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Print UKCAT Decision Analysis: Ging, Gang, Goolie by the Campfire

You are probably familiar with the UKCAT data analysis exam: you need to deduct certain information from a seemingly complex table and a related key to find the correct answers.

Let’s look at a fine example of how to do this the most efficient way!

Here is a typical table you can find at the UKCAT.






Given the code: ‘8, AJ13, G, AJC’ and using the extract from a code table above, what is the best interpretation of the code?





1. The burnt food was awful.

2. The cooked food was really nice.

3. The campfire feast was great.

4. The campfire food is the best.

5. The fire cooked the hog roast to a turn.

First of all we need to decode the elements into their literal form which would be: ‘Fire, opposite decrease food, past, opposite decrease like.’

Fine... but where do we go from here?

The code is made up of four elements and we shall look at each in turn.

First thing first : is the ‘8’ which translates as ‘Fire’ which seems reasonably straightforward but do not forget to consider synonyms and other related words. Fire is hot and it burns and, as we shall see, food is also mentioned so cooking seems a reasonable interpretation as well.

There is one further thing as well. Each test comprises 28 questions and is prefaced by a scenario setting the scene for the codes. The scenario for this code table was about a group of scouts at their jamboree using the codes to signal between their dormitories. In this context the ‘fire’ could very easily be a campfire.

The second element: ‘AJ13’. It is important to note that this is not ‘A(J13)’ where you would have to apply the decrease to food before taking the opposite. ‘Decrease food’ might have been ‘eat’ and therefore the negative might have been ‘regurgitate’ which is a little unlikely unless my cousin was the camp cook J So, the opposite of ‘decrease’ is ‘increase’ and a reasonable interpretation of ‘increase food’ might be ‘lots of food’, ‘plenty’, ‘feast’ or ‘hog roast’.

Here comes the third item : ‘G’ which means ‘past’. This is generally used to denote tense and express things in the past or future with ‘opposite past’. This can simply mean the use of ‘was’ or ‘were’ or it can convert a selected verb into the past tense such as ‘cooked’. However, it is important that the verb tense is applied to the correct portion of the sentence.

Last but not least : we have ‘AJC’ which is ‘opposite decrease like’ or ‘increase like’. This might be ‘like very much’ or ‘great’ or ‘terrific’. As with the second element it is important to apply the negative at the appropriate time otherwise it could translate as ‘opposite (decrease like)’ which could be mildly dislike or even awful.

And the magic formula is...

Now we can take a look at the given answers and see which is correct or eliminate those which are definitely incorrect.

Number 4 uses ‘is’ in the present tense which contradicts the third element ‘G’ and so it is wrong.

Number 1 doesn’t really make use of the ‘increase’ with ‘food’ and misapplies the ‘opposite’ to ‘like’ rather than the ‘decrease’.

Number 5 makes double use of the first element as ‘fire’ quite literally and then again as ‘cooked’ to work with the food element. Using the idiomatic ‘to a turn’ would be quite acceptable.

Number 2 is close but doesn’t really make use of the ‘increase’ relating to the food.

Number 3 interprets ‘fire’ as campfire which is good in this context, ‘increase food’ is ‘feast’ and ‘increase like’ is ‘great’ which makes it the correct answer.

Wasn’t it easy? Hope it was! If you are interested in more UKCAT decision analysis practice, check our packages and tests!

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