Published on 10th October 2017 by lauram

Where to Apply with a Good UKCAT Part 1

Please note that this blog is just a guideline and we recommend conducting your own research and contacting the universities themselves before making any significant application decisions.

Scored between 660-690 on your UKCAT and unsure where to apply?

One very common question I’m asked as a UKCAT tutor is what most medical schools look for in a UCAT score. This is not an easy question to answer. Scores fluctuate year on year, and what some medical schools might consider an amazing score, others might be consider as too low.

However, quite a large proportion of UK medical schools are looking for scores somewhere in between 660-690. So what are they?

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Perhaps the main component used by Exeter when selecting for interview is A-Level predictions. Applicants are tiered depending on their A-Level grades or predictions, shown below, and those in the top tiers are invited to interview. It is only when there are too many candidates in a middle tier that a UKCAT threshold is set to select from that tier. This threshold varies year on year, but for 2017 entry this was in the top 30% of scores, and was applied to tier 2.

Achieved A-Levels are favoured slightly over predicted grades. This means if you’ve got amazing A level grades/predictions, then Exeter might be a good option.

RankGrades achievedGrades predicted
Tier 1A*A*A*
Tier 2A*A*AA* A* A*
Tier 3A*AAA*A*A


At Barts, UKCAT makes up 50% of selection for interview. The UCAS tariff score makes up the other 50%. Your UCAS tariff can be calculated from your A-Level grades, either predicted or achieved. This can be calculated on the UCAS website, but to give you an idea – an A* is awarded 56 points, an A 48 points etc. Barts also uses a cut-off for your tariff of 144.

A low UKCAT score can be made up for by a high UCAS tariff score, and vice versa.

However, Barts does also use a UKCAT cut-off score, but a relatively low one – anyone under the third decile (in the bottom 30%). In fact, the lowest score receiving an interview for 2017 entry was actually 587!

To gain an interview with a low UKCAT like this, you will need a high UCAS tariff, 330 in this case.  Barts has released some useful statistics from last year that give you a good idea of what UKCAT scores and UCAS tariff were invited to interview last year.

The personal statement is only discussed at interview, where the SJT is also incorporated into your score.

Since Barts focuses heavily on A-Levels, the more subjects you are studying the better. If you are applying with 3 A levels, it may be difficult to secure an interview. However, if you are studying more subjects, or doing an EPQ, this improves your chances.

So, in short: Barts has a cut off that needs to be met, but this is just part of their criteria, so getting above this doesn’t equal an interview. If you meet this, then your UKCAT is combined with your UCAS tariff and those ranked highest overall get interviews. So in theory you can get in with a low UKCAT, but the vast majority getting an interview will have a score in the top 3rd of applicants (if not then your UCAS tariff should be super high to compensate).

University of Glasgow School of Medicine

Glasgowconsider UKCAT with all other aspects of the application.” This means the UKCAT will be used to determine who to invite to interview, but alongside your academics, personal statement and reference.

This involves checking applicants meet the minimum academic requirements. The personal statement and reference are “considered thoroughly for non-academic attributes and evidence for suitability to medicine”.

Those who pass this screening system will have interviews allocated depending on their UKCAT score. For 2015 entry, the lowest score considered for interview was 658.

This means to stand a realistic chance of getting an interview at Glasgow you need to be in about the top 30% of those sitting the UKCAT. The results published for this year suggest this will be 677.5 and above (7th decile is 2670 this year, or 667.5 as an average across the 4 sections), so a little higher. The SJT is not used.

The University of Manchester School of Medicine

There are a few stages to Manchester’s application process and they require a good UKCAT score. The first stage is an academic screening, to ensure candidates meet the medical school’s grade requirements. All applicants who pass this will then be ranked on their UKCAT scores in the second stage.

A set number of applicants from the top of the ranking will proceed to the interview. This means that Manchester effectively has a cut off score, and scoring below it would make an interview very unlikely.

For 2017 entry the cut off was 653 and for 2016 entry was 665. In most years the cut off is about the top 30% of those sitting the UKCAT, meaning if you choose Manchester as one of your options this year, you should really be scoring at least 667.5 to be in with a chance.

