UCAT – A Free Guide to The UCAT Test

What is UCAT?

UCAT (formerly UKCAT) is an admissions test used by many medical schools to assess students’ suitability to study medicine. Its full name is the University Clinical Aptitude Test.

It is also used by dental schools for Dentistry programmes. Before 2019, the exam was named UKCAT, which stands for the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test.

We monitor all changes closely and do our best to keep our guide up-to-date. However, we do suggest you also reference the official UCAT website.

Applying for 2020 entry? Now’s the time to register for UCAT! Read more about registration below. 

Book our UCAT Course

About the UCAT Test

What Does UCAT Involve?

It is a two-hour computerised test, designed to assess aptitude rather than knowledge.

The idea is that high UCAT scores indicate candidates with the best potential to successfully train as doctors.

The test consists of five sections, each designed to assess different skills required by doctors. These skills include problem-solving, communication, numerical skills, spatial awareness, integrity, empathy and teamwork skills.

What are the UCAT sections?

UCAT sections are:

What are the timings of the exam?

You can see how much time you are allocated for each section below. For more tips on how to manage your timing, visit our UCAT Timing Tips blog.

Verbal Reasoning21 minutes (+ 1 minute of reading)
Quantitative Reasoning24 minutes (+1 minute of reading)
Abstract Reasoning13 minutes (+1 minute of reading)
Decision Making32 minutes (+1 minute of reading)
Situational Judgement26 minutes (+1 minute of reading)

When do I sit the UCAT test?

Test dates are listed below:

If you’re sitting the test in Australia or New Zealand, visit our UCAT ANZ test dates page.

UCAT 2019 Price

The prices for UCAT 2019 are as follows:

If you’re taking the test in Australia or New Zealand, you can see the costs below:

Where can I find UCAT test centres?

To sit the test, you’ll need to register and book your exam at one of the official centres.

It’s recommended that you sit your exam as soon as possible, so spaces are available at your local test centre. Don’t leave it until the last minute!

The exam is offered worldwide and there are centres across a range of countries, including the UK, France, Hong Kong, Italy and the USA.

In the UK, there are centres in a variety of towns and cities across the country, including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Oxford.

The best way to find your nearest centre is to search on the Test Centre Locator. Before selecting one of the centres, you need to register for the exam.

After registering, you can select the nearest centre to you. Remember, that the longer you leave registering, the less likely you are to find a date and a centre that suits you. So act early!

UCAT Scores

How do scores work?  

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

You can, therefore, score between 1200 and 3600 points in the test overall.

In Situational Judgement, your raw score is converted into a Band between 1 and 4, with 1 being the highest.

Find out more about how these scores work on our UCAT Scores page. 

What is the average UCAT score?

Average scores of the 2018 UKCAT exam were as follows:

The average section score was 621.

How to Prepare for UCAT

Where can I find preparation tips?

Hear our expert tutor Tristan give his top tips on the test in this 60-second video below.

Looking for more advice? Visit our UCAT Tips page!

Get Started With Free Questions

Where can I find UCAT support?

Preparing to sit the test can be daunting – so we’re here to help you!

Our specialist tutors can teach you techniques to tackle each section of the test at our one-day course.

You could also try the following options so that you’re fully prepared for the test:

UCAT Universities

How many universities use UCAT?  

30 medical schools in the UK will use the test to assess students’ suitability for Medicine. In 2019, these are:

UniversityUCAS Course Code
University of AberdeenA100, A201
Anglia Ruskin UniversityA100
Aston UniversityA100
University of BirminghamA100, A200
University of BristolA100, A108, A206, A208
Cardiff UniversityA100, A104, A200, A204
University of DundeeA100, A104, A200, A204
University of East AngliaA100, A104
Edge Hill UniversityA110
University of EdinburghA100
University of ExeterA100*
University of GlasgowA100, A200
Hull York Medical SchoolA100
Keele UniversityA100*, A104*
King's College LondonA100, A101, A102, A202, A205, A206

University of LeicesterA100, A199
University of LiverpoolA100*, A200, A201

University of ManchesterA104, A106, A204, A206

University of NewcastleA100, A101, A206

University of NottinghamA100, A10L, A108, A18L

Plymouth UniversityA100*, A206*

Queen Mary, University of London (Barts)A100, A101, A110, A120, A130, A200, B960

Queen's University BelfastA100, A200*

University of SheffieldA100, A200

University of SouthamptonA100, A101, A102
University of St AndrewsA100, A990
St George's, University of LondonA100
University of SunderlandA100 (subject to GMC approval)
University of WarwickA101

* Alternative requirements may apply to certain groups of students. Please see the medical school website for further details.

How do medical schools use your scores?

Each university uses results differently. The majority of universities look at your total or average scores, although some will look at individual sub-sections.

Some universities place a great deal of significance on the exam. They either rank candidates by their score or have a minimum cut-off to progress to the next round.

Many universities use scores in combination with other factors, such as your Personal Statement and A-Level exam results.

