you to answer more questions and score more marks.Published by the UKs Leading Medical Admissions Company, The Ultimate UKCAT Guide is the most comprehensive UKCAT book available. Written for the 2018 Entry, it contains powerful time-saving strategies that will allow you to answer difficult questions within the timelimit as well a massive 1250 Practice Questions written in the style and difficulty of the real exam. Each question comes with Fully Worked Solutions that guide you through the most efficient way for getting the correct answer as quickly as possible.With contributions and advice from over 20 Specialist UKCAT Tutors, this is your Ultimate companion to the UKCAT and a MUST-BUYfor those looking to do well in the exam.

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1250 Questions

David Salt and Rohan Agarwal



The Basics

General Advice

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning Questions

Decision Making

Decision Making Questions

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning Questions

Abstract Reasoning

Abstract Reasoning Questions

Situational Judgement

Situational Judgement Questions


Verbal Reasoning Answers

Decision Making Answers

Quantitative Reasoning Answers

Abstract Reasoning Answers

Situational Judgement Answers

Final Advice

Your Free Book

UKCAT Intensive Course

BMAT Intensive Course

Medicine Interview Course

The Ultimate UKCAT Guide

Copyright © 2017 UniAdmissions. All rights reserved.

3rd Edition

ISBN 978-0-9935711-2-1

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher. This publication may not be used in conjunction with or to support any commercial undertaking without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published by RAR Medical Services Limited

Tel: 0208 068 0438

This book is neither created nor endorsed by UKCAT. The authors and publisher are not affiliated with UKCAT. The information offered in this book is purely advisory and any advice given should be taken within this context. As such, the publishers and authors accept no liability whatsoever for the outcome of any applicant’s UKCAT performance, the outcome of any university applications or for any other loss. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions of any kind. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information contained herein. This does not affect your statutory rights.

The Ultimate UKCAT Guide

1250 Practice Questions

Dr David Salt

Dr Rohan Agarwal

About the Authors

David is Director of Services at UniAdmissions, taking the lead in product development and customer service. David read medical sciences at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, graduating in 2012, completed his clinical studies in the Cambridge Clinical School and now works as a medical doctor.

David is an experienced tutor, having helped students with all aspects of the university applications process. He has authored five books to help with university applications and has edited four more. Away from work, David enjoys cycling, outdoor pursuits and good food.

Rohan is the Director of Operations at UniAdmissions and is responsible for its technical and commercial arms. He graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and is a fully qualified doctor. Over the last five years, he has tutored hundreds of successful Oxbridge and Medical applicants. He has also authored ten books on admissions tests and interviews.

Rohan has taught physiology to undergraduates and interviewed medical school applicants for Cambridge. He has published research on bone physiology and writes education articles for the Independent and Huffington Post. In his spare time, Rohan enjoys playing the piano and table tennis.


What is the UKCAT?

The United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is a two hour computer based exam that is taken by applicants to medical and dental schools. The questions are randomly selected from a huge question bank. Since every UKCAT test is unique, candidates can sit the UKCAT at different times. There is a three month testing period and you can sit the test anytime within it.

You register to sit the test online and book a time slot. On the day, bring along a printout of your test booking confirmation and arrive in good time. Your identity will be checked against a photographic ID that you’ll need to bring. You then leave your personal belongings in a locker and enter the test room. Make sure you go to the toilet and have a drink before going in, to save wasting time during the test.

Who has to sit the UKCAT?

You have to sit UKCAT if you are applying for any of the universities that ask for it in the current application cycle. You are strongly advised to check this list in May to see if the universities you are considering require it. The following is a list of the universities and courses requiring the UKCAT for 2018 entry. As it is subject to change, it is included for guidance only:

The following table gives the subject area for each of the course codes that require UKCAT.

Why is the UKCAT used?

For medical schools, choosing the best applicants is hard. Every year, medical schools are flooded with talented applicants, all of whom have top grades and great personal statements. They felt they needed extra information to help them find the very best from the pool of very talented applicants they always had. That’s why admissions tests were created.

The UKCAT was first introduced in 2006 to help medical schools make their choices. The test examines skills in different areas, all of which are related to critical thinking and decision making. The idea was to create a pure aptitude test, something which cannot be prepared for. However this is certainly not the case with the UKCAT, and this is even acknowledged by UKCAT itself based on their research. In our experience, you can improve your UKCAT score with only a small amount of work, and with proper organised preparation the results can be fantastic.

When do I sit the UKCAT?

When you register to sit UKCAT online, you choose your date and time slot and also the test centre. The UKCAT can be sat from 3rd July through to early October. Registration for the test opens in early May – we recommend you book your test early so you have the best choice of possible dates.

Many students find it helpful to sit UKCAT in mid-late August – this gives you time in the summer to prepare, but gets the test complete before you go back to school, so you have one less thing to worry about at that busy time. Remember that you may want to modify your university choices based on your UKCAT score to maximise your chances of success.

How much does it cost?

In the EU, tests sat between 3 July and 31August cost £65. Tests sat between 1 September and 3 October cost £85. Tests outside the EU cost £115 throughout the testing period.

Some candidates who might struggle to fund the UKCAT fee are eligible for a bursary. If eligible to apply for one, you need to apply with supporting evidence by the deadline of 21 September 2017.

Can I re-sit the UKCAT?

