The Scratch Pad in Action Part 2: Maximise Your Performance in the UCAT

UCAT Revision Tips

2020-07-03

Need more guidance on using the scratch pad during the UCAT? We have prepared another blog article showing you how to use the scratch pad to solve a UCAT question.

During the UCAT, you will face questions requiring you to perform simple calculations and then to compare two or more numbers/values. Alternatively, you may come across questions that require you to perform multiple steps of calculations.

For these questions, you may find it useful to use a whiteboard or the scratch pad to quickly jot down some numbers as you perform another set of calculations. This is important as:

  1. You can easily forget a number due to a momentary lapse in concentration or by confusing it with another number from a previous question.
  2. Performing multiple calculations on the calculator at once may lead to error due to the order of operations. 

It is perfectly fine to write down this number on a whiteboard. However, if you use a scratch pad, you can save some of your precious time. First, you don’t have to look away from the screen to write and read your notes. Second, you can easily clear the scratch pad with a couple of keyboard strokes, which is faster than erasing the whiteboard.

In this article, we will show you, step-by-step, how to solve one such question. The example below is a Quantitative Reasoning question from Medify’s Online UCAT Course.

Worked Example #2

1. Consider the Money question below:

A quantitative reasoning section question from Medify's Online UCAT Course

2. This is a rather simple question, requiring a set of basic arithmetic operations. You need to work out the price of the pens, then the price of engraving, and add the two. Let’s tackle this using a scratch pad.

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

UCAT scratch pad pop up window

4. First, work out the price of the pens. Since they can be purchased in boxes of 10, you will need to purchase 13 boxes to have enough for 126 students. £3 x 13 = £39. Write this on the scratch pad. To save time, don’t worry about the units.

UCAT scratch pad pop up window, showing some working

5. Now, use the shortcut ‘ALT + C’ to bring up the calculator and work out the price of engraving, which is £0.15 x 126 = £18.90.

UCAT calculator pop up window

6. Now, simply add the two numbers together (add £39 displayed on the scratch pad to £18.90 already on the calculator) to arrive at the answer of £57.90. There is your answer!

UCAT calculator pop up window, showing the answer of 57.9

A Bonus Tip - You Can Use Both the Calculator and the Scratch Pad at the Same Time

Something that you might’ve realized already is that you can display both the calculator and the scratch pad at the same time on the test screen. This can be very useful for solving more complex types of questions in the Quantitative Reasoning section of the UCAT. 

If you need to use both the calculator and the scratch pad simultaneously, and need more space, you should note that you can drag the bottom-right corner of the scratch pad to resize it. This ensures that you don’t completely block off the view of the question, in case you need to check some details.

UCAT scratch pad and calculator displayed on one screen
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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