The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a two-hour, computer-based test that’s designed to help universities gauge whether a candidate has the attitude, mental ability and professionalism needed to thrive.
The UCAT is a key entry requirement for some Medicine and Dentistry courses. When you apply, your UCAT score will be assessed alongside your grades, work experience and Personal Statement by UCAT universities.
It was previously called the UKCAT in the UK, but the name changed when the test was introduced in Australia and New Zealand, where it’s officially called the UCAT ANZ.
You’ll need to take the UCAT exam 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.
There are 30 UK Med Schools that require you to 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.
The UCAT is an aptitude test, not an IQ test. As an aptitude test, the UCAT is trying to determine your ability in a particular skill or field of knowledge, rather than measuring intelligence.
The UCAT exam was created to test aptitude, not academic knowledge.
Each section of the UCAT assesses different skills and mental abilities that Doctors are required to have. These include problem-solving, communication, numerical skills, spatial awareness, integrity and empathy.
In the UCAT, you will be tested on your ability to evaluate written and numerical information, presented in a variety of formats.
The UCAT is a two-hour, computerised test that’s split into five subtests. The longest subtest is Decision Making, which takes 31 minutes. The shortest is Abstract Reasoning, where you’ll get just 12 minutes to answer 50 questions. See below for a breakdown of each of the test elements for time and number of questions.
You’ll sit the UCAT at a designated testing centre – and you’ll only be allowed to take it once per application cycle.
If you’re eligible for additional time, you’ll be able to apply for access arrangements and take the UCATSEN.
In total, there are 228 questions in the UCAT test.
|UCAT category||Duration||Questions||Topics & Skills tested|
|Verbal Reasoning||21 minutes||44||Comprehension skills|
|Decision Making||31 minutes||29||Ability to solve text and visual data-related questions|
|Quantitative Reasoning||25 minutes||36||Numerical skills|
|Abstract Reasoning||12 minutes||50||Ability to spot patterns and ignore irrelevant information|
|Situational Judgement||26 minutes||69||Capacity to understand real-life situations and behave appropriately|
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 also see 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 UCAT scores.
UCAT registration is very simple: you create an account and register for the test, then book it before the deadline. For the UK test in 2023, booking opens 20th June and testing starts from 10th July. The booking deadline is 21st September, and the last test day is 28th September. 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 testing begins in July. We’ve got a separate guide that details how to register for UCAT ANZ here.
This step-by-step guide covers how to prepare for the UCAT.
We recommend that the best UCAT preparation should include:
We have lots of advice on our website – and plenty of UCAT blogs with tips that you can read, too.
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:
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