You cannot re-sit UKCAT in the same application cycle – whatever score you get is with you for the year. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re well prepared and ready to perform at your very best on test day.

If I reapply, do I have to resit the UKCAT?

If you choose to re-apply the following year, you need to sit UKCAT again. You take your new score with you for the new applications cycle. UKCAT scores are only valid for one year from the test date.

When do I get my results?

Because the test is computerised, results are generated immediately and you will be given your score on the day of the test. You will be given a printed sheet with your details and your score to take away. Knowing your score is useful as it can help you choose your universities tactically to maximise your chances of success. Note that you don’t put your UKCAT score anywhere on your UCAS form, nor do you contact any universities to inform them. Universities that request UKCAT are sent your scores directly by UKCAT, so you don’t need to do anything besides apply through UCAS.

Where do I sit the UKCAT?

UKCAT is a computerised exam and is sat at computer test centres, similar to the driving theory test. When you book the test, you choose the most convenient test centre to sit it at.

How is the UKCAT Scored?

When you finish the test, the computer works out your raw score by adding up your correct responses. There are no mark deductions for incomplete or incorrect answers, so it’s a good idea to answer every question even if it’s a guess. For the four cognitive sections, this is then scaled onto a scale from 300 – 900. The totals from each of these sections are added together to give your overall score out of 3,600. The new decision making section is now fully introduced into the test, and is scored as normal.

For section 5 (the situational judgement test, SJT) the scoring is slightly different. Here the appropriateness of your responses is used to generate a banding, from band 1 (being the best) to band 4 (being the worst). This is presented separately to the numerical score, such that every candidate’s score contains a numerical score out of 3,600 and an SJT banding.

How does my score compare?

This is always a tough question to answer, but it makes sense to refer to the average scores. The scaling is such that around 600 represents the average score in any section, with the majority of candidates scoring between 500 and 700. Thus a score higher than 700 is very good and a score less than 500 is very weak.

For reference, in the 2017 entry cycle the mean scores at the end of testing were 573, 690 and 630 for sections 1, 3 and 4 respectively (section 2 was not marked, but this year it will be), giving an overall score of 1,893 or a mean score of 631 per section.

How is the UKCAT used?

Different universities use your UKCAT score in different ways. Firstly, universities that do not explicitly subscribe to UKCAT cannot see your UKCAT score and are unaware whether or not you sat UKCAT. Universities that use UKCAT can use it in a variety of ways – some universities use it as a major component of the assessment such as selecting candidates for interview based upon the score. Others use it as a smaller component, for example to settle tie-breaks between similar candidates. Each university publishes guidance on how they use the UKCAT, so you should check this out for the universities you are considering.

It’s important to know how UKCAT is used in order to maximise your chances. If you score highly in UKCAT, you might decide to choose universities that select for interview based on a high UKCAT score cut-off. That way, you help to stack the odds in your favour – you might, for instance, convert a one in eight chance to a one in three chance. If your score isn’t so good, consider choosing universities that don’t use UKCAT in that way, otherwise you risk falling at the first hurdle and never getting the chance to show them how great you actually are.

By this logic, it makes sense for all medical applicants to sit UKCAT – if you score well it opens doors, and if you don’t you don’t even have to apply to UKCAT universities. It makes sense not to place all your eggs in one basket. If you were to, for example, apply to only BMAT universities, you risk jeopardising your entire application if you are unlucky on test day.

Can I qualify for extra time?

Yes – some people qualify for extra time in the UKCAT, sitting what is known as UKCAT SEN. If you usually have extra time in public exams at school, you are likely to be eligible to sit the UKCAT SEN. The overall time extension is 30 minutes, bringing the total test time up from 120 to 150 minutes; this is allocated proportionately across the different sections. If you have any medical condition or disability that may affect the test, requiring any special provision, or requiring you to take any medical equipment or medication into the test you should contact customer services to discuss how to best proceed.



Preparing for the UKCAT will almost certainly improve your UKCAT score. You are unlikely to be familiar with the style of questions in sections 3, 4 and 5 of the UKCAT when you first encounter them. With practice, you’ll become much quicker at interpreting the data and your speed will increase greatly. Practising questions will put you at ease and make you more comfortable with the exam format, and you will learn and hone techniques to improve your accuracy. This will make you calm and composed on test day, allowing you to perform at your best.

Initially, work through the questions at your own pace, and spend time carefully reading the questions and looking at the additional data. The purpose of this is to gain familiarity with the question styles and to start to learn good techniques for solving them. Then closer to test day, make sure you practice the questions under exam conditions and at the correct pace.

Start Early

It is much easier to prepare if you practice little and often. Start your preparation well in advance, ideally by early July but you are advised to start no later than early August. This way, you will have plenty of time to work through practice questions, to build up your speed and to incorporate time-saving techniques into your approach. How to start – well by reading this you’re obviously on track!

How to Work

Although this obviously depends on your learning style, it can be helpful to split your preparation into two stages. Early on, it’s often best to focus on only one section per day. Firstly read about the section, then maybe follow through a fully worked example, then try some practice questions, stop and mark them and work out anywhere you’ve gone wrong. By working on only one section per day, you focus your thoughts and allow yourself to get deeper into understanding the question type you’re working on. The aim of early preparation is to learn about the test and the question styles. Don’t worry so much about timing as you do about accuracy and technique. It is a good idea to start on the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning as these take the greatest amount of time to improve.

