What You Need To Know About UCAT

What is UCAT?

UCAT stands for University Clinical Aptitude Test. It is used by most universities in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to select students for entry into medicine and dentistry.

The UCAT is a computer-based test in multiple-choice question format. The UCAT is administered by Pearson VUE on behalf of the UCAT Consortium of universities.

How important
is the UCAT?

The UCAT can be very important in determining entry into medicine or dentistry.

The UCAT is generally used along with your academic performance and your performance in medical interviews (and sometimes a personal statement) to select students for entry.


How hard is
the UCAT?

The UCAT is a very difficult test. The UCAT questions are completely different to those you will have encountered at school or university. The UCAT is highly time pressured, and the vast majority of students do not finish the test. The UCAT is a test requiring extreme concentration and quick thinking skills.

The good news? It is possible to prepare for and do well in the UCAT.

What is the format
of the UCAT?

The UCAT is a 2 hour, computer based test, which is very different to pen and paper exams that you are used to in school and university.

This video shows the key features of the UCAT platform, using MedEntry’s replica UCAT platform, which exactly simulates the live UCAT:

What will it be like sitting the UCAT?

If you have ever sat a driver’s licence theory exam, the UCAT environment will be similar. You will be in a room with other candidates, some of whom may be sitting tests other than the UCAT. You will be provided with a UCAT computer screen, keyboard and mouse. You can use headphones or earplugs to minimise distractions during the UCAT.

You will also have access to a UCAT Noteboard and marker pen so you can make notes during the test.

There is a one minute timed instruction screen between each UCAT subtest. There are no scheduled breaks in the UCAT. If you need to go to the bathroom, the UCAT timer will keep ticking!

What are the
UCAT sections?

The UCAT is composed of five sections, known as UCAT subtests:

  • Verbal Reasoning: assesses your ability to critically evaluate information presented in a written form and draw logical conclusions
  • Decision Making: assesses your ability to problem solve and evaluate arguments
  • Quantitative Reasoning: assesses your ability to use numerical reasoning to draw valid conclusions
  • Abstract Reasoning: assesses your ability to identify patterns and relationships using non-verbal images
  • Situational Judgement: assesses your ability to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour when dealing with real life situations

The first four subtests are known as ‘cognitive subtests’ and Situational Judgement is classed as a ‘non-cognitive’ subtest.

What is the structure of the UCAT?

The UCAT is composed of 228 questions, to be answered in 120 minutes. This table below displays the timing for each UCAT subtest:

UCAT Subtest Questions Test Duration Time Per Question
Verbal Reasoning 44 21 minutes 28 seconds
Decision Making 29 31 minutes 60 seconds
Quantitative Reasoning 36 25 minutes 41 seconds
Abstract Reasoning 50 12 minutes 14 seconds
Situational Judgement 66 26 minutes 23 seconds

Do I need to sit the UCAT?

Most UK medical schools require students to sit and succeed in UCAT. You will need to sit UCAT if you are interested in applying to any of the following courses in the UK:

