It’s that time of the year – a batch of new medical school applicants will go to sit the UCAT. If you are one of those people you probably have a whole bunch of questions about the exam, and understandably so, as the UCAT is very different from all the standard exams we’re used to sitting. So here are some of the most common questions answered…
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There is no one answer to this question because all universities will use your UCAT score in different ways. Some universities will use a cut-off score, whereas others will rank you based on your score.
Some universities are quite UCAT heavy and place quite a lot of emphasis on it (such as Edinburgh), whereas others aren’t really that bothered about it (Cardiff being an example).
To add another whole layer of complication to the assessment of your UCAT score, different universities may give the different subsections varying amounts of weight.
Once you get your UCAT score you’ll have to do your research properly and make sure you’re applying to the places where your score will place you at the greatest advantages. For example, if you score above 800 in your UCAT, an application to Cardiff is a waste of an incredible score.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about sending your score to the universities that you applied to. By October you’ll have to inform Pearson of your UCAS ID (don’t worry, you will be sent a reminder closer to the time).
After the UCAS application deadline has passed, Pearson will then communicate with UCAS to find out which universities you applied to and they will send the scores over for you.
The scores are usually passed on during the first week of November, but each university may choose to access the information at various different stages within the admissions cycle.
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Unfortunately, you can only sit the UCAT once in an admission cycle, so if you don’t score too well you will have to apply with that score.
Getting a “bad” score doesn’t extinguish all your chances of getting into medical school though, it just means that you’ll have to be a little more selective about where you apply.
As soon as you finish the test and you leave the room you will be handed a slip of paper with your results on. The sheet will have a breakdown of your score in each section, your average score, and the band that you fell in for the Situational Judgement section.
Although you might have an immediate indication of how good your score is, you can’t really judge it as “good” or “bad” for certain until the UCAT percentiles are published. The percentiles will show you how well you performed compared to everyone else who sat the test.
Every question in the 4 cognitive subtests of the UCAT are worth 1 point each (apart from questions in the Decision-Making subset that contain multiple statements, they’re worth 2 points).
For each subset, your raw marks will be converted to a score between 300 and 900. This means that if you get all of the answers correct you’ll get 900 and if you got every single one wrong you’ll still get a score of 300.
The Situational Judgement section is scored a bit differently. If you get the answer correct you’ll be awarded full marks. If, however, your answer was close to the correct answer (e.g. “very appropriate” instead of “appropriate, but not ideal”) you’ll be given partial marks. Your total score will then be expressed in the form of a band: Band 1 being the best and Band 4 being the worst.
It’s worth noting that the UCAT does not include any negative marking, so if you really don’t know an answer or are running out of time, just guess!
Words by: Masumah J.
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