Nearer to test day, you’ll need to work on multiple sections per day to help train your thinking to switch quickly from one mode to another. Start to attempt questions with strict timing. The aim now is that you’re comfortable in answering the questions, so the next step is to work on exam technique to ensure you know what to expect on the day. Attempt the online UKCAT practice questions – although there are not very many of these, they are set out as the computer will be on the day with the official UKCAT calculator, so getting familiar with this is important.

Repeat Tough Questions

When checking through answers, pay particular attention to questions you have got wrong. Look closely through the worked answers in this book until you’re confident you understand the reasoning- then repeat the question later without help to check you can now do it. If you use other resources where only the answer is given, have another look at the question and consider showing it to a friend or teacher for their opinion.

Statistics show that without consolidating and reviewing your mistakes, you’re likely to make the same mistakes again. Don’t be a statistic. Look back over your mistakes and address the cause to make sure you don’t make similar mistakes when it comes to the test. You should avoid guessing in early practice. Highlight any questions you struggled with so you can go back and improve.

Positive Marking

When it comes to the test, the marking scheme is only positive – you won’t lose points for wrong answers. You gain a mark for each correct answer and do not gain one for each wrong or unanswered one. Therefore if you aren’t able to answer a question fully, you should guess. Since each question provides you with 3 to 5 possible answers, you have a 33% to 20% chance of guessing correctly – something which is likely to translate to a number of points across the test as a whole.

If you do need to guess, try to make it an educated one. By giving the question a moment’s thought or making a basic estimation, you may be able to eliminate a couple of options, greatly increasing your chances of a successful guess. This is discussed more fully in the subsections.

Booking your Test

Unless there are strong reasons otherwise, you should try to book your test during August. This is because in the summer, you should have plenty of time to work on the UKCAT and not be tied up with schoolwork or your personal statement deadline. If you book it any earlier, you’ll have less time for your all-important preparation; if you book any later, you might get distracted with schoolwork, your personal statement deadline and the rest of your UCAS application. In addition, you pay £20 more to sit the test late in the testing cycle.

Mock Papers

There are 2 full UKCAT papers freely available online at and once you’ve worked your way through the questions in this book, you are highly advised to attempt both of them and check your answers afterwards. There are also a further 2 full mock papers available at

Prioritising Sections

Many students find sections 3 and 4 the easiest to improve on. Initially, section 4 can often be the hardest section, but because you start form a lower point with a bit of familiarity and practice your score can increase greatly. Likewise you can achieve good gains with section 3. Although the subject matter of the questions is not new, with practice you gain familiarity with the style of UKCAT questions and with using the calculator. This familiarity can give you a useful speed boost, increasing your score. If you start your preparation late, it would be wise to concentrate most on these sections in order to achieve the best gains.

A word on timing...

“If you had all day to do your UKCAT, you would get 100%, 3600 points. But you don’t.”

Whilst this isn’t completely true, it illustrates a very important point. Once you’ve practiced and know how to answer the questions, the clock is your biggest enemy. This seemingly obvious statement has one very important consequence. The way to improve your UKCAT score is to improve your speed. There is no magic bullet. But there are a great number of techniques that, with practice, will give you significant time gains, allowing you to answer more questions and score more marks.

Timing is tight throughout the UKCAT – mastering timing is the first key to success. Some candidates choose to work as quickly as possible to save up time at the end to check back, but this is generally not the best way to do it. UKCAT questions have a lot of information in them – each time you start answering a question it takes time to get familiar with the instructions and information. By splitting the question into two sessions (the first run-through and the return-to-check) you double the amount of time you spend on familiarising yourself with the data, as you have to do it twice instead of only once. This costs valuable time. In addition, candidates who do check back may spend 2–3 minutes doing so and yet not make any actual changes. Whilst this can be reassuring, it is a false reassurance as it has no effect on your actual score. Therefore it is usually best to pace yourself very steadily, aiming to spend the same amount of time on each question and finish the final question in a section just as time runs out. This reduces the time spent on re-familiarising with questions and maximises the time spent on the first attempt, gaining more marks.

There is an option to flag questions for review, making it easier to check back if you have time at the end of the section. There is absolutely no disadvantage to using this. If you’ve guessed a question then it makes sense to mark it, so you know where to best spend your spare time if you do finish the section early. Always select an answer first time round (even if it’s a guess), as there is no negative marking – you may not have time to turn back later on.

It is essential that you don’t get stuck with the hardest questions – no doubt there will be some. In the time spent answering only one of these you may miss out on answering three easier questions. If a question is taking too long, choose a sensible answer and move on. Never see this as giving up or in any way failing, rather it is the smart way to approach a test with a tight time limit. With practice and discipline, you can get very good at this and learn to maximise your efficiency. It is not about being a hero and aiming for full marks – this is essentially impossible and in any case completely unnecessary. It is about maximising your efficiency and gaining the maximum possible number of marks within the time you have.


The Basics

Section 1 of the UKCAT is the verbal reasoning subtest. It tests your ability to quickly read a passage, find information that is relevant and then analyse statements related to the passage. There are 44 questions to answer and in 21 minutes, so you have just under 30 seconds per question. As with all UKCAT sections, you have one minute to read the instructions. The idea is that this tests both your language ability and your ability to make decisions, traits which are important in a good doctor.

You are presented with a passage, upon which you answer questions. Typically, there are 11 separate passages, each with 4 questions about it. There are two styles of question in section 1, and each requires a slightly different approach. All questions start with a statement relating to something in the passage.

