UMAT Test 1

This is a sample UMAT Test. 

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Data Interpretation

What is the answer to this question?

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Chapter 1

Some people seem to be born better critical thinkers than others. However, anyone can become a good critical thinker by practicing skills and by gaining experience.

In short, to develop critical thinking skills:

  • Work through this guide! It's important that you don't just passively read this guide - you need to read it actively and interact with it. That means noting down the key points, thinking of your own examples and attempting the example questions before reading the answers. Another good way to engage with the information is to explain it to someone else (perhaps a parent or friend). In short, make this guide a critical thinking task in itself!
  • Practice critical thinking problems. There are numerous resources and practice questions available on the LMS to give you experience in critical thinking and to practice your newly acquired thinking skills.
  • Practice your critical thinking skills in everyday life. When you read a newspaper, listen to the news, or even talk to your friends, analyse the type of arguments they are using with a critical thinking framework. Debating issues with your friends and family can also be a great way to test out your own arguments. Just try not to annoy them too much when you begin to point out all their logical flaws!
  • Familiarise yourself with how information is presented in different media. Often the greatest impediment to critical thinking is lack of familiarity with different text types, such as graphs, scientific reports and articles. This can be managed by seeking out a wide range of newspapers, journals, websites and news programs to examine how the same information is communicated. In critical thinking, you never run out of material for study.

Chapter 2

To illustrate what it means to have a critical frame of mind, let's look at an argument about the justifications of torture from the Guardian Newspaper:

“Everybody says they're opposed to torture. But everyone would do it personally if they knew it could save the life of a kidnapped child who had only two hours of oxygen left before death. And it would be the right thing to do.”

A passive thinker might read this and just continue on with the rest of the article. They might accept the argument, saying, "It seems reasonable enough." But a critical thinker will go deeper, and they will engage with the material by asking themselves some questions, for example:

  • Would everybody carry out torture in this situation?
  • What are the assumptions behind this argument? Do we have the right person in custody? Will torture be effective in saving the child?
  • Why is the author using the phrase "kidnapped child"? Are they being dramatic to try and persuade me?
  • And importantly: does admitting that you would carry out torture if forced to mean that it's "the right thing to do"? Could it be "the wrong thing to do", even though you would still carry it out?

There are hundreds of questions provoked by the simple argument above.

Even if you agree with the conclusion of the argument about torture, asking these types of questions is the mark of a good critical thinker. In fact, questions are the foundation of all critical thinking, because they force us to be active with information. Critical thinkers are always actively interpreting, analysing and organising. But most of all, they are continually asking themselves questions about the world they encounter. There are hundreds of schemes for learning critical thinking that have been developed, but they are all reducible to the one analytical ability, the ability to question oneself and what one is reading.

Okay, so I have to ask myself questions, but what are the right questions to ask? The aim of this guide is to train you in how to ask questions and the right type of questions to be asking, so that you develop into a critical thinker.

Chapter 3 - Video

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This video is about Section 3 of the UMAT.

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Drills

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Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving

Introduction question. What is the answer?

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Guide 1

Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving

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