UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Tips: Currency Exchange and Speed / Acceleration

UCAT Section Advice

2020-04-17

The UCAT quantitative reasoning section contains a mixture of different question types and it is a great idea to familiarise yourself with tackling each subtype of questions to maximise accuracy and efficiency. Here, we provide some tips for solving the currency exchange and speed/acceleration questions that come up often in the UCAT.

Build a solid UCAT foundation:

You have 24 minutes to answer 36 questions in the UCAT quantitative reasoning section, meaning that you only have 40 seconds per question. With so little time available, it is critical to know the fundamental formulae off the top of your head, without needing to pause to think about them.

The formula for currency exchange is:

Currency rate = Currency you are taking (i.e. money after exchange) ÷ Currency you are giving (i.e. money before exchange).

The formula for speed is:

Speed = Distance travelled ÷ Time taken

The formula for acceleration is:

Acceleration = Change in speed ÷ Time taken

Use the magic UCAT triangles:

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the formulae above, we would like to introduce you to the magic triangles that make it super easy to manipulate different variables within each formula.

If you want to work out the value of a particular component of a formula, all you need to do is to ignore the component of interest and focus on the rest of the formula. For example, if you wanted to calculate “Distance”, you would only look at “Speed” and “Time”, and if you wanted to calculate “Currency rate”, you would only look at “Currency you are taking” and “Currency you are giving”. If the two components you are looking at are next to each other, you would multiply them (e.g. Distance = Speed x Time), and if one is on top of the other, you would divide the top value by the bottom value (e.g. Currency rate = Currency you are taking ÷ Currency you are giving).

Practice in your daily life and with practice UCAT questions:

Currency exchange and speed/acceleration are concepts often encountered in our daily lives, so why not make good use of this? For example, whenever you pass a bank or a foreign currency exchange service and see the sign displaying various exchange rates, you can ask yourself, how much would $100 be worth in other currencies, or how many dollars do you need to purchase a set amount of other currencies?

The same goes for speed and acceleration. For example, as you go to school each day, you can ask yourself how long would your journey take if you were walking at 5km/h, biking at 25km/h or driving at 50km/h (first work out the approximate distance using Google Maps). Conversely, you can work out the average speed it took for you to get to school, based on how long it took you.

Of course, such practice can only get you so far. The real questions in the UCAT will involve more than simple calculations, such as applying the concept of commissions for currency exchange or an additional step for converting units when working out the speed or acceleration. You should aim to go through as many practice questions as possible to deal with these variations effectively.


Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious? Please don’t worry, head over to our UCAT 2020 Online Course and we’ll get you signed up to guide you through this whole process.

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’s here to support you, just reach out to us.

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