This article focuses on the UCAT test, and where to apply if your score wasn’t as strong as you had hoped. Remember that the majority of universities that use the test as part of their admissions process do not rely on it entirely or as a certain threshold – but that you must be careful of the schools that do.
What is the UCAT test? What is its format?
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a standardised test used in the UK and Australia for admission to medical, dental, and related courses at universities. The test is designed to assess cognitive abilities, attitudes, and professional behaviour that are relevant to the study and practice of medicine.
The UCAT is a computer-based test that is administered at designated test centres. The test consists of five sections that measure different aspects of cognitive ability and behaviour:
– Verbal Reasoning: This section measures the ability to critically evaluate information presented in written form. It consists of 44 multiple-choice questions.
– Decision Making: This section assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgments in complex situations. It consists of 29 multiple-choice questions.
– Quantitative Reasoning: This section measures the ability to solve numerical problems and interpret data. It consists of 36 multiple-choice questions.
– Abstract Reasoning: This section measures the ability to identify patterns, relationships, and underlying principles in complex information. It consists of 55 multiple-choice questions.
– Situational Judgement: This section assesses the ability to make effective and ethical decisions in real-world situations. It consists of 69 multiple-choice questions.
The UCAT test is timed, and candidates have a total of 120 minutes to complete all sections. There are no breaks during the test, but candidates may take a break between sections if they wish. Each section of the test is scored separately, and the scores are then combined to give an overall UCAT score. The score ranges from 300 to 900, with 500 being the average score. The scores are used by universities to rank candidates and determine their suitability for admission to medical, dental, and related courses. The UCAT test is designed to be fair and unbiased. The questions are carefully developed to ensure that they are relevant, reliable, and valid. The test is also designed to be accessible to all candidates, regardless of their background or educational experience. To take the UCAT test, candidates must register online and choose a test centre and a test date.
UCAT Medical School List 2024: Which UK Medical Schools Require UCAT?
Aberdeen University considers both UCAT scores and academic achievements when shortlisting candidates for an interview. For the 2023 entry, UK applicants (excluding Scotland) with an average score of 2,760 and Scottish applicants with an average score of 2,670 were invited to interview.
Anglia Ruskin University ranks candidates based on their UCAT scores, and the cut-off for 2022 entry was 2,640.
At Aston University, the Situational Judgment Test (SJT) bands are accepted, and UCAT scores account for 1/3 of the shortlisting process, while academic qualifications account for the remaining 2/3.
UCAT represents 40% of the application score at Birmingham University, and there is no minimum cut-off score.
Bristol University gives a 100% weighting to UCAT scores after minimum academic entry requirements are met. For the 2022 entry, the interview threshold was 2,870.
Cardiff University considers UCAT scores as part of the selection process only if they receive an oversubscription of applicants with exceptional academic scores.
Dundee University uses UCAT scores alongside academic ability, but they do not provide further details on how.
Edge Hill University ranks candidates based on their UCAT scores to shortlist for interview, provided they meet the minimum eligibility and academic criteria.
At Edinburgh University, the UCAT cut-off score for interview selection for 2023 entry was 2,470, and applicants who receive Band 4 in SJT will be rejected.
Exeter University uses UCAT scores to account for 25% of shortlisting, with academic performance counting for 75%.
UCAT Medical School List 2024: Further UCAT Universities
Glasgow University allocates interviews to applicants who meet all screening criteria based on their UCAT scores. For 2022 entry, UK applicants (excluding Scotland) with a score of 2,870 and Scottish applicants with a score of 2,640 were invited to interview.
Hull York Medical School gives UCAT scores a score out of 40 and GCSEs a score out of 30. SJT banding is allocated up to 15 points, and they have a minimum requirement of Bands 1-3.
Keele University considers applicants who score above a cut-off score of 2,280.
Kent and Medway Medical School requires applicants to get at least Band 3 in SJT and meet the cut-off score (previously 2,470 in 2021-22).
King’s College London averages the overall UCAT score across the four subtests, taking into account SJT as well. For 2023 entry, the mean score for interviewees was 2,930.
Leicester University gives a 50:50 weighting to UCAT score and academic ability.
Liverpool University ranks candidates based on UCAT scores to shortlist for interview, with 2,620 considered as a competitive score for 2021-22.
Manchester University applies a threshold for UCAT scores, which was 2,750 in 2022-23. Applicants who meet that year’s threshold and achieve Band 1/2 in SJT are likely to be invited to interview.
Newcastle University ranks applicants for interview based on their UCAT scores, and the threshold for 2022 entry was 2,800.
Norwich Medical School (UEA) ranks applicants based on their UCAT scores for interview selection. A high score is advantageous, and a low score does not disqualify an applicant from consideration.
Nottingham University assigns points based on UCAT score, giving double points for Verbal Reasoning.
Plymouth University considers GCSEs, A-Levels, and UCAT results, with a UCAT cut-off score of 2,610.
Queen Mary University of London (Barts) uses a 50:50 weighting for UCAT score and UCAS tariff, and applicants with a UCAT score of 2,360 or higher were invited to interview for 2022.
Queen’s University Belfast ranks candidates for interview selection based on UCAT scores (out of 6) and GCSE scores.
At Sheffield University, applicants must meet minimum academic requirements and are ranked based on their UCAT score, with an interview cut-off score of 2,850 in 2022-23.
Southampton University ranks applicants based on their UCAT score to determine who will be invited to a Selection Day. The UCAT score is then reviewed alongside Selection Day performance to decide who will receive an offer.
St Andrews University ranks applicants based on their UCAT score and invites those within the top 500 or so for interview, with the lowest UCAT score for interview invitation being around 2,400 in recent years.
At St George’s, University of London, applicants are ranked based on their UCAT score and must achieve a standard requirement of 500 in each section. The UCAT cut-off score for 2022 entry was 2,710.
To be considered at Sunderland University, applicants must be within the top 8 deciles and have an SJT Band 3 or above.
The required UCAT score for Warwick University’s Selection Centre varies from year to year. Applicants must achieve at least the overall mean score in Verbal Reasoning, and the minimum UCAT score for Selection Centre invitation in 2022 was 2,660.
Which UK universities should I apply to with an average UCAT score?
An average UCAT score should be acceptable at most universities other than Bristol, King’s College London, Newcastle Sheffield, St George’s and St Andrews – however, you should also consider avoiding Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton and Warwick. Note that other universities will of course still use the test as part of their admissions process, and that therefore they may also best be avoided depending on exactly how the test is used.
What universities should I apply to with a poor UCAT score?
If you have a poor UCAT score – which in reality would simply be a score that is lower than average – you must be careful with your applications. Aston, Cardiff, Exeter, Hull York, Keele, Kent & Medway, and Sunderland.
UCAT preparation to avoid an average score
The best route to avoiding issues with an average UCAT score is to ensure that you receive a strong score! You should therefore prepare well in advance. We recommend spending 6 weeks time preparing, and that you should therefore sit the exam towards the end of the summer break. To start, take an initial test to assess their strengths and weaknesses. This will help create a personalised study plan that focuses on improving your weakest areas.
You should then make use of a question bank – like that offered here at BlackStone Tutors – in addition to the free materials available through the UCAT site. Ensure that you hone in on areas of weakness throughout your preparation, and that you practise under timed conditions – especially as the test itself gets closer. In the final couple of weeks before the exam, try to practise only under timed, realistic exam conditions, and ensure that you are as familiar with the format and feel of the test as possible.