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The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is an aptitude test used by admissions teams at the majority of UK Medical Schools. This guide covers everything you need to know about the 2021 UCAT test.

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 your attitude, mental ability and professionalism.

The UCAT test is often considered a key entry requirement for Medicine courses, alongside your grades, work experience and Personal Statement.

With school exams cancelled, it looks like your UCAT performance could be even more important this year, as it could be the only thing that sets you apart from other candidates.

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Who Should Take The UCAT?

You’ll need to take the UCAT if you’re applying to a UK UCAT university. It’s not possible to exempt yourself from the test, which means that if it’s a requirement for your chosen Medical School(s), you’ll have to sit it.

If you’re applying to study Medicine in Australia and New Zealand, you’ll need to sit the UCAT ANZ.

It’s important to know that you can only take the UCAT once per application cycle.

Which Universities Require UCAT?

There are 30 UK Med Schools that require you sit this admissions test, and over 15 in Australia and New Zealand. You can see the full list – and how they’ll use your test performance – in our UCAT universities guide.

How Long Is The UCAT Test?

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

What Is The UCAT Format?

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

The UCAT sections are:

In combination, these UCAT sections are designed to assess different skills required by Doctors. These include problem-solving, communication, numerical skills, spatial awareness, integrity, empathy and teamwork.

If you’re eligible for additional time, you’ll be able to apply for access arrangements and take the UCATSEN.

How Is The UCAT Test Scored?

There are two elements to your UCAT result. You’ll get between 300 and 900 points for each of the first four sections, and your UCAT result will be this sum combined. You may see also UCAT scores referred to as a three-digit number, which reflects the average of your section performance.

The second part is your situational judgement score, for which you’ll be given a band between one and four.

Read more about how UCAT scores work.

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How Do I Register For UCAT 2021?

UCAT registration is very simple: you create an account and register for the test, then book it before the deadline. For the UK, the 2021 provisional dates suggest registration will start in June and testing will begin from late-July. You’ll have until mid-September to register, and the last test will happen at the end of that month. Find everything you need to know about how to register in the UK with key dates and prices here.

In Australia and New Zealand, bookings open at the start of March and tests are sat in July and August. We’ve got a separate guide that details how to register for UCAT ANZ here.

How Do I Prepare For UCAT?

The best UCAT preparation would involve a mix of learning the right strategies for the test (see our UCAT course or Online UCAT Course), then practicing UCAT questions to get a sense of how well you’re picking up the strategies. If you find you’re struggling, it’s worth thinking about UCAT tutoring for some bespoke, one-to-one support.

We have lots of advice on our website – and plenty of UCAT blogs with tips that you can read, too.

UCAT Tips

The sooner you start your UCAT revision, the better. Most candidates who perform badly state that they were underprepared - so the best UCAT tip we have is to start revising as soon as you can! Our other UCAT tips include:

  • Book Your UCAT Test Early. The sooner you book, the more choice you will have – and the more likely you can secure the date that suits you best.
  • Don’t Restrict Your Revision. Work on verbal reasoning by skim-reading magazines or newspapers, for example.
  • Focus on UCAT Strategy. Learn exactly how questions are built – and master proven techniques for tackling them with our UCAT Prep.
  • Use UCAT Practice Questions – A Lot! UCAT practice questions are essential to your preparation. After all, practice makes perfect!
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