In the first type of question, you are asked if the statement is true or false based on the passage. There is also the option to answer “cannot tell”. Choose “true” if the statement either matches the passage or can be directly inferred from it. Choose “false” if the statement either contradicts the passage or exaggerates a claim the passage makes to an extent that it becomes untrue.

Choosing the “cannot tell” option can be harder. Remember that you are answering based ONLY on the passage and not on any of your own knowledge – so you choose the “cannot tell” option if there is not enough information to make up your mind one way or the other. Try to choose this option actively. “Cannot tell” isn’t something to conclude too quickly, it can often be the hardest answer to select. Choose it when you’re actively looking for a certain piece of information to help you answer a question, and you cannot find it.

In the other type of question, you are given a stem and have to select the most appropriate response based on the question. There is only one right answer – if more than one answer seems appropriate, the task is to choose the best response. Remember that there is no negative marking in the UKCAT. There will be questions where you aren’t certain. If that is the case, then choose an option that seems sensible to you and move on. A clear thought process is key to doing well in section 1 – you will have the opportunity to build that up through the worked examples and practice questions until you’re answering like a pro!

This is the first section of the UKCAT, so you’re bound to have some nerves. Ensure that you have been to the toilet because once the exam starts you can’t pause and go. Take a few deep breaths and calm yourself down. Try to shut out distractions and get yourself into your exam mindset. If you’re well prepared, you can remind yourself of that to help keep calm. See it as a job to do and look at the test as an opportunity. If you perform well it will boost your chances of getting into good medical schools. If the worst happens, there are plenty of good medical schools that do not use UKCAT, so all is not lost.

How to Approach This Section

Time pressure is a recurring theme throughout the UKCAT, but it is especially important in Section 1, where you have only 30 seconds per question and a lot of information to take in.

You should look carefully to see what the question is asking. Sometimes the question will simply need you to find a phrase in the text. In other instances, your critical thinking skills will be needed and you’ll have to carefully analyse the information presented to you.


Words like “extremely”, “always” and “never” can give you useful clues for your answer. Statements which make particularly bold claims are less likely to be true, but remember you need a direct contradiction to be able to conclude that they are false.

To answer an “always” question, you’re looking for a definition. Always be a bit suspicious of “never” – make sure you’re certain before saying true, as most things are possible.


With UKCAT, you can leave and come back to any question. By flagging for review, you make this easier. Since time is tight, you don’t want to waste time on long passages when you could be scoring easier marks. Score the easy marks first, then come back to the harder ones if time allows. If time runs too short, at least take enough time to guess the answers as there’s a good chance you could pick up some marks anyway.


Put on your most critical and analytical hat for section A! Carefully analyse the statements like you’re in a court room. Then look for the evidence! Examine the passage closely, looking for evidence that either supports or contradicts the statement. Remember you’remaking decisions based on ONLY the passage, not using any prior knowledge. Does the passage agree or disagree? If there isn’t enough evidence to decide, don’t be afraid to say “cannot tell”.


Follow our top tip and read the question before the passage. There is simply not enough time to read all the passages thoroughly and still have time to complete everything in 22 minutes. By reading the statement or question first, you can understand what it is that is required of you and can then pick out the appropriate area in the passage. Do not fall into the trap of trying to read all of the passage, you will not score highly enough if you do this.

When skim reading through the passage, it is inevitable that you will lose accuracy. However you can reduce this effect by doing plenty of practice so your ability to glean what you need improves. A good tip is to practice reading short sections of complicated texts, such as quality newspapers or novels, at high pace. Then test yourself to see how much you can recall from the passage.


The keyword is the most important word to help you relate the question to the passage; sometimes there might be two keywords in a question. When you read the passage, focus in on the keywords straight away. This gives you something to look for in the passage to identify the right place to work from.

It is usually easy to find the keyword/s, and you’ll become even better with practice. When you find it, go back a line and read from the line before through the keyword to the end of the line after. Usually, this contains enough relevant information to give you the answer.

If this is not successful, you need to consider your next steps. Time is very tight in the UKCAT and especially so in section 1. There are other passages that need your attention, and there may be much easier marks waiting for you. If reading around the keyword has not given you the right answer it may well be time to move on. It might be that there is a more subtle reference somewhere else, that you need to read the whole passage to reach the answer or indeed that the answer cannot be deduced from the passage. Either way, if it’s difficult to find your time could be better spent gaining marks elsewhere. Make a sensible guess and move on.


Your answer must only be based on the information available in the passage. Do not try and guess the answer based on your general knowledge as this can be a trap. For example, if the question asks who the first person was to walk on the moon, then states “the three crew members of the first lunar mission were Edwin Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins”. The correct answer is “cannot tell” – even though you know it was Neil Armstrong and see his name, the passage itself does not tell you who left the landing craft first. Likewise if there is a quotation or an extract from a book which is factually inaccurate, you should answer based on the information available to you rather than what you know to be true.

If you have not been able to select the correct answer, eliminate as many of the statements as possible and guess – you have a 25 – 33% chance of guessing correctly in this section even without eliminating any answers, and if you’ve read around some keywords in the text you may well have at least some idea as to what the answer is. These odds can add a few easy marks onto your score.


