What to do if you score Band 4 in SJT
Advice & Insight From UCAT Specialists
If you have scored band 4 in the SJT and are unsure about what steps to take next regarding your medicine application, then you have come to the right place for advice. Achieving a score of 4 in the SJT is likely to be disappointing and demoralising, but we are here to reassure you that there is still hope. All students are likely to have weaker areas of their application e.g., lower GCSE grades or UCAT scores. To increase your chances of application success you must consider a strategic approach for your medical application choosing medical schools which place a lower weighting on your SJT score.
Putting your SJT score into perspective
Remember you cannot re-sit your UCAT exam in a single year. If you decide to apply to medicine this academic year, then you do not have the capacity to change your SJT score. There is no point dwelling on your perceived failure, rather show resilience and take the necessary steps to progress with your application. Remember your UCAT results are only valid for one year, consider if you have done as well as you’d hoped in the other sections, it’s always an option to reapply and re-sit the UCAT – and now you’ll have a previous experience to learn from.
The SJT is only 1/5th of the UCAT exam and the UCAT exam is only part of your application. Many Universities do not look at the SJT score and it is certainly not as important as your overall UCAT score in the application process. Remember, a third of students score band 3 and 4 in the SJT so you are not alone.
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Reflecting on your experience
As with any unsatisfying exam result what you do after the test will make a more significant difference to your success in the long run than the result itself. SJT questions were looking at how you reacted in certain clinical or professional settings, your medical interviews may provide you with similar scenarios. Consider whether you scored less highly due to your lack of awareness for medical ethics and decision making, how could you learn more about these areas before the interview?
You may have scored band 4 on the SJT because within your preparation you simply neglected this section. This is common as it is the last section in the UCAT and arguably the least important. If this is the case, learn from this and consider how you can be more reflective through any exam preparation stages. Similarly, your stamina may have meant that you struggled to maintain concentration throughout the whole of the test. This will not be a problem if you develop a self-awareness of how to pace yourself during exams.
Consider your SJT score in collaboration with your UCAT score. If you have also scored less highly on the UCAT exam, consider whether it may be beneficial to sit the BMAT test or apply to BMAT universities. None of the BMAT requiring universities will assess or consider your SJT score giving you another 8 universities to consider applying to.
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Which Universities to Rule in and out
How universities use the SJT score will differ. A score of band 1 does not generally tend to drive applications forward. However, lower scores may have the potential to hold you back if you don’t apply strategically.
There are several Universities who will not consider the SJT score as part of their admissions process. As you only have 4 application opportunities try to avoid wasting any applications and be selective where you apply. The following universities will not consider students with band 4 so you will automatically receive a rejection: Anglia Ruskin, Keele, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester. Several universities do not state how SJT is used. In these circumstances you may wish to avoid applications to these universities including Aston, Cardiff, Exeter and Sunderland. Freedom of Information legislations mean that you have the right to request SJT statistics of successful and unsuccessful candidates at different universities. Requests to specific universities can be directed using the website WhatdoTheyKnow. Although you may have been planning on applying to the above listed medical schools keep an open mind about considering applying to other universities. There are 33 medical schools in the UK so having 7 fewer to choose from may even help you with your selection process.
For the following universities, your SJT score is not at all considered: Aberdeen, Bristol, Dundee, Glasgow, Newcastle, Plymouth, Queen’s Belfast, Southampton and St Georges. Visit the websites and read the prospectuses for each of these universities and consider which fit with the medical school selection criteria you are basing your application upon. Keep in mind the weightings of other elements of your application and whether they have any UCAT score, or grade cut off thresholds. The medical Schools Council has a useful entry requirements comparison tool which can help you to utilise the areas of strength within your application. When selecting the 4 universities to apply to remember that it’s not all about entry requirements and the medical schools shortlisting policy. Many universities may shortlist candidates based upon similar criteria and have similar competition ratios. Think about what type of course you would like to study on and where.