Did you score between 640-670 on average (or between 2,560 and 2,680 in total) on your UCAT? Well done – that’s usually considered a good UCAT score! This blog outlines where you may want to consider applying with your score.
The main component used by Exeter when selecting for interview is predicted grades. You are tiered depending on your A-Level grades or predictions, shown below. Achieved A-Levels are favoured slightly over predicted grades, and those meeting certain widening participation criteria Those in the top tiers are invited to interview.
When there are too many candidates in a tier for the number of places, then the overall UCAT score is used to rank students from that tier. The UCAT score needed for interview in such a tier varies year on year. For 2018 entry all in tier 1 received an interview, regardless of UCAT score. For tier 2 a score of 2670 or higher and was needed. This would equate to a UCAT score in the top 30%. You can find more about the application process here.
|Rank||Grades achieved||Grades predicted|
St Andrews comments “to be considered for interview applicants must have a strong academic record, a positive reference and relevant, medically related work experience. Applicants meeting these requirements will be ranked on the basis of their UCAT global score. Those ranked in the top 400 or so will be given an interview.”
The Personal Statement and reference may be read but not scored. The key hurdle before interview will therefore be your UCAT score. The average overall UCAT score for 2016 entry was 687.5, in the top 20% of those sitting the UCAT.
If you score below 690 then St Andrews is still an option (remember 687.5 was just an average). In fact, the lowest score for an applicant called to interview for 2019 entry was 2410!
After interview you are ranked on interview scores (which incorporates the SJT). If there are many applicants towards the bottom of the ranking with the same interview/SJT score, they then use the overall UCAT score to differentiate between them. You can find out more here and here.
The score needed to secure an interview is dependent on both the fee status of an applicant and the pathway to which they are applying. It is possible to apply to either the England route, the Scottish route, or either. This corresponds to whether you spend the clinical years of your medical degree in England or Scotland. As each route has differing numbers of applicants, the minimum UCAT score needed for an interview will also differ. As for fee status, applicants are also divided into Scotland, EU, Rest of UK and overseas. The table below summarises the lowest UCAT score invited to interview for the different fee statuses and pathways:
|Fee status||Pathway||Academic Year|
|Overall minimum UCAT Score||1790||2410|
If you meet certain widening participation criteria, you will be given a 10% increase in your UCAT score.
For applications in previous years, St Andrews comment that: “for 2019 entry, applicants with a UCAT score of 2730 or above were invited to interview. However, the number used as a threshold for interview is subject to change year-on-year.” If a similar cut off were to apply this year, then students need to be in at least the top 15% for the UCAT to stand a chance of interview.
Birmingham selects students using a combination of GCSEs, overall UCAT score and additional points for ‘contextual points’. You can receive up to 10 points in total, with 4.5 for GCSEs, 3 for UCAT and 2.5 for contextual.
7 GCSEs are scored. These must include English Language, English Literature, Maths, Biology and Chemistry, plus 2 other subjects.
For the UCAT, the overall scores of applicants are separated into deciles and awarded up to three points. Be aware these are not the same as the overall deciles published on the UCAT website. Instead, these are the deciles of those applying to Birmingham. They comment these are likely to be different to last year’s deciles, but only marginally (your score is unlikely to move more than one decile). Last year’s deciles can be found here.
Finally, up to 2.5 ‘contextual’ points are awarded to applicants from particular schools – around 90% of state schools are included, with the most points awarded for meeting specific criteria such as living in particular areas. More on this can be found on Birmingham’s website. Contextual points had been given in previous years but were not incorporated into the scoring system in this way.
This altogether gives 10 points. You are then ranked on this and a threshold is set, with those above the threshold receiving an interview. For 2020 entry, the threshold for interview was 8.56, and 7.03 for contextual applicants.
For 2019 entry, this was 8.1, or 5.5 for contextual applicants. You can calculate an estimate of how many points you will receive on Birmingham’s website. Be aware that Birmingham has commented: “We have substantially altered our algorithm for calculating an application score. Therefore the historical data should be used with extreme caution when making a judgment about the likelihood of success of a future application.”
The Personal Statement is not usually used to select for interview. The SJT is used at the interview stage.
If you’re an international student, the application process is different, with candidates being ranked off UCAT score. For 2020 entry, the total threshold score for interview was 26400. For 2019 entry, the threshold was 2550.
At Dundee, you are ranked on a combination of academics and overall UCAT score. Academics contributes 60% and has traditionally been scored using both GCSEs and achieved/predicted A-Levels.
Your UCAT is then sorted into one of 10 different groups and given points based on this, contributing the other 40% of the ranking. This means that a low UCAT score can potentially be made up for with some good academics and vice versa.
Strangely, Dundee has removed many details from their website regarding how applications are processed. Therefore, the information below represents what Dundee have said about applications in previous years:
“There is no specific cut-off applied but obviously a high score is advantageous.” So how high are we talking? Well, Dundee state that for the 2016 applicant cohort the average UCAT score of applicants invited for interview was 2740. For 2018 entry, the average UCAT score for all applicants, regardless of interview, was 2590.
