The UCAT is used by the majority of medical schools (want to know which medical schools use the UCAT? Find out on our UCAT guide!) and has to be taken between 1st July and 2nd October 2019.
The summer before you apply to medicine can get quite busy, potentially trying to fit in work experience, and writing a personal statement – so it’s important to book your test at a time that suits you! Here are some tips on what to consider…
Want to learn UCAT technique from our specialist tutors? Try our one-day UCAT Course…
There are many things to try and balance with a medical school application so work out what you have already planned for the summer, e.g. work experience/holidays, and when, to then see what gaps of time you have left for doing the UCAT.
Personally, I would recommend doing the UCAT earlier on in the summer rather than later for several reasons. Firstly, preparation can take up a fair amount of time, so if you get it done earlier on in the summer, it’s one less thing to worry about later on.
This leaves the rest of the summer to focus on other things such as your personal statement. It’s also important to make sure you have a break from work over the summer, as the last year of A-Levels is very full on!
I did my UCAT test at the end of July which for me was perfect timing as I had a couple of clear weeks before my test date, to largely focus on UCAT preparation.
However, if you know you have a very busy start to summer then leave it to a bit later, as I would recommend having a couple of weeks before your test to really focus on preparation.
See UCAT application dates and deadlines on our UCAT guide>>
Are you taking BMAT?
Another thing to think about is that if you are doing the BMAT test too then you will need to factor in your preparation time.
You can sit the BMAT on 31st August or 30th October 2019.
If you leave your UCAT test to later in the summer, then you might end up preparing for both at the same time which is probably not ideal!
Wondering whether you should take the BMAT in August or October? Take the quiz!>>
Are you motivated?
I also found doing my UCAT quite soon after finishing college for the year meant that I was still in work mode and was still motivated to do preparation for it.
It will vary individual by individual and you may feel you need a break after you finish before you start doing UCAT preparation, but I know I found it useful to just get it done straight away and then have a break afterwards.
If you book an earlier date, if you decide you aren’t ready to take your test then or are ill, you can push it back, depending on availability.
I know a couple of people who decided to push their test back a couple of weeks, and they were able to as they had booked relatively early test dates.
Got other questions about booking UCAT? Read our UCAT FAQs page>>
Do you have enough time to research medical schools?
Finally, with UCAT you get your test results immediately which is really useful.
This means you can then see which universities you can/can’t apply to and means if your UCAT result wasn’t the best, you can work on strengthening other parts of your application.
If you do the test earlier, you will get your results earlier so have more time to research universities where your results will be advantageous.
Find out how the UCAT has been used by medical schools in the past on our UCAT Scores page>>
Ultimately, deciding when to book your UCAT test comes down to you and everyone will have different things going on. The most important thing is that you have time to prepare beforehand so make sure you are happy with when you have booked your test.