Do you need UCAT for medicine

Advice & Insight From UCAT Specialists

If you want to give yourself the best chance of securing a place at your preferred medical school, you need to carefully consider that taking the UCAT and BMAT will help you maximise your chances and put you in a strong position since it opens up the number of universities you may be eligible to apply to.

In theory, you can apply for medicine without sitting the UCAT. However, this would limit your choices to a great extent since only a limited number of UK universities accept the BMAT, as seen in the table below:

Brighton & Sussex Medical School

University College London

University of Manchester Medical School

Imperial College London

University of Cambridge

University of Oxford

Lancaster University

University of Leeds

Keele University

This therefore makes it very high risk to apply to only non-UCAT universities. And remember, there are thirty medical schools that do accept the UCAT.

So what should I do to optimise my chances?

A lot will depend on how well you perform in the UCAT and BMAT (should you decide to take it). If you do extremely well in the UCAT, you should consider applying to three UCAT universities and perhaps one BMAT university. This is because if you have a really strong UCAT score you should try to apply mostly to UCAT universities, since you are applying using your strengths. You should also look carefully at how different universities use your UCAT score (read article: “UCAT universities and how they use your score”) because this will help you select universities. For example, if you achieve an average score, you might consider medical schools such as Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia since they do use minimum cut-off scores when selecting candidates for interview. If you receive an average UCAT score, we advise splitting your application as follows: two applications to UCAT universities and two applications to BMAT universities.

What are the advantages of doing the BMAT?

The BMAT exam (Biomedical Aptitude Test) is an admissions test that requires knowledge of GCSE Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. It assesses your thinking skills, scientific knowledge and how you apply this, and also includes a short writing task. Whilst it differs in content from the UCAT, you may find that having taken the UCAT, you have gained confidence in answering the types of questions that may appear. As mentioned, taking the BMAT opens up the possibility of applying to the medical schools in the table above, therefore widening your options.

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