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Applying For Medicine Without Sitting The UCAT

Advice & Insight From BMAT Specialists

It is very possible to gain a place at medical school without sitting the UCAT exam. Deciding whether to sit the UCAT will vastly influence your experience with the application process and your application options. Using our advice, take careful consideration when making this decision, thinking about all your options before the UCAT registration deadline.

Potential Reasons why students avoid sitting the UCAT

Other students choose not to sit the UCAT test because they have tried lots of practice questions and found the nature of the test extremely difficult. Deciding to not sit the UCAT will vastly restrict the number of universities which you will be eligible to apply for and reduce options for some of the entry pathways. Before discarding the idea of sitting the UCAT consider why you feel your performance would be inadequate and if you have the capacity to change your circumstances. There are several platforms providing practical advice and practice questions that you can utilise. Remember, the highest scoring candidates spend on average 25-30 hours preparing for the test. It is natural that at first you may be scoring more poorly.

Alongside your a-levels, academic studies and extra-curricular activities prioritising time adequately to prepare for and sit the UCAT exam is challenging.

Some students sit UCAT multiple years in a row and find it difficult to boost their UCAT score. If this is the case it may be sensible to think how you can fulfil your dream of studying medicine without needing to sit or use your UCAT score.

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Universities which do not require candidates to sit the UCAT

There are several Universities which allow undergraduate entry without the requirement to sit the UCAT:

  • University of Buckingham is a GMC accredited private university which do not use any form of admissions testing during their selection process. Students can apply to Buckingham via UCAS or directly, any applicants who meet the entry requirements are invited to selection days where students sit a Multiple Mini Interview.
  • The University of Central Lancashire Medical School does not require students to sit the UCAT. This course has a very small cohort of 48 students. You must be resident in the North West of England or an international student in order to be apply.

BMAT Universities

The table below list the 8 UK universities which utilise the BMAT exam instead of the UCAT. The Cambridge Assessment centre who writes and coordinate the BMAT recently introduced a September test session. This means students can sit the BMAT and receive their results before their UCAS deadline. You will need to have registered for the UCAT before this. If you are anxious about how you will score on the UCAT sitting the BMAT can be a great backup option.

University

Course

Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Medicine

Imperial

Medicine

Lancaster University

Medicine and Surgery, Medicine and Surgery with a Gateway Year

University College London

Medicine

University of Cambridge

Medicine

University of Leeds

Medicine, Gateway year to medicine

University of Oxford

Medicine and Graduate entry

Keele

A100 (International students only)

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Alternative Entry Pathways

There are a variety of entry pathways which students can follow to gain a place at medical school. The most common and direct entry pathway to medicine in the UK is to complete a 5/6-year undergraduate degree. Most UK medical schools will utilise the UCAT admissions test as part of their admissions process, therefore, consider if there are other entry pathways that you can follow.

Transfer courses

You may decide to take an indirect route to medicine by applying to a university which offers a transfer to medicine. These courses allow students to enrol in the first year of an undergraduate medicine degree after having completed the first year of study as part of one of the universities selected courses. If you are planning on taking this pathway, make sure you research the pros and cons of this route into medicine. It may not always be possible to transfer across from your original degree, and transfer is often reliant on your academic achievements in first year. The criteria for transfer courses will vary where some universities may not utilise the UCAT score.

Graduate entry

As a graduate you may not be required to sit the UCAT in order to gain a place at medical school. Graduate Entry Medicine is for students who have completed and graduated from another University course often science or medicine related, although not explicity. If you are not wanting to sit the UCAT you may still meet the entry requirements for some of these courses. Cardiff, Bangor, Liverpool and Nottingham Medical Schools all offer graduate entry medicine courses where candidates are not required to sit the UCAT. These universities utilise the GAMSAT admissions test. Note, like the UCAT and BMAT the GAMSAT admissions test is very challenging and graduate entry medicine is equally as competitive as undergraduate applications. The skill sets being assessed as part of the GAMSAT are similar to that of the UCAT

To study at The University of Exeter the selection criteria may be based upon a GAMSAT result rather than the UCAT.  For applicants with a levels or equivalent taken more than two full academic years previously the GAMSAT is required. This means even if you will begin the medicine course as a undergraduate, if you have taken multiple gap years, you can avoid the UCAT.

International Applications

There are many universities aboard which provide you with an opportunity to get an international education. The entry requirements in these countries may differ from the UK, for example there are several Universities in Australia which accept international students who have not sat the UCAT exam. Before you apply to these universities you must research their admissions requirements.

Applying For Medicine Without Sitting The UCAT

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