30th May 2023
Wondering what the UCAT is and what it tests for? We’ve got the answers to help you understand more about the widely used Medical School admissions test.

What Is UCAT?

UCAT stands for University Clinical Aptitude Test. The UCAT is a two-hour computer-based test, designed to assess the cognitive abilities of prospective medical students.

The UCAT test is used by most UK Medical Schools as part of their selection process. If you achieve a high UCAT score, this will boost your chances of getting into Medical School.

What Does UCAT Test For?

There are five sections in the UCAT test: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement. All sections are made up of multiple-choice questions, but each section has its own set of rules and time limits.

  • Verbal Reasoning tests your comprehension and analysis of written text. It includes questions based on passages of text. You get 21 minutes to answer 44 questions.
  • Decision Making tests your ability to evaluate information and draw logical conclusions. It includes questions based on diagrams and charts. You get 31 minutes to answer 29 questions.
  • Quantitative Reasoning tests your ability to solve problems using numerical information. It includes questions based on calculations. You get 25 minutes to answer 36 questions.
  • Abstract Reasoning tests your pattern recognition and problem solving skills. It includes questions based on shapes. You get just 12 minutes to answer 50 questions.
  • Situational Judgement tests your judgement in realistic work scenarios. It includes questions based on short passages of text. You get 26 minutes to answer 69 questions.

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What Is The Difference Between UCAT And BMAT?

Most UK Medical Schools require applicants to sit the UCAT test, while six (including Oxford and Cambridge) currently require applicants to sit the BMAT exam instead. The BMAT is being discontinued from 2024 onwards, so BMAT universities will be making alternative arrangements for candidates applying next year.

The UCAT is a computer-based test and you can choose your own test date between 10th July and 28th September 2023. In contrast, the BMAT is a paper-based exam and there is only one test date – 18th October 2023. You find out your UCAT score as soon as you have completed the test, whereas you get your BMAT result just over a month after sitting the exam.

The BMAT consists of three sections: Section 1 – Thinking Skills (60 minutes), Section 2 – Scientific Knowledge and Applications (30 minutes) and Section 3 – Writing Task (30 minutes).

What Is The Difference Between UCAT And UCAT ANZ?

The UCAT ANZ is required by a number of Medical Schools in Australia and New Zealand. The testing period for UCAT ANZ begins 3rd July and ends 1th August 2023, so it’s shorter than the testing period for UCAT.

In terms of content, the UCAT and the UCAT ANZ are the same test. This means that preparation materials for the UCAT are also relevant to applicants sitting the UCAT ANZ.

UCAT Preparation Strategies

To prepare for the UCAT and maximise your score in every subtest, you need to:

  • Understand the types of questions you will be asked and familiarise yourself with them.
  • Learn strategies to tackle each type of question in the most efficient way.
  • Practise mental maths and estimation techniques to save time on calculations.
  • Take practice tests to get used to the exam format and time restrictions.
  • Work on your weaknesses – don’t spend all of your time on the subtests you find easier.

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