In this article we will consider the UCAT test, and which UK medical schools make the most use of it during their admissions processes – in other words, which medical schools are particularly worth applying to if you do well in it.
What is the UCAT test?
The UCAT is a widely used admissions test by many medical schools in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, designed to evaluate a candidate’s cognitive abilities and personal attributes necessary for success in medical training and practice. Administered online as a computer-based test, it comprises five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Situational Judgement. Each section evaluates different cognitive abilities and personal attributes.
The Verbal Reasoning section assesses the candidate’s ability to read and comprehend complex information, extract relevant details, and arrive at accurate conclusions. It consists of 44 multiple-choice questions based on scientific or nonscientific passages of text.
The Decision Making section evaluates the candidate’s ability to analyze and evaluate information to make informed decisions. It comprises 29 multiple-choice questions based on numerical, textual, or graphical data.
The Quantitative Reasoning section assesses the candidate’s ability to interpret and manipulate numerical and statistical data. It comprises 36 multiple-choice questions based on basic mathematical principles, graphs, or tables.
The Abstract Reasoning section evaluates the candidate’s ability to identify patterns and relationships between different shapes or objects. It comprises 55 multiple-choice questions based on diagrams or shapes presented in different orientations.
The Situational Judgement section assesses the candidate’s ability to identify and evaluate various ethical, social, and professional situations that may arise in a medical setting. It comprises 69 multiple-choice questions based on scenarios related to communication, teamwork, ethical dilemmas, and patient care.
Medical School List 2024: Which UK Medical Schools Require UCAT?
Aberdeen University considers both UCAT scores and academic achievements in shortlisting candidates for interviews. 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 score and the cut-off for 2022 entry was 2,640.
Aston University accepts all SJT bands and uses UCAT scores to account for 1/3 of the shortlisting process, while academic qualifications account for the remaining 2/3.
At Birmingham University, UCAT represents 40% of the application score, and there is no minimum cut-off score.
Bristol University scores applications with a 100% weighting on UCAT after minimum academic entry requirements are met. For 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 UCAT scores to shortlist for interview, provided they meet the minimum eligibility and academic criteria.
Edinburgh University has a UCAT cut-off score of 2,470 for interview selection for 2023 entry, 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%.
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, where a high score is advantageous, and a low score does not disqualify an applicant from consideration.
Medical School List 2024: Which UK Medical Schools Require UCAT (continued)
Nottingham University gives points for the UCAT score, with Verbal Reasoning getting double points.
At Plymouth University, GCSEs, A-Levels, and UCAT results are all considered for 2022 entry. The cut-off score for UCAT was 2,610.
Queen Mary University of London (Barts) uses a 50:50 weighting for UCAT score and UCAS tariff. For 2022, applicants with a UCAT score of at least 2,360 were selected for interview.
Queen’s University Belfast uses UCAT scores (out of 6) and GCSE scores to rank candidates for interview selection.
Sheffield University candidates must meet minimum academic requirements and are then be ranked by their UCAT score. In 2022-23, the interview cut-off UCAT score was 2,850.
Southampton University ranks applicants by UCAT score to determine who will be invited to a Selection Day. The UCAT score is reviewed again alongside Selection Day performance to decide who will receive an offer.
St Andrews University ranks applicants by UCAT score and invites those within the top 500 or so for interview. In recent years, the lowest UCAT score for interview invitation has been around 2,400.
At St George’s, University of London, applicants are ranked by UCAT score and need to meet a standard requirement of 500 in each section. The cut-off UCAT 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.
At Warwick University, the required UCAT score for their Selection Centre varies from year to year. Applicants need to 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 a High UCAT Score?
Using the above information, you should note that the following universities are particularly good choices to apply to if you have a strong UCAT score:
Bristol, King’s College London, Newcastle Sheffield, and St Andrews. Note that other schools do use the test significantly during their admissions process, and that you should therefore not consider this list exhaustive.
UCAT Practice Tests and UCAT Preparation
There are various types of UCAT practice tests available, including free and paid options. Free practice tests are an excellent starting point to gain an insight into the test and identify areas of weakness. Numerous online resources provide free UCAT practice tests, including the official UCAT website, which offers one free practice test to registered candidates. However, free practice tests may not provide extensive feedback or detailed explanations, which may limit their effectiveness in improving performance. Paid UCAT practice tests offer more comprehensive features and provide test-takers with a more precise representation of the actual test. These practice tests offer detailed feedback on performance, including explanations of correct and incorrect answers and detailed progress statistics.
Paid practice tests also include additional resources, such as study materials, practice questions, and mock tests, which can further enhance preparation. To prepare adequately, candidates should complete a sufficient number of practice questions and take full-length mock practice exams before the actual test. It is vital to take these latter practice tests under test-like conditions, including the allotted time for each section, without distractions. Utilising a high-quality question bank such as the one offered here at BlackStone Tutors will allow test-takers to analyse their results and identify areas of weakness to develop a targeted study plan to improve those areas.
The BlackStone Tutors UCAT Question Bank is part of an online course that offers students an interactive and flexible way to learn and prepare for the exam. Our course includes a variety of resources such as study materials, practice tests, and guidance from experienced UCAT trainers. We regularly update our content to align with the latest updates to the test and provide students with more than 40 prep videos and over 10 hours of preparation tips and content, so they can work at their own pace and practice whenever they want.
Our course stands out from others as we offer a wide range of questions that accurately replicate the format of the real UCAT exam; we believe that an online course should be an integral part of your UCAT preparation journey, and should be used from the beginning to identify your strengths and weaknesses.