UCAT – A Free Guide to The 2020 UCAT Test

COVID-19 update: UCAT has said they “fully expect testing to go ahead in 2020.” It is likely that the timeline for UCAT will shift – registration and booking may open later than normal and testing will commence later than the July start period.

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? Secure your place on the UCAT course trusted by top schools. 

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?

Important notice: Due to COVID-19, the below key dates may be subject to change. We will do our best to update this as and when further details are announced. 

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

UCAT 2020 Price

The prices for UCAT 2020 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 2019 UCAT exam were as follows:

The average section score was 620.

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 2020, these are:

UniversityUCAS Course Code
University of AberdeenA100, A105, A201
Anglia Ruskin UniversityA100
Aston UniversityA100
University of BirminghamA100, A101, 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 UniversityA100, A110,
University of EdinburghA100
University of ExeterA100*
University of GlasgowA100, A200
Hull York Medical SchoolA100, A101
Keele UniversityA100*, A104*
Kent and Medway Medical School A100
King's College LondonA100, A101, A102, A202, A205, A206

University of LeicesterA100, A199
University of LiverpoolA100*, A200

University of ManchesterA104, A106, A204, A206

University of NewcastleA100, A101, A206

University of NottinghamA100, A10L, A108, A18L

Plymouth UniversityA100*, A206*

Queen Mary University of LondonA100, A101, A110, A120, A200

Queen's University BelfastA100, A200*

University of SheffieldA100, A101, A200

University of SouthamptonA100, A101, A102
University of St AndrewsA100, A990
St George's, University of LondonA100
University of SunderlandA100
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 the 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. Aberdeen allocates a score based on the total numerical result from the four subtests: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning,Abstract Reasoning and Decision Making. The SJT will not be scored, but it may be used in offer-making when there are candidates with similar scores. For 2019entry, the lowest score for interview invitation was 2360.
Anglia Ruskin University There is no minimum UCAT score. Applicants are ranked by their UCAT score and a certain number will be invited to an Interview Day, providing they also meet the main academic entry requirements. Applicants with an SJT score of Band 4 (lowest band) will not be invited for an interview for September 2020 entry onwards.
Aston University UCAT is considered alongside other other required qualifications. There is no specific UCAT or Situational Judgement minimum score threshold.
University of BirminghamAt Birmingham, there is no minimum 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 scores are used for interviews. The weightings are: academic – 60%; UCAT – 40%. 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 4.0. For example, for 2018-19applicants, the 10th decile was a score of 2950and allocated a score of 4; 9th decile was a score of 2840 and allocated a score of 3.55 and so on.
University of BristolAssuming candidates meet the minimum academic entry requirements, their application is scored with a 100% weighting on the UCAT results. This is how candidates are selected for interviews. There is no UCAT cut-off score used. However, the number used as a threshold for interviews is subject to change year-on-year, depending on the strength of the cohort. Therefore, no specific score can be used to predict the likelihood of an invite for the 2020 cycle.
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.
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.
Edge Hill UniversityApplicants who meet the minimum academic requirements will be ranked according to their UCAT scores. A UCAT threshold is then set up depending on the number of interviews that are to be held. The threshold varies on a year-by-year basis, as it is dependent on the scores achieved by those who apply in each cycle. Any candidate that scores within the band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test will be automatically rejected.
University of EdinburghThey will consider all scores and no applicant will be excluded from selection based on the score achieved in their UCAT test. Edinburgh also considers the Situational Judgement section of the UCAT test separately.
University of ExeterApplications will be sorted according to academic profiles and UCAT overall score in order to identify which applicants will receive an offer for an interview.
University of GlasgowGlasgow considers the UCAT score together with meeting standard and additional entry requirements when determining applicants for interviews. The UCAT range of scores they consider changes each year as the performance of each admissions cohort varies. As Glasgow is required to manage the number of students admitted in line with targets set by the Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council (Home/EU/Rest of UK/International). Therefore the lowest total UCAT score considered for interview may vary based on the applicant group. The Situational Judgement section of the UCAT will not be taken into consideration for the 2020 cycle.