There is an additional option to flag a question for review. Flagging for review has absolutely no effect on the overall score. All it does is mark the question in an easy way for it to be revisited if you have time later in the section. Once the section is complete, you cannot return to any questions, flagged or unflagged.

Coming back to questions can be inefficient – you have to read the instructions and data each time you work on the question to know what to do, so by coming back again you double the amount of time spent on doing this, leaving less time for actually answering questions. We feel the best strategy is to work steadily through the questions at a consistent and even pace.

That said, flagging for review has one great utility in Section 1. If you come across a particularly long or technical passage, you may want to flag for review immediately and skip on to the next passage. By coming back to the passage at the end, you allow yourself the remaining time on the hardest question. This has an advantage in each of two scenarios. If you’re really tight for time, at least you maximised the time you did have answering the easier questions, thereby maximising your marks. If it turns out you have extra time to spare, you can spend it on the hardest question, allowing you a better chance to get marks you otherwise would have struggled to obtain. Thus flagging for review can be useful in Section 1, but its usefulness is probably greatest when you flag questions very soon after seeing them rather than when you have already spent time trying to find the answer.

Remember to find the right balance: if you flag too many questions you will be overloaded and won’t have time to focus on them all; if you flag too few, you risk under-utilising this valuable resource. You should flag only a few questions per section to allow you to properly focus on them if you have spare time.

Worked Examples


In 287 BC, in the city of Athens, there lived a man named Archimedes who was a royal servant to the King. One day, the King received a crown as a birthday gift and wanted to know whether it was made of pure gold. He ordered Archimedes to find out whether the crown was indeed pure gold or an alloy. For many days, Archimedes pondered over the solution to this problem. He knew the density of gold, but could not calculate the volume of the crown.

One day, as he was bathing, he realised as he got into the bath that the volume of water displaced must be exactly equal to the volume of his own body. Upon this realisation he ran across the streets naked, yelling eureka! He weighed the crown and found its volume by immersing it in water and then calculated its density. He discovered that the density did not match that of pure gold. The crown was impure, and the blacksmith responsible for its manufacture suffered the consequences.

Archimedes knew the volume of the crown but could not calculate its weight



Cannot tell

Archimedes gave the crown as a birthday gift to the King



Cannot tell

The crown had silver impurities



Cannot tell

Archimedes found the weight of the crown using a balance scale



Cannot tell



– The keywords are volume and weight. Check these against the text and you will find that Archimedes could calculate the weight, but not the volume.


– Whilst it does not explicitly state the giver of the gift, the description of Archimedes as a servant and his role in investigating the crown is wholly incompatible with him being the giver of the gift.

Cannot tell

– The word silver does not appear anywhere in the passage so this statement cannot be true. But this statement is not false either because nowhere does it say that silver was not the impurity.

Cannot tell

– Through your own logic, you probably guessed that this is how Archimedes weighed the crown, but remember to only use the information within the passage and use of a balance scale is not mentioned.


Gregor Mendel was an Austrian-Hungarian monk who is regarded to be the father of genetics. Mendel was born in poverty and was often believed to suffer from autism. He studied mathematics and physics at university, but subsequently dropped out as he could not fund his studies. He joined a monastery to escape a life of poverty. He loved to collect biological specimens and from this he noticed the different traits that animals and plants possessed. Curiosity led him to experiment with plants in a greenhouse at the monastery, as experiments using animals was forbidden.

He collected pure bred pea plants of different colours (green and yellow) and bred them together. He collected the seeds and planted them, noting that all the plants of this second generation produced green peas. He cross bred this second generation of peas and replanted the seeds. Surprisingly, of the third generation, most of the peas produced were green, and a few plants produced yellow peas. From this he deduced that the pea colour was determined by a gene that had different forms, called alleles. Using mathematics he found that the ratio of green peas to yellow peas came to 9:3:3:1, now called the classical Mendelian ratio. This work led to the development of the theory of genetics and how some alleles were dominant over the other and thus deduces the phenotype of the organism in question.

Gregor Mendel was a scientist



Cannot tell

The facilities of the monastery enabled him to carry out his experiments



Cannot tell

The genotype of the organism is influenced by alleles



Cannot tell

The monastery allowed Mendel to carry out experiments on animals



Cannot tell



– This is a slightly tricky question. Mendel studied mathematics and physics, and used these skills and scientific method to produce groundbreaking scientific results. Therefore, though not explicitly stated, he is by any reasonable definition a scientist – so the statement is true.


– It says clearly that the monastery had a greenhouse that he utilised to perform experiments on plants.

Cannot tell

– Although you know this to be true from your own knowledge, it cannot be inferred from the passage.


– This is a direct contradiction to the passage which states that experimenting on animals was forbidden at the monastery.


Before the 20th century, relatively little was known about the atom. The concept that objects were made of smaller particles that could not become any smaller was theorised by two Greek philosophers; Leucippus and Democritus. They believed that if you keep cutting an object consistently, there will come a point where it will not be able to be cut any further. Therefore, the theory of the atom was established but it was not possible to explore it further.

In 1897, JJ Thompson discovered the electron. He subjected a hot metal coil into an electric field, thereby producing the first cathode ray. Importantly, he noticed that the cathode ray could be deflected by a magnetic field, when viewed under a cloud chamber, and realised that it was negatively charged. As the atom is neutral, he proposed that there must be positively charged particles that give the atom an overall neutrality. JJ Thompson put forward the plum pudding model theory of the atom; that positively charged particles and negatively charged particles are mixed together in an infinitely small region of space.

