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1st October 2021
You’ll get your UCAT score before the UCAS deadline in October, which means you can be very strategic about which UCAT universities you apply to. Simon Pedley, Head of Academia, explains how to do this for 2022 entry.

1. Understand Interim UCAT Scores

The 2021 interim UCAT scores were recently shared. Make sure you take a look and understand what these mean – and more importantly, where your score fits within these.

While it’s not possible to guess what a high, average or low UCAT score is before the final statistics are released, it should give you a good sense of where you compare.

We explained the interim scores, what we think might be considered a high or low score in our webinar, and which unis have a high, medium or low emphasis on UCAT in our webinar, which you can replay now:

2. Understand All Entry Requirements

Your UCAT score is important, but it’s not the only factor used when shortlisting for Medical School interviews. You need to understand:

  • Does the Med School rank you by UCAT score alone? Or will your UCAT score be assessed alongside other factors like academic requirements?
  • If the university doesn’t go by UCAT score alone, how important is the UCAT? For example, is it worth 25% of the selection criteria, or 50%?
  • Does the Med School have a higher emphasis on your GCSE or predicted A-Level grades?

You can find out how scores are used in our UCAT universities guide.

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3. Use Your Research To Shortlist Strategically

If you have a high UCAT score:

  • You may want to consider the unis that place the greatest emphasis on scores. Typically this looks like ranking candidates by their score, because having a high score is more likely to help you get shortlisted for interview.
  • You could also apply to Med Schools that place less emphasis on UCAT scores but typically make offers to people with high scores – but you should only consider this option if you are equally as strong in the other areas that are important for shortlisting. For example, if you meet or exceed the academic requirements and have a strong application.

If you have a medium UCAT score:

  • You may prefer to consider universities that won’t focus on your UCAT score so much. For example, some UCAT unis will score your UCAT performance and then score the rest of your application, with UCAT making up half of your overall application score.
  • You could also look at Med Schools that have lower cut-off scores, for example the 6th decile and above.
  • You could also consider places that will rank you by score but you know that people in previous years have been interviewed with average UCAT scores. This information can be hard to find for some universities, but many do share this level of data on their websites.

If you have a low UCAT score:

  • You could consider Med Schools that will score your UCAT performance alongside your application but with a higher weighting on your academic ability. For example, where your UCAT score only counts for 25% of your overall application score – but your academic score counts for the remaining 75%. It’s important to understand that your academic score will need to be strong because it makes up such a bit part of the application.
  • You may also want to think about universities that don’t rank by score and have a low cut-off score for interviews.

If your SJT score is low:

  • Many universities don’t accept anyone with Band 4 in SJT, so if you have a low SJT score then you need to make sure you don’t apply anywhere that would automatically reject you.

If your SJT score is high:

  • A high SJT score may have an impact on the universities that use your SJT score as part of their interview scoring process – or when it’s used to decide between two borderline applicants.

You can find this detail in our UCAT universities guide – but we strongly advise you check directly with each Medical School before you make any application decisions. 

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