The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a significant criterion used by dental schools to assess the aptitude and readiness of applicants to join their institutions. However, not all universities weigh UCAT scores with the same level of importance in their admissions process. For students who achieve an average UCAT score, understanding how different schools value and integrate this score into their overall evaluation can be crucial. 

Factors to Consider When Applying with an Average UCAT Score for Dentistry

Although the UCAT can form a considerable part of the admissions process when selecting potential candidates, most universities also look at other aspects of the application such as academic achievement, personal statement and work experience. Students can strengthen their application by focusing on the other aspects and doing sufficient research into different universities’ admissions criteria to see which dental schools would consider their profile to be strong.

If you’ve scored low on the UCAT, you might want to consider applying to universities that accept students with a low UCAT score. 

Universities Requiring Average UCAT Score for Dentistry

Aberdeen Dental School

  • The lowest UCAT scores usually required for an interview at Aberdeen are ~2450.
  • Aberdeen requires a fairly average UCAT score to be considered for an interview and weigh their decision based on 60% on academics and 40% on the UCAT. Therefore, more average UCAT scores can be compensated with higher academics to improve your overall application. Additionally, Aberdeen does not consider the SJT component of the UCAT.
  • Aberdeen Dental School would be a good place to apply to if you have an average UCAT score but good academic achievements, especially if you did not perform well on the SJT as that is not looked at.

Glasgow Dental School

  • The minimum UCAT scores usually required to be interviewed at Glasgow are ~2600.
  • Glasgow takes a holistic look at applicants, considering their UCAT score, academics and personal statement. However, though some other universities also do this, the UCAT scores required tend to be higher at Glasgow, so compensating a low score with good academics may not be enough.
  • If you have an average UCAT score in addition to a good overall application including academic grades, Glasgow would be a good option to consider. 

King’s College London Dental School

  • To be interviewed at KCL, applicants require a UCAT score of at least ~2350.
  • KCL considers the UCAT equally (50/50) to other aspects of the application such as GCSE grades. Therefore, average UCAT scores can be accepted for an interview if candidates have sufficient GCSE grades.
  • If you performed averagely in the UCAT but have decent GCSEs, consider KCL for your application.

Plymouth Dental School

  • The lowest UCAT scores typically required for an interview at Plymouth are ~2600.
  • Although Plymouth has an official UCAT cut-off of around 2300, the minimum scores actually required to receive an interview are higher. Plymouth considers applicants’ UCAT scores and academic achievement holistically when selecting for interview, meaning academics can compensate for more average scores.
  • If you have an average UCAT score in addition to good academics, Plymouth may be a good candidate for your application.

Sheffield Dental School

  • The minimum UCAT scores usually required to be interviewed at Sheffield are ~2650.
  • Although the UCAT requirements for Sheffield are not as high as some universities, they do put a decent emphasis on the UCAT while considering academics aswell. Importantly, Sheffield will reject applicants with an SJT score of 4 and weigh the Verbal Reasoning component higher than other sections.
  • If you have an average UCAT score with an SJT score of 1-3 and particularly, if you did well in the VR section, consider Sheffield as a good option for your application.

How to Research and Shortlist Potential Dental Schools

It is really important to properly understand the selection criteria for different universities to ensure that you apply strategically and optimise your strengths. All universities give some detail about what they look for in their applicants, however, only some display detailed statistics regarding their UCAT admissions.

Fortunately, it is very easy to find completed freedom of information requests for those statistics which can give you a good insight into whether your UCAT score is strong enough for each university. Use this information in combination with what you have learnt about other aspects of their selection criteria to inform which schools you apply to.

To help you shortlist your options, consider which university is best suited to your personal circumstances, such as their location, specifics regarding course structure and teaching and student support services available. 

Leverage Personal Experiences and Skills

To help strengthen your application, use your personal experiences and the skills you possess to help you stand out against other candidates. Reflect upon your strengths, and which qualities you display that would make you a good dentist and convey these in your personal statement.

Such qualities can include empathy, motivation and teamwork abilities. Finally, consider who may be best to provide your personal statement so that these qualities can be best reflected.

Explore Networking and Shadowing Opportunities

Gaining experience in the field of dentistry prior to your application demonstrates your motivation for the subject and understanding of what the career involves. Try to build connections by speaking with different dentists or researchers and aim to get a range of shadowing opportunities.

Reaching out to a variety of different dental practices will increase your chances of gaining such experiences and can be done via email or in person. Further advice on gaining work experience can be here.


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