In 1911, Ernest Rutherford carried out the gold leaf experiment. He fired alpha particles at a gold leaf and found that although most of the alpha particles went through, some were deflected. Occasionally, he also saw a small spark upon collision. From this, he theorised that the atom cannot be a mixture of negatively and positively charged particles, but rather has a dense core of positively charged particles. He called these particles protons. He also realised that most of the atom is empty space.

In 1932, James Chadwick performed an experiment that discovered the final component of the atom. On observation of alpha decay, he noticed that one of the particles being emitted was not deflected by a magnetic field, hence being neutrally charged. He called this particle the neutron.

Thus, the Rutherford Model of the Atom was born; the protons and neutrons form the nucleus of the atom, which electrons in spinning in orbit.

The passage supports which of the following conclusions?

The experiments of the previous scientist led to the development and guidance of the other.

The Rutherford Atomic Model cannot be further improved.

Rutherford had the help of other scientists to put forward his theory.

The deflection of the cathode ray by magnetism was the phenomenon that led JJ Thompson to develop the Plum Pudding model.

Based on the passage, each of these statements is true except

Earnest Rutherford is from New Zealand.

James Chadwick named the neutron.

The direction of particle deflection was determined using the cloud chamber.

Most of the atom is empty space.

Using the information in the passage, it can be inferred that:

Previous to Leucippus and Democritus, no one had thought of the idea of the atom.

Rutherford is the father of nuclear physics.

The gold leaf experiment was key in discovering the atomic nucleus.

The positron also exists.

Which of the following statements about the work of Earnest Rutherford is true?

He never carried out his own experiments without assistance from others.

The experimental data from the gold leaf experiment led to the development of the Geiger counter.

He discovered that most of the atom is empty space.

The foundation of nuclear fission was built from the gold leaf experiment.



– D is the only conclusion supported by the passage, none of the other statements are mentioned in the passage. You may know from your general knowledge or simply from common sense that Rutherford had the help of other scientists, but because the passage does not mention this, it is not the answer.


– Earnest Rutherford was indeed from New Zealand, but this is not mentioned in the passage.


– There is no way that you know that A is true. The passage does not suggest that Rutherford is considered to be the father of nuclear physics. Finally, although the positron does indeed exist, this is not mentioned in the passage!


– A and B are also true but not supported in the passage. D is not mentioned in the passage and also not scientifically correct.


FOR QUESTIONS 1 – 106 decide if each of the statements is true, false or can’t tell:


The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement written by the United Nations in order to reduce the effects of climate change. This agreement sets targets for countries in order for them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. These gases are believed to be responsible for causing global warming as a result of recent industrialisation.

The Protocol was written in 1997 and each country that signed the protocol agreed to reduce their emissions to their own specific target. This agreement could only become legally binding when two conditions had been fulfilled: When 55 countries agreed to be legally bound by the agreement and when 55% of emissions from industrialised countries had been accounted for.

The first condition was met in 2002 however countries such as Australia and the United States refused to be bound by the agreement so the minimum of 55% of emissions from industrialised countries was not met. It was only after Russia joined in 2004 that allowed the protocol to come into force in 2005.

Some climate scientists have argued that the target combined reduction of 5.2% emissions from industrialised nations would not be enough to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. In order to have a significant impact, we would need to aim at reducing emissions by 60% and to get larger countries such as the US to support the agreement.

The Kyoto Protocol is legally binding in all industrialised countries.

The greenhouse gas emissions from Australia and the United States represent 45% of emissions from industrialised countries.

Each country chose the amount by which they would reduce their own emissions.

The global emission of greenhouse gases has reduced since 2005.

The harmful effects of climate change would be avoided if all countries reduced their emissions by 60%.


The space race was a competition between the Soviet Union and the United States to show off their technological superiority and economic power. It took place during the Cold War when there was a tense relationship between these nations. As the technology used in space exploration could also have military applications, both nations had many scientists and technicians involved.

In 1957, the USSR launched the first artificial satellite into the Earth’s orbit, named Sputnik. The launch of this satellite was one of the first steps towards space exploration. The Americans were worried that the Soviets could use similar technology to launch nuclear warheads. This prompted urgency within the Americans, leading President Eisenhower to found NASA, and so began the space race.

The Soviets took another step forward in April 1961 when they sent the first person into space, a cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin. This prompted President John F. Kennedy to make the unexpected claim that the US would beat the Soviets to land a man on the moon and that they would do so before the end of the decade. This led to the foundation of Project Apollo, a programme designed to do this.

In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set off for the moon on the Apollo 11 space mission and became the first astronauts to walk on the moon. Neil Armstrong famously said “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This lunar landing led the US to win the space race that started with Sputnik’s launch in 1957.

The Soviet Union were mainly concerned with launching satellites into space for a military advantage over the United States.

Project Apollo was founded in order for the United States to defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

Yuri Gagarin did not become the first man on the moon because the Soviet technology could not handle the conditions on the moon.

The United States began their attempts at space exploration when the Soviets launched Sputnik.

The United States were losing the space race when John F. Kennedy said they would land a man on the moon.