University UCAS Course Code
The University of Aberdeen A100, A105, A201
Anglia Ruskin University Ruskin University A100
Aston University A100
University of Birmingham A100, A101, A200
University of Bristol A100, A108, A206, A208
Cardiff University A100*, A104*, A200, A204
University of Dundee A100, A104, A200, A204
University of East Anglia A100, A104
Edge Hill University A100, A110
University of Edinburgh A100
University of Exeter A100*
University of Glasgow A100, A200
Hull York Medical School A100, A101
Keele University University A100*, A104*
Kent and Medway Medical School A100
King’s College London A100, A101, A102, A202, A205, A206
University of Leicester A100, A199
University of Liverpool A100*, A200
University of Manchester A104, A106, A204, A206
University of Newcastle A100, A101, A206
University of Nottingham A100, A10L, A108, A18L
Plymouth University A100*, A206*
Queen Mary University of London A100, A101, A110, A120, A200
Queen's University Belfast A100, A200*
University of Sheffield A100, A101, A200
University of Southampton A100, A101, A102
University of St Andrews A100, A990
St George's, University of London A100
University of Sunderland A100
University of Warwick A101
* Alternative requirements may apply to certain groups of students – see the university website for details.
UCAS Code Course or Programme
A100 Medicine
A101 Medicine graduate entry
Medicine with a gateway year (Hull York, King’s)
A102 Medicine graduate entry (King’s)
Medicine with gateway year (Southampton)
A104 Medicine with gateway year (Dundee, East Anglia)
Medicine with preliminary year (Cardiff, Manchester)
A105 Clinical Medical Science (Aberdeen)
A106 Medicine (Manchester)
A108 Medicine with gateway year (Bristol, Nottingham)
A110 Medicine with gateway year (Edge Hill)
Medicine (Queen Mary – Malta)
A10L Medicine (Nottingham – Lincoln)
A18L Medicine with gateway year (Nottingham – Lincoln)
A120 Medicine with preliminary year (Queen Mary - Malta)
A199 Medicine with gateway year (Leicester)
A200 Dentistry
A201 Dentistry graduate entry
A202 Dentistry graduate entry (King’s)
A204 Dentistry with preliminary year (Cardiff, Manchester)
Dentistry with gateway year (Dundee)
Dentistry for medical graduate (King’s)
A205 Dentistry (King’s)
A206 Dentistry (Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester, Plymouth)
Enhanced Support Dentistry (King’s)
A208 Dentistry with gateway year (Bristol)
A990 North American Medical Programme (St Andrews)

Registration opens in May for UCAT. Testing will take place between 11th July - 29th September. Therefore, it is important to start preparing early to be ready for the testing that occurs at the start of the new school year. More information is available at: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/about-ucat/universities/

When is the UCAT?

The UCAT takes place over the month of July. You choose the time, date and location that you wish to sit the UCAT. This video provides advice on how to choose a UCAT testing date:

You can only sit the UCAT once per testing cycle. The UCAT results are valid for one year.

How do I register to sit
the UCAT?

To register for the UCAT, you should visit the Pearson VUE website. You will need to first create an account with Pearson VUE, and then book your desired testing date, time and location.

Further detailed instructions can be found on the official UCAT UK website: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/register/booking-your-test/

How should I prepare for
the UCAT?

Successful preparation for the UCAT can be summarised in four key steps:

U – Understand the UCAT

C – Create a bank of UCAT strategies that work for you

A – Assess your UCAT performance, and target weak areas

T – Train for the UCAT by attempting simulated practice exams

MedEntry provides you with all the tools required to effectively prepare for the UCAT:
  • Understand:

    MedEntry’s highly sought after workshops and online UCAT curriculum will cover everything you need to know about the UCAT, including inside knowledge about the UCAT testing process. By the end of our program, you too will be a UCAT expert!
  • Create:

    MedEntry’s workshops, guides and UCAT video instruction cover effective UCAT strategies for tackling each UCAT question type and subtest. This comprehensive program will allow you to easily develop a personalised approach to the UCAT that works for you.
  • Assess:

    MedEntry’s Personalised Adaptive Learning (PAL) technology analyses your responses and provides comprehensive UCAT feedback, allowing you to track your UCAT performance. It offers suggestions on where to focus your future efforts, allowing you to easily target weak areas and prepare for the UCAT efficiently.
  • Train:

    In addition to UCAT subtest mocks and drills, MedEntry provides 20+ full-length UCAT exams, delivered on a platform that exactly simulates the live UCAT. After undergoing MedEntry’s program, the live UCAT will just feel like another MedEntry practice exam!

From our decades of experience, we know that the best way to prepare for the UCAT is to do a little bit of practice on a regular basis. That’s why we allow unlimited access to all of our resources right up until the end of the UCAT testing period.

And it gets even better: you can access your resources anywhere, anytime, and any place – from your laptop, desktop, phone or tablet (via our exclusive, dedicated UCAT App).

It is important to choose the right UCAT preparation provider.

Look for an organisation which is run by leading doctors and academics, has helped tens of thousands of students become doctors, and which has hundreds of independent five star reviews. This video explains why MedEntry is the most trusted UCAT preparation provider:

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