The Scratch Pad in Action Part 1: Maximise Your Performance in the UCAT

UCAT Revision Tips

2020-07-01

Are you feeling a bit unsure on how to use the new scratch pad feature during the UCAT? We have prepared a blog article that shows you how to use the scratch pad effectively and efficiently with a step-by-step worked example.

In the UCAT, you have the option of using a physical whiteboard, the scratch pad, or both. Some candidates may prefer to use a whiteboard only and some may prefer to use the combination of a whiteboard and the scratch pad. 

Try solving a range of questions both ways and see which method you prefer to use for certain types of questions. Here, we show you an example of solving a question using the scratch pad.

Worked Example #1

1. Consider the Decision Making section question below from Medify’s free UCAT demo:

A decision making section question from Medify's UCAT demo

2. It becomes immediately apparent that this question may be challenging to solve entirely in your head. Let’s try using the scratch pad to solve this problem. It would be useful to use the abbreviation T for triangle, S for square, C for circle and R for rectangle in your working.

3. Use the shortcut ‘ALT + D’ to bring up the scratch pad.

UCAT scratch pad pop up window

4. The first step to solving this problem would be recognizing that a circle can be taken away from each side of the bottom equation (in the question) to yield: R = C + ?

UCAT scratch pad pop up window, showing some working

5. The second step would be to take away a square from each side of the third equation (in the question) to yield: C + T = R

UCAT scratch pad pop up window, showing some working

6. Now, when you compare the second line and fourth line in the scratch pad, it becomes obvious that they are the same equation and ? has to be T (triangle). There is your answer!

UCAT scratch pad pop up window, showing some working

7. After selecting your answer, you can use the shortcut ‘ALT + N’ to move on to the next question. The scratch pad will automatically close.

As you can see, a question like this can be easily solved with the aid of the scratch pad. In fact, with some practice you may even find the scratch pad being more efficient compared to a physical whiteboard for some types of questions.

A Bonus Tip - Clearing the Scratch Pad Quickly

The scratch pad automatically closes when you go to the next question, as described above, or when you press the ‘Close’ button. In either case, the notes that you have typed stays on the scratch pad.

As you add more lines, the scratch pad will continue to scroll down. It can be quite distracting to have lots of notes being piled up on your scratch pad. If you want to clear the scratch pad quickly, we recommend using the shortcut ‘Control + A’ (Windows) or ‘Command + A’ (Mac), followed by pressing the delete button on your keyboard.

Of course, you can use your mouse to drag all text on the scratch pad and then press the delete button, but using the keyboard shortcut will definitely save you some time.

Medify’s UCAT helping hand in a blue circle with a yellow smiling emoji

Want to get some practice using the scratch pad? Head over to Medify’s UCAT online course now. We have a bank of over 10,000 questions, a decision-making section, and 8 full mock exams and 18 mini-mock exams; we even give you performance feedback too. 

We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009. Medify is here to support you, just reach out to us.

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