A marathon is a long distance running event that is 26.2 miles long. This race was named after the famous Battle of Marathon. The first Persian invasion of Greece took place in 490 BC. The Greek soldiers did not expect to defeat the Persian army, which had greater numbers and superior cavalry. The Greek commander utilised a tactical flank to defeat the Persians forcing them to retreat back to Asia. According to legend, the fastest Greek runner, Pheidippides, was ordered to run from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians, but then collapsed and died of exhaustion. This legendary 25 mile journey from Marathon to Athens is the basis for modern marathons.

The initial organisers of the Olympic Games in 1896 wanted an event that would celebrate the glory of Ancient Greece. They therefore chose to use the same course that Pheidippides ran. In subsequent Olympic Games, the exact length of the route depended on the location but was roughly similar to the 25 mile distance. The current standardised distance of 26.2 miles has been chosen by the IAAF and used since 1921, and has been taken from the distance used at the 1908 Olympics in London. Nowadays, more than 500 marathons are organised each year.

Pheidippides was chosen as he was the only Greek runner determined enough to make the journey to Athens

Marathon distances have been standardised since the 1908 Olympics

The Persian commander believed he would defeat the Greeks in the Battle of Marathon.

The original route from Marathon to Athens is used for IAAF marathons today.

The Persian soldiers were trained better than the Greek soldiers.


Many species of bird migrate northwards in the spring to take advantage of the abundance of nesting locations and insects to eat. As the availability of food resources decreases during the winter to the point where the birds cannot survive, the birds migrate south again. Some species are capable of flying all the way around the earth.

The act of migration itself can be risky for birds due to the amount of energy required to sustain flight over these long distances. Many juvenile birds can die from exhaustion during their first migration. Due to this inherent risk of migration, many species of birds have acquired different adaptations to increase the efficiency of flight. Flying with other birds in certain formations can allow their flight patterns to be more energy efficient.

The Northern bald ibis migrates from Austria to Italy. The behaviour of these birds is such that they migrate together within a flock and each individual bird continuously changes its position within the flock. Each individual bird benefits by spending some time flying in the updraft produced by the leading birds and a proportional amount of time leading the formation. Although it would theoretically be possible for an individual bird to take advantage of this energy-efficient flight without leading the formation itself, no Northern bald ibis has been shown to do this.

As migration is risky and dangerous, it would be better for birds not to migrate.

All migrating birds do so in flocks to increase their efficiency

All the birds within a flock of Northern bald ibis benefit from flocking behaviour

A bird within a Northern bald ibis flock that does not lead will be forbidden from flying with the rest of the flock

The migration timing depends on different seasons


The dramatic decline of the bee population in the UK has been attributed to a number of causes such as the loss of wild flowers in the countryside. Bees require these wildflowers for food and it has been estimated that 97% of the flower-rich grassland has been lost since the 1930s. Other causes include climate change and pesticides that are toxic to bees. This is particularly problematic in the UK, which has had a 50% reduction in the honey bee population between 1985 and 2005 whilst the rest of Europe has only averaged a 20% reduction during the same time period.

This loss of flowers from the British countryside has been caused by agricultural pressures. In order to increase food production, traditional farming methods have been abandoned in favour of techniques that increase productivity. These techniques, however, involve the reduction of wild flowers.

Bumblebees are required to pollinate wildflowers and commercial crops. A reduction of wildflower pollination will result in their decline, which will ultimately affect other wildlife as they can be involved in a complex food chain. The commercial crops will need to be pollinated artificially using expensive methods that will ultimately drive up the price of fruits and vegetables. The global economic value of pollination from bees has been estimated at €265 billion annually.

The bee population in the UK has decreased by 97% since the 1930s.

The UK is the country with the largest decline in bee population

Reverting back to traditional farming methods will decrease the overall production of food

Artificial pollination will be capable of replacing bees if it becomes cheap enough

Increasing pesticide-free fruit and vegetable growth will slow the decline in bee population


Driving in snowy and icy conditions can be dangerous as it increases stopping distances. The stopping distance represents how far a car will travel before slowing down to a halt. It is made up of the thinking distance, which is how long it takes for a driver to react, and the braking distance, which represents the time taken for the brakes to fully stop the car.

It is advised to fit winter tyres during the winter season as these have much better grip on snow and ice. These tyres are made out of a softer material than regular tyres, allowing them to have more traction at colder temperatures. This ultimately reduces the braking distance.

As the brakes are not very effective at stopping a vehicle on icy roads, it is recommended to steer out of trouble if possible rather than applying the brakes. It is therefore important to be travelling at slower speeds to avoid the need to suddenly brake.

If the car is stuck and cannot move, the driver can stay warm by running the engine to generate heat. However, if the exhaust pipe becomes blocked by snow and the fumes cannot escape then the engine must be turned off. This is because the engine produces carbon monoxide, which is extremely toxic and odourless.

Driving whilst tired increases the braking distance.

Regular tyres are more dangerous than winter tyres in cold conditions as they are harder

It is always safe to run the engine for heat in cold conditions

It is dangerous to use winter tyres in hot summer conditions.

To avoid a collision on icy surfaces, it is important to gently apply the brakes.


The Socratic method is a form of philosophical questioning named after the Greek philosopher Socrates. It takes place as a dialogue between Socrates and another individual and attempts to investigate difficult concepts such as justice and ethics. In this dialogue, Socrates’ partner puts forward an opinion or a thesis. Socrates then proposes extra premises that will attempt to disprove the original thesis. If there is an opposition, this shows that the original thesis is false and that the opposite is true.