Others only use it in borderline cases where it is helpful in deciding between two very similar candidates. It varies hugely!

Have a look at the table below to see how each university uses your score.

Please note that while we’ve tried to ensure that this information is as up to date as possible, admissions procedures are subject to change so we’d recommend contacting the different universities if you’re unsure.

UCAT UniversitiesHow do they use your UCAT score?
University of AberdeenCandidates' UCAT scores are considered in selection for interview alongside actual and predicted academic achievement. A minimum UCAT cut-off score is NOT used. A score (between 1200 - 3600) is allocated based on the applicant's overall performance compared with all other applicants. At Aberdeen for 2016 they allocated a score based on the total numerical result from the three subtests: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning. The SJT will not be scored, but it may be used in offer-making when there are candidates with similar scores. For 2016 entry, the lowest score for interview invitation was 2180, and the lowest score for offer made was 2480.
Barts and The LondonThose who meet their minimum academic criteria will be ranked according to 50:50 weighting (UCAT 50% and academic ability 50%). UCAT scores sorted into deciles; candidates must score more than average UCAT score to be considered (this was around 2330 in 2016). An interview will not be offered if the total UCAT score is below the third decile. However, there is no guarantee of interview if you score above the third decile.
University of BirminghamAt Birmingham, there is no UCAT cut off score. An application will receive an overall score, which is the sum of weighted scores for each of the academic and UCAT components. GCSE and UCAT used for interview. The weightings are: academic – 70%; UCAT – 30%. Total UCAT scores of our applicants (excluding the band score for the SJT component) will be separated into deciles and scored (i.e. the top 10% of applicants’ scores will be in the top decile). The maximum score is 3.0. For example, for 2015 applicants, the 10th decile was a score of 2980 and allocated a score of 3; 9th decile was a score of 2880 and allocated a score of 2.67 - and so on.
University of BristolThe weightings of your application are as follows: GCSE 15%; A-level 15%; Personal statement 50%; UCAT 20%.
Cardiff UniversityCardiff does not have a minimum threshold score for the UCAT, however, the UCAT score may be used as part of the assessment procedure or in borderline cases.
University of DundeeAt Dundee, there is no minimum cut-off score. Your UCAT score will be factored into the pre-interview rank alongside academic ability. There is no specific cut off applied but obviously a high score is advantageous. Weighting is dependent on applicant type: school leavers - 40% UCAT, 60% academic; graduates: 60% UCAT, 40% academic.
University of East AngliaUEA do not set a minimum cut-off score for the UCAT, but consider the component scores within the academic screening processes. Whilst a high UCAT score may be advantageous, a low score in an otherwise strong application will not automatically disqualify an applicant from consideration. From UEA's experience, it is unusual for an applicant with a UCAT score of less than 2400 to be invited to interview.
University of EdinburghAt Edinburgh, once all the scores are received they rank them, divide the groups into octiles and allocate a score. Weighting is based on applicant: school leavers: 50% academic, 15% SJT (of UCAT), 15% personal statement, 20% UCAT (excluding SJT); graduates: 30% interview, 35% academic, 20% UCAT (excluding SJT), 15% SJT (of UCAT). The points are then added to your total score to contribute towards your final ranking. Due to the introduction of the Situational Judgement section of the test, they will be assessing this as part of their non-academic requirements and not alongside your overall UCAT score. They will consider all scores and no applicant will be excluded from selection based on the score achieved in their UCAT test. The average score to receive an offer in 2016 was 2370.
University of ExeterExeter uses the UCAT as a factor in determining which candidates are selected for interview, along with predicted or achieved grades and other information contained within an applicant’s UCAS form.
University of GlasgowGlasgow consider the UCAT with all other aspects of your application. The range of scores they consider changes each year as the performance of each admissions cohort varies. The Situational Judgement section of the UCAT test will not be taken into consideration for entry in 2017.
Hull York Medical SchoolAt Hull York, applicants with a Situational Judgement Test Band of 4 (the lowest band) will not be considered. Prior to interview, they use your total UCAT score (allocated points out of 50) alongside your GCSE results (allocated points out of 40) in order to decide who to invite to interview. Following interview, they make offers based primarily on interview performance, and they use the UCAT Situational Judgement Test as an extra interview station.
Keele UniversityKeele exclude students who scored in the bottom 20% nationally, or students who score Band 4 in Situational Judgement. Keele also uses UCAT results in borderline cases. Applicants who narrowly miss achieving the required score for their application may receive further consideration on the basis of their UCAT score. Similarly, if the number of applicants tied on a particular academic score exceeds the number of interview slots available, these applicants will be ranked on their total UCAT score. In these borderline cases, the required UCAT score will depend upon the level of performance in the test among this group of applicants. For 2015 entry, applicants who were successful in gaining an offer had total UCAT scores in the range 2,190 - 3,170.
