What is a good UCAT UK score?

What is a good UCAT UK score?

1 month ago by Stan

This blog answers some common questions about UCAT UK scores.

 

What will my UCAT Score Report look like?

Your UCAT score report will be in the following format:
 

Your scores in each of the four cognitive subtests (UCAT Verbal Reasoning, UCAT Decision Making, UCAT Quantitative Reasoning and UCAT Abstract Reasoning) are added together to form an overall UCAT cognitive subtest score, which ranges from 1200 to 3600. Often when discussing UCAT scores, they are referred to as an average of the cognitive subset scores. For example, a student who achieves an overall cognitive UCAT subtest score of 2800 may state that their score was ‘700’, because 2800 / 4 (number of cognitive subtests) = 700.

 

UCAT UK students also receive a separate score for UCAT Situational Judgement, expressed in one of four bands, with band 1 being the highest:

  • Band 1: Those in Band 1 demonstrated an excellent level of performance, showing similar judgement in most cases to the panel of experts.

  • Band 2: Those in Band 2 demonstrated a good, solid level of performance, showing appropriate judgement frequently, with many responses matching model answers.

  • Band 3: Those in Band 3 demonstrated a modest level of performance, with appropriate judgement shown for some questions and substantial differences from ideal responses for others.

  • Band 4: The performance of those in Band 4 was low, with judgement tending to differ substantially from ideal responses in many cases.

 

How are UCAT UK  scores calculated?

UCAT scores are calculated by converting the number of questions you got right into a ‘scaled score’. Scaled scores range from 300-900 for each UCAT cognitive subtest. Pearson VUE do not publicly release details of how they calculate scaled scores, but they use statistical tools involving IRT (Item Response Theory). For more information, check out our blogs on UCAT scoring.

 

What is a good UCAT score?

Ultimately, UCAT scores are a comparison of your own performance against others sitting UCAT UK 2022. This means that achieving a ‘good score’ means performing well in UCAT compared to others.

In general, a good score for each UCAT UK cognitive subtest is above 700 (i.e. a total cognitive UCAT subtest score of above 2800) which was in the 8th decile in 2021. A high score is usually considered to be a UCAT subtest score above 750 (i.e. a total cognitive UCAT subtest score of 3000), which is a 9th decile score.

A low UCAT score is usually considered to be a UCAT cognitive subtest score below 610. (i.e. a total cognitive UCAT subtest score of 2440). This equates to approximately the 30th percentile over the last 4 years. Many medical schools automatically exclude the bottom 30th percentile. If you receive a low UCAT score you could apply to universities that place less emphasis on UCAT or you can choose to sit the BMAT. However, it is not recommended that you apply to four BMAT universities as you will not know your score before applying.

 

What can test statistics from 2021 tell us about what is a good UCAT score?

UCAT test statistics from last year can give us some information on what makes a good UCAT score. However, it is important to note that the cohort of students sitting UCAT each year varies, and therefore what might be considered a good UCAT score last year may not be applicable to this year’s UCAT cohort.

The 2021 UCAT UK statistics shows how each decile converted to overall cognitive scaled scores in UCAT:

Decile Rank

2021 Final Scores

2021 Actual percentile

1st

2150

10th

2nd

2270

20th

3rd

2360

30th

4th

2430

40th

5th

2500

50th

6th

2570

60th

7th

2640

70th

8th

2730

80th

9th

2850

90th

 

For example, if you achieved an overall UCAT scaled cognitive score of 2640, you will have been in the 7th decile, or the 70th percentile. This means you performed better than about 70% of candidates, and 30% of candidates performed better than you.

For UCAT Situational Judgement, the table below shows that 30% of candidates sitting UCAT UK achieved band 1 in 2021, which is the highest band achievable:

 

2021

Band 1

14%

Band 2

36%

Band 3

33%

Band 4

16%

 

Final UCAT UK test statistics for 2022 will be published at the end of the 2022 UCAT testing cycle. Interim/preliminary test scores are released in mid-September, which can be used as a guide to how you have done. However, these are based on the performance of only about half of the students sitting the UCAT that year. For example, last year the preliminary mean score was 2570, which is slightly higher than the eventual average of 2500.

 

What score do I need to get into medicine?

Each university differs in terms of what criteria is used for entry into medicine, and how they are weighted.

In general, a UCAT percentile of around 80-90 would be sufficient for entry into medicine at most universities. This would equate to total UCAT cognitive test scores of 2730-2850 (or average UCAT subtest scores of 683-712.5). It is important to remember each university uses UCAT differently, so you should apply to medical schools which place more emphasis on UCAT if you score very highly and less emphasis on UCAT if you achieve lower scores.

Situational Judgement test scores are used by universities in various ways: some do not consider it at all, some eliminate students scoring in band 4, and some issue ‘points’ depending on the band scored, which are then used as part of the selection for interview and/or the interview process.

 

Check out our blog series on applying to Medical Schools Strategically using your UCAT score:

You may also wish to check out our blog on what to do if you didn't get a good enough UCAT score

Updated by Laura Snell

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