UKCAT Scores

This page looks at UKCAT scores from previous years, including good UKCAT scores, average UKCAT scores and low UKCAT scores. It also explains how medical schools used these scores.

UKCAT changed to UCAT in 2019. The first UCAT Scores aren’t out yet. But the exam – and the way it is scored – is set to stay the same. So, understanding past UKCAT scores is still helpful.

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Please note: universities change their criteria every year, so these blogs should be used as a historical guide only.

If you want to know exactly how UCAT scoring works now, as opposed to looking at historical UKCAT benchmarks, you might like our UCAT Scores page.

If you are applying to university, we strongly encourage you to check policies with the individual medical schools themselves before making any significant application decisions.

UKCAT scores in previous years

After each season, UKCAT scores were traditionally published by the UKCAT Consortium. These were broken down into deciles.

Each UKCAT decile represented 10% of students who took the test. The idea was to show in which decile a certain score would have placed you.

For example, a UKCAT score in the 1st decile meant that you had scored in the bottom 10% of all UKCAT tackers. A score in the 10th decile meant you were in the top 10%.

The table below shows the highest scores you would have needed to be placed in that decile in each of the last four years.

These scores are created by adding together the section scores from Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Decision Making. (N.B. the deciles for 2016 do not include Decision Making scores, because Decision Making was unmarked that year.)

Decile Ranking2015201620172018
10th2850 & above2160 & above2870 & above2820 & above

Unlike the other sections, Situational Judgement is scored between Band 1 and 4 (with 1 being the highest). As you can see from the table below, most students tended to score Band 2 in this section between 2015 and 2018.

 Band 1 Band 2Band 3Band 4
2018 (end of testing)21%34%32%13%
2017 (end of testing)28%42%21%9%
2016 (end of testing)26%44%22%9%
2015 (end of testing)24%45%22%9%

What was the average UKCAT score?

The average UKCAT score for a section has changed every year. Students have tended to score between 620 and 630 as their average across all sections. In 2018, the average UKCAT score was 621.

In the past, average overall UKCAT scores (the total across all sections) have tended to be around 2500. This was 2485 in 2018, 2540 in 2017 and 2531 in 2015. In 2016, the average overall score was significantly lower (1893) as Decision Making was not marked that year.

You can see average UKCAT scores between 2015 and 2018 in the table below.

Verbal Reasoning577573570567
Quantitative Reasoning685690695658
Abstract Reasoning640630629637
Decision Analysis (replaced by unscored Decision Making in 2016)629Unscored in 2016647624
Total 2531189325402485

The table suggests that, historically, students have found Verbal Reasoning the most difficult section – and so tended to score lowest in this part of the test. Average scores in this section from 2015 to 2018 were around 570.

However, Quantitative Reasoning tended to be the section that students felt most comfortable with, so usually performed well in this in comparison to other parts of the test.

Abstract Reasoning scores tended to fall between 630 and 640, while Decision Making scores saw more variation, as scores rose in 2017 after the section was introduced the year before.

So – where were students encouraged to apply with average scores in the past?

Students with average UKCAT scores in 2018 were advised to apply to universities requiring scores in this range – such as Liverpool, UEA, Hull York and Leicester.

With an average UKCAT score in 2017, students applying strategically chose the same medical schools above, as well as St George’s, Plymouth and QUB.

Good options for students with average UKCAT scores in 2016 included Liverpool, UEA, Aberdeen and Barts.

What was considered a good UKCAT score?

A good UKCAT score was usually meant averaging more than 650 across sections – but this did vary each year.

For example, in 2018, a good score was between 650 and 680, but the previous year was more competitive, with a good UKCAT score ranging between 660 and 690.

If students had good UKCAT scores in 2018, they were advised to apply to universities placing emphasis on the test – such as St George’s, Exeter and Southampton.

Glasgow, Barts and Manchester were good medical school choices if students had a good UKCAT score in 2017. With a good UKCAT score in 2016, recommended universities were Hull York, Plymouth, St George’s and Dundee.

Certain medical schools placed a lot of emphasis on the UKCAT, such as Newcastle and Edinburgh. These were recommended universities to apply to with a high UKCAT score in 2018, as well as a high UKCAT score in 2017.

These two medical schools also featured in the list of recommendations if students had a high UKCAT score in 2016, as well as Southampton, St Andrew’s and King’s.

What was a low UKCAT score?

A low score was usually anything below 610.

In 2018, students with a low UKCAT score were advised to apply to universities that did not place a lot of emphasis on UKCAT scores, such as Cardiff, Keele, QUB and Plymouth.

Cardiff and Keele were also good options for students with low UKCAT scores in 2017, as well as Birmingham and Bristol. These universities also tended to require low UKCAT scores in 2016.

Another option for students with a low UKCAT score is to take a year out to resit the test and reapply to medicine, consider taking the BMAT or choosing a different degree and then applying to Graduate Entry Medicine.

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