King's College LondonAt King's, GCSE scores, predicted A-Level grades, the personal statement and the reference contribute to the shortlisting of candidates, but examination performance and the UCAT score are perhaps the most important. KCL does not have a threshold UCAT score in any particular year, and UCAT is only one of the factors considered in selecting candidates for interview. Scores for the last five years have varied between 630 and 735.
University of LeicesterLeicester do not have a minimum UCAT cut-off score, but your total UCAT score (scored up to a maximum of 34 points) is used in selection for interview alongside academic ability (also scored up to a maximum of 34 points, making the maximum possible score out of 68). Applications from candidates with Band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test will be fully scrutinised prior to interview. UCAT will be scored according to the total by dividing your score by 100 as follows: 2,400 = 24; >2250 = 22.5; >2100 = 21; >1950 = 19.5; >1800 = 18; >1650 = 16.5 and so on. The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) may be used as a virtual multiple mini-interview station, should you reach that stage of the process.
University of LiverpoolAt Liverpool, the UCAT is assessed alongside academic criteria. It is expected that applicants who achieve Band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test of the UCAT will not have their applications processed beyond the first stage. Of the remainder, only those applicants who meet or exceed their minimum academic criteria and who offer the most competitive overall UCAT scores will have their applications proceed to the second stage. The UCAT threshold is determined each year on a competitive basis. For Home/EU applicants a competitive score was considered to be 2500 or greater.
University of ManchesterAt Manchester, UCAT scores are ranked and the top 1000 applicants proceed to the interview stage. To help identify talented students from all backgrounds, UCAT scores from UK/EU candidates who come from similar educational and socio-demographic backgrounds are considered against each other. This is conducted using supplementary information provided by publicly available datasets. Equal proportions of top scoring applicants from each group are then selected for interview. Those applications that do not meet the UCAT threshold will not progress to the next phase.
Newcastle UniversityAt Newcastle, applications fulfilling the academic thresholds will then be assessed on their UCAT scores. The UCAT threshold may vary depending upon the competition to each programme. The threshold is based on the total UCAT score. This threshold may differ in each admission cycle, as it is dependent on the scores achieved by applicants in the current cycle.
University of NottinghamAt Nottingham, there is no UCAT threshold. Individual UCAT results are scored as follows (the weighting for each of the four components is equal). The maximum that can be achieved for 2016 when the cognitive and non-cognitive is added together is 30 points. The scoring system is as follows for the three cognitive components (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning): 801 - 900 = 9 points; 701 - 800 = 8 points; 601 - 700 = 7 points; 501 - 600 = 6 points; 401 - 500 = 5 points; 301 - 400 = 4 points. The fifth component, SJT is scored as follows: Band 1 = 3 points; Band 2 = 2 points; Band 3 = 1 point; Band 4 = applicant is not considered further. For example, if you scored VR 680 (7 points), QR 500 (5 points), AR 710 (8 points) and got SJT Band 2, you would receive 22 points out of 30. The top 50% of applicants will go forward to the next stage, which involves scoring personal statements.
Plymouth UniversityAt Plymouth, the UCAT is used alongside academic ability. You are required to meet a minimum standard in each of the subtests plus an overall target score set and reviewed annually by the Admissions Advisory Panel. For example, in 2015 for 2016 entry: The minimum scores were: Verbal Reasoning - 530; Quantitative Reasoning - 650; Abstract Reasoning - 610; Decision Analysis - 600.
Queen's University BelfastAt QUB, you are awarded points for your UCAT score and this is used at stage one of the selection process. For example: a score of 2,200+ would score 6 points; 2040 - 2190: 5 points; 1880 - 2030: 4 points; 1720 - 1870: 3 points; 1560 - 1710: 2 points; 1400 - 1550 1 point. The current scoring system is being reviewed for 2018 entry.
University of SheffieldAt Sheffield, in addition to academic entry requirements, candidates must have achieved a score of 1850/2700 or above to be given consideration. The Situational Judgement component is considered for those invites to attend a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI).
University of SouthamptonAt Southampton, students are ranked by UCAT score and from there invited to a Selection Day, provided they also meet the academic criteria. They do not currently use the Situational Judgement test.
University of St AndrewsAt St Andrews, the UCAT is used to rank for interview (top 400). for the 2016 sitting of the test, total scores range from 900 - 2700 (instead of 1200 - 3600 as the Decision Analysis subtest was removed). The Situational Judgement score contributes to the overall interview score.
St George's University of LondonAt St. George's, the UCAT is used to rank applicants for the interview and post-interview waiting list. Candidates are required to score 500 or above in each section. The 2017 entry minimum overall UCAT score will be determined after the results have been published. In 2016, the overall UCAT score required was 2600.

What You Need To Do

1. Familiarise yourself. Go through each section and understand what it entails.

2. Register. It’s best to do this early so you can secure your preferred date and start working towards it.

3. Book a course. Ours has helped thousands of students. Alternatively, you can learn from home with our Online UCAT Course.

4. Practice questions. Get started with free UCAT questions.

5. Read a book. Our book equips you with clear strategies.

6. Still struggling? Then you can book a private tutoring session with our experts.

READ NEXT ➜ UCAT Verbal Reasoning

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