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Update: UCAT has extended the testing period until October 12 so that you can still book a test if you haven’t been able to sit it yet. Full details here.

The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is an aptitude test used by admissions teams at the majority of UK medical schools.

UCAT was known as UKCAT until 2019. Despite the name change, there has been little or no change to the exam. Learn more about the change from UKCAT to UCAT here.

UCAT is a very important exam for aspiring medics. So, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you with everything related to it.

We try to keep our guides as up to date as possible. But we advise that you also reference UCAT and university websites before making application decisions.

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Looking to get ahead? Check out our trusted courses, as used by thousands of students and top schools worldwide. Now also available live online.

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What Is The UCAT test?

The UCAT is a test designed to help medical schools gauge whether a candidate has the right skills to become a doctor or dentist.

It does this by assessing their attitude, mental ability and professionalism.

It is often considered a key entry requirement for Medicine courses, alongside your grades, work experience and personal statement.

Who Should Take The UCAT?

If you’re applying to study Medicine in the UK, it’s highly likely you’ll need to sit the UCAT.

Universities in other countries, like Australia and New Zealand, have also adopted the exam.

Most students sit the test in the summer after their penultimate school year.

You can only take the exam once per application cycle.

What Is The UCAT Format?

The UCAT is a two-hour, computerised test. You’ll take it at a designated testing centre.

The exam consists of five sections. These must be attempted in the order presented.

The UCAT sections are:

In combination, these sections are designed to assess different skills required by doctors.

These include problem-solving, communication, numerical skills, spatial awareness, integrity, empathy and teamwork.

Some candidates might be eligible for additional time. Those students will take the UCATSEN.

UCAT 2020 Issues

Some candidates had technical issues with the 2020 UCAT exam.

If you experienced issues with your UCAT test, you need to contact UCAT and you will be given a voucher so that you can reschedule to sit it again. If you’ve haven’t done this yet, you can email ucat@nottingham.ac.uk with your full name and candidate ID (in the format UKCAT + 6 digits) and they’ll get this sorted for you.

If you have a valid test score but you feel technical difficulties have affected your performance – and you don’t want to re-test – you need to alert UCAT and request that they add an annotation to your score. For further details, please email ucat@nottingham.ac.uk with your name, candidate ID (in the format UKCAT123456) and case number (if you have one).

UCAT Dates

Testing is underway for the 2020 UCAT. It usually ends 1st October but has been extended this year to make sure that everyone who has registered is able to take the test. Testing will now finish on October 12, 2020.

Web booking for the UCAT test re-opened on September 29 and remained open at the start of October. You can book, reschedule, or cancel your test online.

See more key UCAT dates in our guide.

UCAT Price

The cost of the UCAT varies depending on when you sit the test, and where. But it’s typically around £55-80 in the UK and £115 if you’re outside the EU.

Find out more about the UCAT cost.

UCAT Scores

How is UCAT scored?

For the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Decision Making sections, you are awarded between 300 and 900 points.

You can, therefore, score between 1,200 and 3,600 points in the test overall.

The scoring is a little complicated. But it’s important you understand it, so you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve and how you can do so.

You can find out more about scoring – and see our analysis of previous years’ results – in our UCAT Scores section.

UCAT Universities

It’s important to understand how universities use the UCAT.

First, this will allow you to set goals. For instance, if you’re applying to a school that requires high scores, you might focus extra attention on the test.

Later, when you have your score, it’s important to know how universities will use it. You complete your UCAS application after sitting the exam, so you can apply strategically.

If you didn’t do as well as you hoped, for example, you might focus on universities that place less emphasis on scores.

To see which universities use it and how they do so, see our Universities page.

UCAT Revision

The sooner you start your UCAT revision, the better. Most candidates who perform badly state that they were underprepared. Don’t be one of them!

UCAT revision tips:

  • Book Your Test Early. Whether you want to take your UCAT early or late in the testing cycle, get it booked! The sooner you do this, the more choice you will have – and the more likely you can secure the date that suits you best. Take a look at our UCAT Dates and Prices page to find out about booking.
  • Don’t Restrict Your Revision. Don’t just use Practice Questions (though, as you will see, these will be an essential part of your preparation). For instance, Verbal Reasoning is about quickly extracting information from passages of text. You can work on this by skim-reading magazines or newspapers.
  • Study Our Guide For More Information. Visit our pages on Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Situational Judgement and Decision Making for more section-specific UCAT tips.
  • Focus on UCAT Strategy. In order to achieve the best possible UCAT score, you’ll want to know exactly how questions are built – and master proven techniques for tackling them.
  • Get Expert Help. The most effective way to revise and perfect your strategy is with expert help. We have a range of UCAT preparation tools to help you.
  • Turn to Books. UCAT books are good at developing your test strategy. Every course attendee gets a free copy of our best-selling UCAT Book: Mastering The UCAT.
  • Use UCAT Practice Questions – A Lot! UCAT practice questions are essential to your preparation. After all, practice makes perfect! Read more about UCAT Practice Questions and how to use them here.
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