Beware the Absolute Answer

Verbal Reasoning Tips and Tricks
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Beware the Absolute Answer

With time being short in the UKCAT verbal reasoning paper, it’s often necessary to skim-read passages, rather than reading them in depth. This can occasionally lead to problems, as some answers may rely on just one or two words to interpret correctly.

This is particularly relevant when dealing with ‘absolute’ or ‘extreme’ statements, such as never or always. These phrases are very strong, and therefore take a lot to prove as correct. If you spot one such word in a question, look carefully for just one piece of information as evidence either way, and the answer should be easily answerable – good for getting quick points.


The author of the article has never visited the Eiffel Tower.

In using the word never, this question is making a very bold statement, which should be easy to prove or disprove. Read the passage carefully – any evidence suggesting a visit would automatically disprove the statement, and should be easy to spot. Often the answer to such questions is can’t tell or false, as few passages actually make such black and white statements.

Other Examples

Other uses of ‘absolute’ phrases are listed below, but many more likely exist:

Always Never All None
Only Solely Must Proves
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