82 Abstract Reasoning Patterns You Might Encounter

mesh, pattern, grid

Abstract reasoning is all about being able to spot patterns quickly! Having some ideas about which patterns may come up can help you locate sequences quicker on test day. This doesn’t mean that you have to memorise any of these. You certainly don’t! Just keep some in the back of your mind and be aware similar things might crop up in the exam.

mesh, pattern, grid
82 Abstract Reasoning Patterns You Might Encounter

1. 3 shapes instead of 2 shapes in each box

2. Each set has different number of total sides

3. At least one circle in each shape other shapes have straight edges

4. Arrows all pointing anywhere but right

5. Arrows all pointing anywhere but left

6. Rotational symmetry has order of 2/4

7. All black/grey objects fit together in white circle

8. All have same number of white, black or grey areas

9. Multiply hour hand by minute hand

10. All shapes have same object to make up eyes and mouth

11. Small objects linked by straight line without encountering another object

12. Large object is white and number of black circles is equal to number of sides plus one

13. Prime number of intersections the line passes through

14. Each contains at least one happy and sad face

15. Set A being odd number of points and set B even number of points

16. One black shape in each and either triangle or quadrilateral

17. Number of sides of shapes equals number of double-headed arrows

18. Diamond moves diagonally and cross moves anticlockwise

19. Each box has at least two shapes – largest being circle or square

20. Circles on bottom half unless hexagon present

21. When arrows on top of each other or vice versa more circles or more squares

22. Two circles equals patterned shape and one arrow equals black shape

23. White shape has 3/5 more sides than the black shape

24. Total number of enclosed regions is three/2 (sticks)

25. Two curved shapes = triangle present (one overlap = black triangle, 2 = striped triangle 3= white triangle)

26. Two straight shapes and triangle present

27. Dashed circles in corners (big shapes sides is 4+number of circles)

28. Dashed circles on sides (big shapes sides is 2+ number of circles)

29. 8 sides but count number of sides on black as double and biggest shape is in lowest position

30. Hand points to odd number, minutes points to even number

31. Shaded and unshaded groups are separate/overlap

32. Four corners occupied by four distinct shapes and three circles with various patterns

33. Shape with prime number of sides has dotted edges and non-prime is full edges

34. Arrow points up when circle triangle and quadrilateral present

35. 15 symmetrical letters formed into three words/four words

36. Imaginary lines drawn between triangles encloses all circles vice versa

37. Ellipse points to square/circle

38. Multiples of 5 dots/6 dots

39. Shape intersects square at corner vs. on sides

40. More dots inside outlines shape than outside

41. All triangles are above the squares

42. Self crosses line once and if curved line then circle present

43. Total number of sides is even

44. Odd number of overlaps and even number of lines

45. Two black and two grey

46. Number of sides of shape is number of arrows and all arrows parallel

47. The number of intersecting lines is twice the circles

48. Odd number of objects

49. Number of shape sides is one greater than intersections of lines

50. Position of black circle determine triangle colour

51. Filled shapes on one side of box and sided shapes can have a line through

52. Sides add up to 18/19

53. White circle means off number of intersections and vice versa

54. Only one point of contact between shapes

55. Always quadrilateral to left of crescent

56. Four vertical lines and three horizontal lines, square at top and circle at bottom

57. Number of shapes is one more than makes up the lines of zigzag

58. Square equal to one point and triangle two (all add to 5)

59. Even number of shapes, none shaded and ignore smiley faces

60. Even/odd number of curved sides

61. Number of black dots is prime number/not prime number

62. All dots attached to two other dots

63. Number of total sides e.g 7 in set A and 13 in set B. Can also be odd and even. Basic Sequence.

64. Number of shapes with curved sides / curved+straight sides

65. Which shape is always present? maybe the heart is always present in one sequence? If so, sometimes the precense of one shape means the presence of another, or the absence. This is a relative relationship.

66. Arrow may be pointing in all directions but one.

67. How many lines of symmetry? Remember a double sided arrow has 2 lines of symmetry.

68. All black objects can fit inside the white shapes or vice versa.

69. Number of times a colour occurs e.g 2-black, 1 grey, 3 white in each box.

70. Clocks can have hands that multiply, add, divide or minus to give certain numbers of significance. Such as odd or even.

71. Angles between clock hands are also significant. Each division can equal 30 degrees.

72. For shapes that create a facial element, the facial elements might have lines of symmetry, or may sum up to give a number of significance. The sides can also be summed.

73. Which elements can be joined by 1 uninterupted line? maybe all the circles despite colour can be joined by one uninterrupted line in one set, and in the other, only squares.

74. Number of sides of large shape is the same as the number of small elements.

75. Key object may be in the corner. A different color version of the object may be located 2 spaces away, and another, 3 spaces away. Essentially there is a change in spaces away from the key object.

76. More shapes with straight edges than curved.

77. Dominoes – total dots are odd or even.

78. Spirals – May run clockwise or anticlockwise. Number of elements may be irrelevant.

79. Prime number of stuff showing up. Prime numbers can be considered numbers of significance.

80. Even sided shapes may have even numbers written inside them. This can also be inversed.

81. Shapes are mirrored in an axis.

82. Number of white shapes is always odd and exceeds black shapes. Can be inversed and vice-versa.


It would be easy to say that if you memorise all these sequences, you will score in the top 99th percentile, however you must still do your own revision, and learn strategies which are best for you.

None of these sets are meant to be memorised. They are simply meant to keep you aware of the types of things you could potentially be looking out for!

The most effective abstract reasoning revision practice you can do is with real questions. This will allow you to attach actual images to the patterns. Head over to my question bank, i’ll see you there!


Many of these are provided by the medical student from the youtube channel Akku S.

The SCANS method is also an ideal way to interrogate abstract reasoning patterns. Read more about it below!

The medic Portal also has a rigorous way to analyse sequences.

Do you want some extra UCAT tips?

Get a list of 20 secret UCAT tips used by the best students to improve their scores on test day!

1 Comment

  1. Suresh Daniel

    Hi Josh

    Excellent content for UCAT aspirants. I thoroughly enjoyed the content and I am sure novice aspirants and even the experienced ones would improve on the scores. Looking forward to hear tips for the verbal Reasoning too.

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