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If you’re an aspiring doctor, and you’re not taking the BMAT, you’ll probably be taking the UKCAT. But what exactly is the UKCAT?

What is the UKCAT?

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is a pre-interview assessment for students applying to study at a number of UK Medical and Dental Schools.

Who wants the UKCAT?

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 UKCAT different to the BMAT?

The UKCAT 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, whereas there is for the BMAT. 

The UKCAT is less academically-focused than the BMAT; it assesses your attitude and ability in the skills required for the medical profession. Work out which medical schools require which – it might influence some of your choices!

What’s the UKCAT made up of?

The UKCAT 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 UKCAT?

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 UKCAT marked?

The first 4 sections are given a ‘scaled’ score from 300-900 individually with the average score being 660 per section. The UKCAT 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 UKCAT is time-pressured and intense, but if you prepare properly, you’ll be fine. We’ve got a complete guide to UKCAT preparation, and an expert technique for making the most out of your time in the exam room.