Universities requiring the UCAT
(updated: 2019 entry)
University of Aberdeen
Anglia Ruskin University
University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
University of Dundee
University of East Anglia
Edge Hill University
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
Hull York Medical School
*only for home (UK/EU) students;
BMAT required instead for international students
King's College London
University of Leicester
University of Liverpool
University of Manchester
University of Nottingham
Queen Mary University of London
Queen's University Belfast
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
St George's, University of London
University of Sunderland
University of Warwick
There are five sections in total, four of which contribute to your overall score. The fifth section, known as the Situational Judgement test, does not contribute to your overall score. Instead, you will receive a grade ranging from Band 1 (highest) to Band 4 (lowest) indicating how well you performed in this particular section.
All questions are multiple-choice and a simple on-screen calculator is available for use in any section.
Each section begins with a 1-minute instruction page, which is not included in your test time.
If you have a documented medical condition or disability, you may be entitled to extra time. Find out if you are eligible here.
1. VERBAL REASONING
This section comprises of 11 short text passages with four questions relating to each passage. Candidates will be required to make inferences and draw conclusions from the information quickly and carefully.
The questions come in various forms, as outlined below.
You may receive a statement, which will require you to respond with either “True”, “False”, or “Can’t Tell”.
You may receive an incomplete statement, which you will then have to complete using the options given.
You may receive a question based on the passage, which you will then have to answer using the options given.
Total number of questions: 44
Test time: 21 minutes
Amount of time per question: 28.6 seconds per question
2. decision making
This section was introduced in 2016 to replace “Decision Analysis”, the UKCAT section used prior to 2016. Questions in this section will refer to text, charts, tables, graphs, or diagrams, along with possible additional information. All questions are separate and do not share any data.
The questions come in two forms, as outlined below.
You may have to label each of five statements with either a “Yes” or “No”.
In response to the question, you may have to pick the single-best answer from the options given.
Total number of questions: 29
Test time: 31 minutes
Amount of time per question: 64.1 seconds per question
3. quantitative REASONING
This section requires the candidate to retrieve relevant information from tables, charts, and/or graphs and to solve a particular problem. The candidate will require a basic (up to GCSE level) numerical literacy to perform these calculations. There will be five answer options, and the candidate will have to pick the single-best answer.
Total number of questions: 36
Test time: 24 minutes
Amount of time per question: 40 seconds per question
4. abstract REASONING
This section requires candidates to identify patterns within sets of abstract shapes. The questions come in various forms, as outlined below.
You will see two separate groups of shapes, labeled “Set A” and “Set B”.
a) You will then be asked to choose the shape that belongs in e.g. “Set A” from the options given.
b) Alternatively, you may see a test shape and you will have to determine whether the test shape belongs to either “Set A”, “Set B”, or “Neither”.
There will be a series of shapes in succession, and you will have to select the next shape in the series from the options given.
You will be presented with a statement involving a group of shapes. You will then have to choose the shape that completes the statement.
Total number of questions: 55
Test time: 13 minutes
Amount of time per question: 14.2 seconds per question
5. situational judgement
The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is a test that already exists for medical students and doctors. Despite this, no existing medical or procedural knowledge is required to answer these questions. There will be 22 different scenarios, each with up to five questions. You will need to be able to consider the appropriateness of possible actions and determine how crucial certain considerations are. The questions come in various forms, as outlined below.
In response to the situation, you may have to choose the most appropriate (or least appropriate) action to take.
You may have to rate the suitability of each response from four possible options.
Total number of questions: 69
Test time: 26 minutes
Amount of time per question: 22.6 seconds per question
scoring & results
How The Scoring System Works
A. Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning
Raw marks are awarded for correct answers only; there is no negative marking. Raw marks are then scaled to a score between 300 (lowest) and 900 (highest) for each section. Your total score will be the sum of your scores from these four sections – your score will therefore range between 1200 and 3600. Scores are often discussed in terms of the average score for the four sections – i.e. a candidate with a total score of 2616 can also say that he has an average score of 654.
