If you’re an aspiring doctor, and you’re not taking the BMAT, you’ll probably be taking the UCAT. But what exactly is the UCAT?
What is the UCAT?
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a pre-interview assessment for students applying to study at a number of UK Medical and Dental Schools.
Who wants the UCAT?
It is an admissions test for many universities’ Medicine and Dentistry courses:
- University of Aberdeen
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bristol
- Cardiff University
- University of Dundee
- Durham University
- University of East Anglia
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Glasgow
- Hull York Medical School
- Keele University
- King’s College London
- University of Leicester
- University of Liverpool
- University of Manchester
- University of Newcastle
- University of Nottingham
- Plymouth University
- Queen Mary, University of London
- University of Sheffield
- University of Southampton
- University of St. Andrews
- St. George’s University of London
- University of Warwick
How is the UCAT different to the BMAT?
The UCAT is less focused on academic ability than the BMAT, and more designed to assess your attitude and mental ability focusing on skills deemed necessary for a career in the healthcare profession. It is therefore designed to test how you think and not what you know. There is therefore not a set syllabus as such, unlike the BMAT.
What’s the UCAT made up of?
The UCAT is composed of five sections lasting a total of 2 hours:
- Section 1: Verbal Reasoning – Critically evaluate written information (44 Questions). You have a total of 21 minutes for this section.
- Section 2: Decision Making – Make decisions and judgements (29 Questions). You have a total of 31 minutes for this section.
- Section 3: Quantitative Reasoning – Critically evaluate numerical information (36 Questions). You have a total of 24 minutes for this section.
- Section 4: Abstract Reasoning – Infer ideas from information (55 Questions). You have a total of 13 minutes for this section.
- Section 5: Situational Judgement – Understand real world situations and react with the appropriate behaviour (69 Questions). You have a total of 26 minutes for this section.
How will you take the UCAT?
You will take the entire test on a computer that will automatically end the sub-test once the time is up. Once the test has started it cannot be paused for breaks, but there will be a 1-minute instruction section before each sub-test. You must register for the test online, and it has to be sat in the year you are applying to study medicine or dentistry. The test is run from July to October.
How is the UCAT marked?
The first 4 sections are given a ‘scaled’ score from 300-900 individually with the average score being 660 per section. The UCAT is marked positively and marks will not be deducted if you answer incorrectly. It is therefore to your advantage to guess an answer if you do not know the answer and are feeling the time pressure.
The final section (Situational Judgement) is scored from 1-4 with 1 being the highest. Full marks are awarded for correct answers with partial marks for choices close to the correct. Scores above 700 in each section are generally considered good, but each university will have its own cut off score.
The UCAT is time-pressured and intense, but if you prepare properly, you’ll be fine. We’ve got a complete guide to UCAT preparation, and an expert technique for making the most out of your time in the exam room.