Manchester comments that if your UKCAT score is in the approximately the top third of all results nationally then you will be invited to interview based on our UKCAT threshold as long as you meet our minimum academic requirements”.

Keep in mind Manchester has introduced a ‘non-academic information form’ that will be used instead of the personal statement. Applicants will complete this form after sending off their UCAS form, but they may still look at your personal statement.

Again, Manchester comments that “the Non-Academic Information Form can be thought of as an expanded personal statement where you can provide more information and tell us why you chose to apply to this medical school.”

The SJT is not used. You can find out more information on Manchester’s use of the UKCAT here.

Leicester Medical School

If you have a good UKCAT score, Leicester might be a good option for you. Selection for interview at Leicester is based on 50% academics, 50% overall UKCAT score. Each is scored out of a possible 32 points, giving a total of 64 points. Those who have the most points will be invited to interview.

For academics, if you have predicted A-Levels, then 8 GCSE qualifications are scored, but if you have achieved A-Levels, then 6 GCSE qualifications and 3 A-Levels will be scored. An A* at GCSE is awarded 4 points and an A awarded 3 points etc.

For the UKCAT, you will be allocated points depending on where your overall score lies. An overall score of 3200 or above is given the maximum of 32 points. Then for every 50 points below this you will lose half a point. For example, a score of between 3199 and 3150 results in 31.5 points. You can see more about this here.

Since academics contribute 50%, there is not a UKCAT cut off score.

Nevertheless, the higher your UKCAT scores, the better the chance of interview. In fact, the median UKCAT score of those given offers for 2015 entry was 682.5, and the lowest score accepted was 587.5! However, if applying with a UKCAT score like this you need to have impeccable academics.

For the SJT, Leicester says ‘Applicants with Band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test will be automatically rejected pre-interview’.

For 2016 entry the cut off for interview was 56.5/68 and the year before that 59.5/68 Since the UKCAT was different last year, 2017 entry was scored out of 48 points. The cut off was 40.5, which would correspond to roughly 57 points. You can find out more about these statistics here.

One of the good things about Leicester is they say on their website exactly how your academics and UKCAT will be scored, so you can work out how many points you’d get before you apply! 

For candidates deemed ‘borderline’ (near the points cut off), Leicester may take into account your ‘personal qualities’ by using your personal statement and reference.

Nottingham Medical School

Nottingham have a very similar system to Leicester. Again you are allocated points using your UKCAT and academics, but the process is a little different. Your GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, English Language and best three other subjects will be scored to give up to 16 points. You will also be allocated points based on your UKCAT.

Quite uniquely, you are scored for each cognitive section, so you will be given points for Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Decision Making, not your overall total. For each section you are scored as follows: 801-900 = 9 points, 701-800 = 8 points etc. This means someone scoring 601 in Verbal Reasoning will be given the same number of points (7 in this example) as someone scoring 700!

The SJT is also awarded points, using the following system: Band 1 = 4 points, Band 2 = 2 points, Band 3 = 1 point. Applicants who score a Band 4 will not be considered further. The four cognitive sections together with the SJT give a maximum of 40 points. This is added to the 16 points from your academics, with those achieving in the top 50% moving on to the next stage. This means that at Nottingham, the UKCAT has more weighting than academics, and the SJT plays a large role.

Those who make it to the next stage will have their personal statement (and reference) assessed, where up to 16 additional points can be added to the previous score. The top scoring applicants (now with the personal statement included) are invited to interview. 

Since there are many elements to Nottingham’s application system, there is no ‘cut-off’ UKCAT score and in fact it is quite hard to advise what a suitable UKCAT score would be, particularly as the scoring system is very different to other medical schools.

But to give you a good idea of what region you need to be in, for 2016 entry successful applicants had an average UKCAT score of 697.5! If your score is lower than this, Nottingham is still a possibility, it just means you will need some good GCSEs, a fantastic personal statement and hopefully a Band 1 in the SJT.

For 2015 entry, successful candidates scored on average 82% of the available points. But keep in mind the SJT is weighted more heavily than previous years, and so it is hard to comment on how many points are needed for interview.

Words: Daniel Huddart

Read the rest of the series here:


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