Once you are invited to interview, offers are made based purely on interview ranking and information on the UCAS form. The SJT is not used, but in the past Dundee has commented: “Band 4 may affect the decision on whether or not to make an offer”. Dundee adds: “the high level of competition means the minimum qualifications will rarely secure an interview without an exceptional UCAT score.”
At Aberdeen, applicants are sorted into deciles depending on their overall UCAT scores. They are then allocated points, which contribute 20% towards the application process. 30% then comes from academic attainment or predictions. GCSEs are not scored.
For academics, Aberdeen will award points for predicted or achieved grades, for example, A levels. An A* at A level will be awarded 27 points, and an A awarded 25 points. Those who have already achieved their A levels will be awarded an additional 5 points.
As for the UCAT, Aberdeen comment: “UCAT is scored based on all applicants to Aberdeen. Applicants total scores are ranked, split into deciles. These deciles are then sub-divided into two. The maximum number of points available is 60. The minimum is three.” These two elements are used to select for interview (which will contribute the remaining 50%). For 2019 entry, the score to be selected for interview was 110 points.
The SJT is not scored but may be used when making offers to applicants with similar scores. Although the Personal Statement is reviewed, it doesn’t contribute to the scoring but will be assessed during the interview.
Be aware that for Scottish universities, there are separate places for Scottish students and for students from the rest of the UK. If applying for the rest of the UK, there is more competition. For such students, the lowest UCAT score invited to interview for 2018 entry was 2440.
Remember the interview makes up 50% of the overall application. This makes Aberdeen quite unique by using UCAT alongside interview. Most medical schools will forget about your score once you get to the interview stage, but not. If you secure an interview with a low UCAT score, you will have to do especially well at the interview to make up for this. The table below represents the highest and lowest UCAT scores for students invited to interview:
|Home fees||Highest: 3280||Highest: 3150||Highest: 2480||Highest: 3350||Highest: 3290|
|Lowest: 2360||Lowest: 2380||Lowest: 1660||Lowest: 2180||Lowest: 2440|
|RUK fees||Highest: 3230||Highest: 3090||Highest: 2280||Highest: 3240||Highest: 3440|
|Lowest: 2340||Lowest: 2440||Lowest: 1920||Lowest: 2420||Lowest: 2550|
|International fees||Highest: 3190||Highest: 3010||Highest: 2480||Highest: 3140||Highest: 3220|
|Lowest: 2300||Lowest: 2580||Lowest: 1850||Lowest: 2210||Lowest: 2620|
At Glasgow “The UCAT score together with meeting Academic and Non-Academic Entry Requirements will be used to select applicants for interview”. This means the UCAT 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 UCAT score. For 2019 and 2018 entry the lowest score considered for interview was 670, for 2017 entry was 663 and for 2016 entry was 670.
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 UCAT. The SJT is not used.
The first stage of Manchester’s application process 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 UCAT scores in the second stage. A set number of applicants from the top of the ranking will proceed to the interview.
For 2019 entry the cut off for interview was 650. For 2018 entry this was 665. For 2017 entry this was 653 for 2016 entry was 665.
Manchester comments that “if your UCAT score is in the approximately the top third of all results nationally and you achieve Band 1 or 2 in the Situational Judgement Test (SJT), then you will be invited to interview based on our UCAT threshold as long as you meet our minimum academic requirements”. Around 1000 students will receive interviews this way. If you qualify for Widening Participation (WP) then this cut off will be lower.
Keep in mind Manchester has introduced a ‘non-academic information form’ (NAI) 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 in certain circumstances.
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.”
Keep in mind that if you score below Manchester’s UCAT threshold then an interview is still very much possible. If you score is below the threshold Manchester comment that “we will include it as part of a holistic assessment using all the information available to us to arrive at a decision (for example, GCSE grades, A-level profile, additional qualifications, NAI form etc). We expect to invite 500-600 applicants to interview on this selection route.”
As this ‘holistic assessment’ is relatively new for Manchester, it is difficult to know what would be needed to gain an interview. Manchester has commented: “If an applicant’s UCAT falls close to, but marginally lower than of the top third of UCAT results nationally then we no longer simply reject them on this criterion alone. To ensure that these applicants also get a chance to be interviewed, we will look at the information that is available on each UCAS form to arrive at a decision on these borderline candidates.”
They add that “for those applicants who are shortlisted on a holistic basis, we will look for, among other things, high levels of sustained academic achievement, and so more A*/A grades than required may be advantageous.”
They do not consider applicants who have scored Band 4 in the SJT, and will prioritise those with a Band 1 or 2 over those with a Band 3. You can find out more information on Manchester’s use of the UCAT here.
The table below represents the minimal overall UCAT threshold for the last few years:
Words and research by Dr. Daniel Huddart.
Loading More Content