Hull York Medical SchoolA number of points (out of 40) are awarded based upon total UCAT score - this is done once UCAT results are released in early November. UCAT scores will be considered in line with GCSE results (out of 30) as well as meeting academic requirements. Interviews are given out accordingly. Up to a maximum of 15 points are allocated depending on the Situational Judgement Test Band achieved.
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.
Kent and Medway Medical SchoolAs this is a relatively new medical school, accepted UCAT scores from previous years have not been published as a guide. The UCAT scores will be used alongside entry criteria as applications are initially assessed. There will then be a further review of UCAT scores in relation to the applicant’s contextual data and personal statement, before interviews offers are given.
King's College LondonAt King's, GCSE scores, predicted A-Level grades, the personal statement and reference all 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. The overall UCAT score averaged across the four subtests is given more consideration than the individual subtest scores. The Situational Judgement Test is also taken into account when the shortlisting process occurs.
University of LeicesterUCAT forms 50% of the pre-interview scoring system. Applicants with band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test will be rejected pre-interview. Applicants will automatically be invited to interview if they have a total UCAT score in the top 7 deciles with a Situational Judgement Test band between 1-3. Candidates must also have achieved a grade B or 6 at first sitting in the mandatory GCSE subjects and AAA at A-Level in required subjects within 2 years of taking GCSEs. Leicester does not have a minimum UCAT cut-off score, but your total UCAT score (scored up to a maximum of 32 points) is used in selection for interview alongside academic ability (also scored up to a maximum of 32 points, making the maximum possible score out of 64). Applicants with a total score in the bottom two deciles of that year’s results will be given a maximum score of 16. Last year, that was equivalent to or less than a UCAT score of 2280.
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.
University of ManchesterIf your score is approximately in the top third of results nationally, you will be invited to interview based on our UCAT threshold as long as minimum academic requirements are met. At Manchester, UCAT scores are ranked and the top 900-1000 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. Scores that do not fall within the top third of national results will be treated as part of a holistic assessment, all information available will inform decisions (such as GCSEs, A-Level profiles, additional qualifications). 500-600 applicants are invited to interviews through this route.
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. In 2019, the interview threshold was 2720.
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 2020 when the cognitive and non-cognitive is added together is 40 points. The scoring system is as follows for the four cognitive components (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Decision Making): 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 = 4 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), DM 580 and got SJT Band 2, you would receive 28 points out of 40. GCSE scores and UCAT scores are added together and the top % of applicants are considered for interviews.
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. The required threshold for the overall UCAT score for 2020 entry is 2390.
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. UCAT is scored and used in conjunction with the GCSE score to rank for interviews. Other factors such as AS-level performance, additional GCSE A grades may be taken into account in borderline cases.
University of SheffieldAt Sheffield, in addition to academic entry requirements, candidates must have achieved a score of 2420/3600 or above to be given consideration. The Situational Judgement component is considered for those invited 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. The threshold score changes on a year-by-year basis. They do not currently use the Situational Judgement test.
University of St AndrewsAt St Andrews, the UCAT is used to rank for interviews (you must be within the top global 400 score) for the 2020 entry sitting of the test. In recent years the lowest UCAT score applicants have been in the region of 2400.
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. In 2019, the overall UCAT score required was 2490. The Situational Judgement test will not be considered for the 2020 entry.
University of SunderlandScores must be within the top 8 deciles of the cohort admissions for the 2020 entry. Situational Judgement Test results should fall in the 1-3 band too.
University of WarwickFor the first round of selections, Warwick uses the UCAT verbal reasoning score as a prediction for success in particular examinations at medical school. Therefore for the first round of selection identifies those with a verbal reasoning score at or above the national mean for the cohort sitting the UCAT in the year of admission. Scores below the cohort average will be rejected. Those with scores above the cohort mean will then have points awarded for their total UCAT score, the higher your total UCAT scores the more points received. UCAT scores threshold vary on a year-by-year basis. For the 2019 entry, the lowest score applicants had was 2570.

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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