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UCAT (UKCAT) – a Free Guide to the UCAT Test

What is UCAT?

UCAT is an admissions test 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, and it’s also used by dental schools for Dentistry programmes. Before 2019, the exam was named UKCAT, which stands for the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test.

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

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

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Why not also take a look at our popular UCAT Tutoring and UCAT question bank?

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About the UCAT

What Does UCAT (UKCAT) Test Involve?

The UCAT test is a two-hour computerised exam designed to test aptitude rather than knowledge. The idea is that high UCAT scores indicate candidates with the best potential to successfully train as doctors.

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

What are the UCAT sections?

The UCAT sections are as follows:

How is UCAT different to the UKCAT test?

Although the name of the test has changed from UKCAT to UCAT, the UKCAT test and the UCAT test are identical – so the test still consists of the same five sections and question types.

What’s the timing of the UCAT exam like?

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

Section Timing
Verbal Reasoning 21 minutes (+ 1 minute of reading)
Quantitative Reasoning 24 minutes (+1 minute of reading)
Abstract Reasoning 13 minutes (+1 minute of reading)
Decision Making 32 minutes (+1 minute of reading)
Situational Judgement 26 minutes (+1 minute of reading)

When do I sit the UCAT test?

See the latest UCAT test dates and the costs for UCAT tests below:

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

UCAT 2019 Price

You can find the prices for UCAT 2019 below:

If you’re taking the test in Australia or New Zealand, you can see the costs of the UCAT ANZ 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, where you can search for the nearest centre to your town. Before selecting one of the centres, you need to register for the exam.

After registering, you can then 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 make sure you do this early!

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UCAT Scores

How do UCAT 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 vary year on year, but the average results of the 2018 UKCAT exam are as follows:

The average total score was 621.

To see the average results and decile ranking between 2015 and 2018, visit our UCAT Scores page. 

How to Prepare for UCAT

Where can I find UCAT 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! You can also find tips for each section of the test here:

Where can I find UCAT support?

Preparing to sit the UCAT can be daunting – so we’re here to help you! Our specialist UCAT tutors can teach you techniques to tackle each section of the test at our one-day UCAT Course.

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

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UCAT Universities

How many universities use the UCAT exam?  

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

University UCAS Course Code
University of Aberdeen A100, A201
Anglia Ruskin University A100
Aston University A100
University of Birmingham A100, A200
University of Bristol A100, A108, A206, A208
Cardiff University A100, A104, A200, A204
University of Dundee A100, A104, A200, A204
University of East Anglia A100, A104
Edge Hill University A110
University of Edinburgh A100
University of Exeter A100*
University of Glasgow A100, A200
Hull York Medical School A100
Keele University A100*, A104*
King's College London A100, A101, A102, A202, A205, A206

University of Leicester A100, A199
University of Liverpool A100*, A200, A201

University of Manchester A104, A106, A204, A206

University of Newcastle A100, A101, A206

University of Nottingham A100, A10L, A108, A18L

Plymouth University A100*, A206*

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

Queen's University Belfast A100, A200*

University of Sheffield A100, A200

University of Southampton A100, A101, A102
University of St Andrews A100, A990
St George's, University of London A100
University of Sunderland A100 (subject to GMC approval)
University of Warwick A101

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

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How do medical schools use UCAT scores?

Each university uses the exam 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 which must be achieved before progressing to the next round.

Many universities use UCAT scores in combination with other factors such as your Personal Statement and A-Level exam results. Some, however, only use it in borderline cases where it is helpful in deciding between two very similar candidates. It varies hugely!

You can have a look at the table below to see how each university uses your score.

To see how medical schools have used your score in previous years, visit our UCAT Scores page. 

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 Universities How do they use your UCAT score?
University of Aberdeen Candidates' 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 London Those 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 Birmingham At 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 Bristol The weightings of your application are as follows: GCSE 15%; A-level 15%; Personal statement 50%; UCAT 20%.
Cardiff University Cardiff 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 Dundee At 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 Anglia UEA 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 Edinburgh At 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 Exeter Exeter 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 Glasgow Glasgow 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 School At 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 University Keele 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 London At 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 Leicester Leicester 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 Liverpool At 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 Manchester At 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 University At 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 Nottingham At 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 University At 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 Belfast At 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 Sheffield At 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 Southampton At 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 Andrews At 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 London At 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.

Still Have Unanswered Questions?

If you still have questions about the exam, check our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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

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

5. Read a book. Our Mastering the UCAT 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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