B. Situational Judgement
In this section, full marks are awarded for answers that are correct, and partial marks are awarded if your answer is close enough to the correct answer. Your result will be presented to you in the form of a grade ranging from Band 1 (highest) to Band 4 (lowest). The most common band achieved by candidates is Band 2, with over 40% of candidates receiving this grade in years 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Over 20,000 students take the UKCAT test every year. The average score varies slightly each year, but is usually around 635. When practicing on mock tests, we recommend aiming for an average score of 650 and above. Average scores and decile rankings for the 2017 cycle can be found here.
where to apply based on your ucat score
Different medical schools use UCAT scores differently. Some universities set a minimum cut-off score when offering interview invitations, while others consider each candidate’s application holistically instead. Since the UCAT test is conducted in the summer, and you will obtain your results before you apply via UCAS, we strongly suggest that you use this to your advantage. If you have a particularly high score, apply to universities that put a higher weightage on UCAT scores. Conversely, if your UCAT score is not your strong point, there are many universities that do not consider UCAT scores as much. You can find out how each university uses UCAT results in selecting candidates here.
how to prepare
Once your summer break begins, it is best to start preparing for the UCAT as soon as possible.
There are a selection of books that offer UCAT techniques and thousands of sample questions, but the best way to prepare for the UCAT is by using online question bank websites and utilising their practice questions under timed conditions, because this will emulate real UCAT test conditions. It is important to choose question bank websites that have web interfaces that are as similar to the real UCAT test as possible.
The official UCAT website offers three practice tests, so treat these three tests as the gold standard of what the real UCAT will be like.
When practicing on mock exams, remember that you are not trying to learn the content that is being tested. Instead, focus on: -
a) gaining familiarity with the layout of the webpage
b) learning how to use the on-screen calculator quickly
c) being familiar the style of questions that may come out in your real exam
d) being able to read and absorb text passages quickly
e) using your pen and paper tactfully
Here is a selection of tried-and-tested question bank websites that offer sample/practice questions: -
Official UCAT Practice Test (Free): http://practice.ukcat.ac.uk/pages/menu.aspx?pack=19e59fe9-92d7-4b39-a7b9-dcd017733181
Kaplan Test Prep (Free Trial Available): https://www.kaptest.co.uk/ukcat/practice-questions
The Medic Portal (Free Questions Available): https://www.themedicportal.com/e-learning/ukcat/
UCATPrep by Emedica (Free Questions Available): http://ukcatprep.com/ukcat_questions.html
Oxbridge Applications: http://www.oxbridgeapplications.com/resources/mock-test-packs/ukcat/
UKCAT Ninja by 6med: https://ukcat.ninja
UCAT Online Course by Medify (Free Questions Available): https://www.medify.co.uk/ukcat
UCAT Masterclass (targeted towards Australian students) (1 Free Test Available): https://www.ucatmasterclass.com/
All the best!
Medical Schools Council. Entry Requirements for UK Medical Schools 2019 Entry [Internet]. London: Medical Schools Council; 2018 [cited 23 July 2018]. Available from: https://www.medschools.ac.uk/media/2357/msc-entry-requirements-for-uk-medical-schools.pdf
UKCAT Universities | UKCAT Consortium [Internet]. ukcat.ac.uk. 2018 [cited 23 July 2018]. Available from: https://www.ukcat.ac.uk/ukcat-test/ukcat-universities/
UKCAT Dates and Fees | UKCAT Consortium [Internet]. ukcat.ac.uk. 2018 [cited 23 July 2018]. Available from: https://www.ukcat.ac.uk/ukcat-test/ukcat-dates-and-fees/
UKCAT Test Statistics 2017 [Internet]. UKCAT Consortium; 2017 [cited 26 July 2018]. Available from: https://www.ukcat.ac.uk/media/1198/2017-ukcat-test-statistics-oct-2017.pdf