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UCAT At A Test Centre vs. UCAT Online

Much has changed in the past few months and in line with many changes being made to exams, it is possible to sit the UCAT either online at home (different to previous years) or at a test centre (as in previous years).

Wherever you choose to sit the UCAT, remember that you will be sitting the same test: the content, format and timings will be exactly the same.

It is completely up to you where you choose to sit the test, however there are upsides and downsides to both options. 

Advantages:

UCAT Online (home)UCAT at a test centre
No travel – by choosing to sit UCAT Online, especially if you do not live near a test centre can save you a considerable amount of hassle on the day. Same as previous years – this is the test format that all previous candidates have sat and are familiar with.
Lower Covid-19 risk – especially if you or a member of your household is in a high-risk group, sitting UCAT Online means you will not come into contact with any extra people, meaning that the risk of you contracting Covid-19 (although already probably low) is even lower. Access arrangements – UCATSEN, UCATSA, UCATSENSA and UCATSEN50 are easier to accommodate at a test centre (though it is possible for you to sit these versions of the test at home). UCAT recommend taking UCATSEN50 at a test centre as this test is very long (180 minutes/3 hours)
Self-isolation – If you are self-isolating, you may be unable to take UCAT at a test centre. Sitting UCAT Online however will not be a problem. Peace of mind – By choosing to sit UCAT at a test centre, you do not need to worry about ‘ticking all of the boxes’ (e.g. testing space, equipment etc.)
Same as previous years – this is the test format that all previous candidates have sat and are familiar with. No need for a parent/guardian (under 18s) – unlike doing UCAT Online, you do not need to bring a parent/guardian with you (if you are over 18 no parent/guardian is needed at home for consent either).
No proctoring – Though you will be in an invigilated room, you will not be proctored – if you do not like the idea of having an invigilator watch you take the test via webcam, a test centre may be a better option for you.

Disadvantages:

UCAT Online (home)UCAT at a test centre
Internet/technology issues – Depending on what your home internet connection is like, there is a chance of your internet cutting out/the test being slow to run/something not working right – although the risk is low and there are many things you can do to reduce the risk (ensure no-one else is using your internet at the same time) and UCAT has
measures in place, some people will have much more
peace of mind at home.
Far away – If you live remotely, it might be hard to reach your nearest test centre.
ID – ID accepted Online is different to at a test centre and if you are under 18, your parent/guardian must also present a form of accepted photographic ID – it is worth checking UCAT’s website and guides for this. Unfamiliar environment – Having to sit an important test in an unfamiliar environment can be disconcerting and can make some people more nervous (though the nerves may give you a boost on the day – it’s not all
bad!).
Test space – To sit UCAT Online, you must be in a walled room, alone, with the door shut the entire time you are testing. For some candidates this is tricky due to their living circumstances.
Distractions – It is hard to control other people and at home you are likely to have more ambient noise and a greater risk of being distracted than at a test centre.
No need to do a ‘Systems Test’ – If testing Online, you must do a ‘Systems Test’ to make sure you’re equipment is compatible with and supports UCAT – if it does not, then you will have to take UCAT at a test centre.
UCAT Online is not available in all countries – In Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) you are unable to sit UCAT Online and so must be sat at a test centre.

The biggest advantage of doing UCAT at home is convenience, however there are many other requirements to fulfil. Also remember that you need to book your UCAT test whether you sit it at home or Online.

Overall, this is about making an informed decision on whether you meet testing requirements to do UCAT Online and where you will perform at your best – this is different for each candidate so it is very important that you make the right decision for yourself. Good luck! 

Written by: Nafisa Barma


Ready to get started with your UCAT preparation?  Check out our trusted UCAT Webinar, available live online.

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Other recent blogs to check out:

UCAT 2020 Registration – What You Need To Know

Top Tips For Sitting UCAT Online At Home

Three Big Changes To UCAT 2020

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