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New Situational Judgement Question Format in UCAT 2022 Exam

In 2022, there will be a new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question. It’s similar to previous UCAT Situational Judgement questions, but there are some changes to the structure of the question and what it is asking you to do. This blog describes this type of UCAT Situational Judgement question in more detail, including why it was introduced and how to approach it.

What is the new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question?

The new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question isn’t really new, it’s just a variation of standard Situational Judgement questions.

Standard SJT Questions

Standard Situational Judgement appropriateness and importance questions include four answer options.

Appropriateness UCAT Situational Judgement questions: Asked to rate the appropriateness of a series of options in response to a scenario. You have to select whether the response is:

  • A very appropriate thing to do

  • Appropriate, but not ideal

  • Inappropriate, but not awful

  • A very inappropriate thing to do

Importance UCAT Situational Judgement questions: For these set of questions, you will be asked to judge how important a series of factors are when deciding upon the response to a scenario. You have to select whether the factor in hand is:

  • Very important

  • Important

  • Of minor importance

  • Not important at all

New SJT Question Format

In the ‘new’ type of question, only two options are presented.

Appropriateness questions:

  • Appropriate

  • Not appropriate

From now onwards, a new question type will give candidates a list of responses to a scenario – typically 3 – and ask them to identify the most and least appropriate of the selection as it relates to the given situation.

Importance questions:

  • Important

  • Not important

Under this new question type, candidates will get a list of factors – typically 3 – and ask them to identify the most and least important of the selection as it relates to the given situation.

It is likely that there will be a minimum of 2-3 questions of this style in the 2022 UCAT.

There is also a change to the format of the question, which is now presented in a similar format to most / least appropriate questions. In this type of question, you need to ‘drag and drop’ your answer next to each response, deciding if the response is appropriate / not appropriate or important / not important

Instead of evaluating a single response and deciding if it is appropriate / not appropriate or important / not important, your task is to consider three responses and whether each of them is appropriate / not appropriate or important / not important.

Therefore, this type of question is overall more time consuming.


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What will the new type of UCAT Situational Judgement question be like?

Let's solve one question of new UCAT SJ type!


  • That patients who require pain relief may not receive it: Important

  • That raising his concerns about Peter's decisions may create an unpleasant work atmosphere: Not Important

  • That Jacob is a medical student with limited knowledge of pain medication: Not Important

The most important consideration in this scenario relates to patient care – that is, that patients who require pain relief may not receive it. It is therefore vital that Jacob raise his concerns with Peter.

It is always important to maintain good relationships with colleagues, but not at the expense of patient care. Therefore, the fact that Jacob's concerns may create an unpleasant work atmosphere is not important. Furthermore, it is unlikely that Jacob raising his concerns with Peter will lead to conflict, as the primary concern is to ensure patients are receiving the appropriate treatment. If anything, it may become a teaching opportunity, where Jacob learns more about appropriate prescribing.

The fact that Jacob is a medical student with limited knowledge of pain medication is not important. While it may be true that Jacob’s knowledge of pain and pain relief is limited, he has made an observation that raises the possibility of patients not receiving the care and treatment they require. He therefore has an obligation to report his concerns. If he does not, patients may be left without their pain being adequately treated.

Why was this change introduced?

Like any good exam, UCAT is constantly evolving and changing. Ongoing research, statistical analysis of student performance and preferences of universities all have an impact on the content of UCAT.

In essence, the UCAT Consortium have introduced this type of question to decide if it is a better way of assessing Situational Judgement than previous question types. If statistical analysis of student performance shows that it is as good (or better), then it will be used in future UCAT exams. If analysis shows it is not a good discriminator between high and low performing students, it will not be included in future exams.

How many of these questions will I get?

It is likely that you will get 2-3 of these 'new' UCAT Situational Judgement question types in your live UCAT. The new format may be present in any of the following UCAT Situational Judgement question types:

  • Appropriateness questions

  • Importance questions

How should I approach this ‘new’ type of question?

You should approach this type of question in a similar way to how you approach standard UCAT Situational Judgement questions. We at GuideMe pride on our Strategies for approaching the UCAT Situational Judgement questions.

These questions tend to be more time consuming than standard UCAT Situational Judgement appropriateness or importance questions, so it is important to keep this in mind. You could, for example, leave these types of questions until last.

What Is UCAT Situational Judgement Test? What does it test?

The Situational Judgement Test UCAT measures your capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them. This is an exam that will recur throughout your studies as both a medical student and as a doctor through your speciality exams and when applying to the foundation programme. These UCAT SJT Questions are very different to any in the exam, which requires their strategy and technique.

The UCAT website identifies the following key values and behaviours that will be assessed as part of the Situational Judgement Test:

  • Integrity

  • Perspective taking

  • Team involvement

  • Resilience

  • Adaptability

It’s important that doctors respond appropriately in situations, to maintain professionalism and uphold trust in the profession; therefore, the values and behaviours assessed in the UCAT Situational Judgement Test are important for prospective doctors.

What Is A Good Score In The Situational Judgement Test?

A good situational judgement score in the UK would be band 2, with a high score being in band 1.

Previous UCAT Situational Judgement Bands:

Previous Average UCAT ANZ Situational Judgement Scores:


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