In this dialogue, Socrates often showed other philosophers and thinkers how their reasoning was wrong. Some respected him for doing so as he was aware of the fact that his knowledge was limited and that he was merely questioning everything critically. However, many people were angered by him asking questions without providing any answers to these difficult questions himself. This led to him making a number of enemies in Greece.

In 399 BC, Socrates was accused of heresy and corruption of the youth by three of his enemies. He was then trialled and found guilty by the jury and so sentenced to death by drinking the poison hemlock. One of his friends, Crito, bribed the guards to allow Socrates to escape; however he chose not to flee away. Many have referred to him as a martyr as he chose to die standing for knowledge and wisdom.

Socrates was the first person to use this method of questioning.

The Socratic method questions the wisdom of the person forming the opinions.

As described in the passage, the Socratic method involved corrupting the youth and heresy.

Socrates chose not to escape from prison because he was afraid his enemies would find him again.

Socrates was able to define concepts such as justice and ethics himself.


The Anglo-Saxons were the group of people who lived in England between the 5th Century and the Norman conquest in 1066 AD. When the Germanic tribes of the Saxons, Angles and Jutes came to Britain in 449 AD, they pushed the Celtic Britons who were there before them up into Wales. The combination of the Germanic dialects of these different tribes became Anglo-Saxon or Old English.

Old English is very different from Modern English and uses more Germanic words and its grammar is closer to Old German. If English speakers were to read a passage of Old English, they would struggle to understand any more than a few words. It is thought that this Old English is most similar to the Dutch dialect spoken in Friesland, a province in the north of the Netherlands. One of the famous literary works written in Old English was the poem Beowulf. It is not known who wrote this poem and only one original manuscript of the poem still exists today. The story involves the hero Beowulf who fights and kills the giant Grendel. All the people celebrate the death of Grendel however Grendel’s mother comes to the town and attempts to kill as many people for revenge. Beowulf then fights Grendel’s mother and kills her as well.

The Jute tribe did not contribute to the Anglo-Saxon language.

German speakers would be able to read Beowulf in its original language.

Beowulf was the strongest warrior at that time.

A dialect of Old English is currently spoken in the Netherlands.

The Celts lived in England in 449 AD


A constellation is a group of stars that are often visible forming a pattern in the sky. The constellation’s visibility depends on a number of factors. The biggest factor is your position on the Earth, for example the constellation Cassiopeia is only visible in the northern hemisphere. As the Earth orbits the Sun, another significant factor affecting constellation visibility is the season on Earth.

As the Earth rotates on its own axis, certain stars and constellations can appear to rise and fall in the night sky. Constellations that do not move in this manner are called circumpolar. This factor can allow people to navigate on the Earth using the positioning of the stars. This is especially useful during marine navigation as there are no visible landmarks. The most commonly used star for navigation is the North Star Polaris, as its position is constant within the night sky.

There are 12 constellations that take the form of animals or humans known as the zodiac signs. This is the basis for the origin of star signs in astrology, which suggests that human behaviour is influenced by the celestial phenomena. The star sign of a person represents the position of the sun at the moment of their birth. The zodiac sign which shares the same position as the sun in the sky becomes their star sign.

Certain stars are not visible from the southern hemisphere

The constellation Cassiopeia is circumpolar

Star signs are chosen by the constellations visible at birth

Polaris is used for navigation as it is the brightest star in the sky

Different constellations are visible from London and Sydney.

SET 10

Maple syrup is a sweet syrup made from maple trees. The sap from the trees is harvested during March. It is then boiled to evaporate water, making it denser and sweeter. It takes roughly 40 litres of maple sap to produce 1 litre of maple syrup. This current process is very similar to that used by the Native Americans except it uses more advanced equipment.

According to American Indian legend, the maple trees originally made life free from hardship. They produced a thick syrup all year round which the people would drink. A mythological creature named Glooskap saw that the people of a village were strangely silent. The men were not getting ready to hunt and the women were not minding the fires. He found the villagers sitting near the maple trees letting its syrup drip into their mouth.

Glooskap was angered by their laziness and used his powers to fill the trees with water so that they would only produce a dilute, watery sap. This meant that the people had to boil the sap to produce the sweet syrup. Although it wasn’t very difficult to do this, it meant that they had to look after their fires and gather firewood. Furthermore, it meant that the trees were not able to produce enough sap to sustain the people all year so they would be forced to hunt and forage during the spring and summer.

Sweet syrup can be made from the sap from other trees.

Glooskap was angered because there was no syrup left for him to drink.

The technique for making maple syrup is similar to that used in the time of the American Indian legends.

Sap is only harvested from maple trees for one month a year.

Hunting animals was more difficult than drinking maple syrup.

SET 11

Stockholm syndrome is an interesting phenomenon that sometimes happens to people who have been kidnapped or held hostage. They may feel some loyalty or attraction towards the person that has kidnapped them.

This phenomenon was named after a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973. Four bank workers were kept hostage by two criminals who wanted to rob the bank. After being held against their will for six days, they showed that they had formed a positive relationship with their captors. The hostages were seen to be hugging and kissing the men who had kidnapped them.

It can be hard to explain why this might be the case as it involves the captor putting the hostage in a terrifying situation. In the mind of the hostage it is this person who can ultimately decide if the hostage is going to die. As a result of this fear of death, any small act of kindness prompts them to be thankful for the gift of life. This can ultimately lead to them developing Stockholm syndrome.