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Applying to Medical School Strategically: Part 4 – Where to Apply with a Medium UCAT Score

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In this blog series we are exploring how to use your UCAT scores when applying to medical school. Depending on the UCAT score that you have achieved, you should apply to universities which will maximise your chances of securing a place in medicine. In this blog we will discuss the universities that you should consider applying to if you have achieved a medium UCAT score (615-650).

What is a medium UCAT score?

A UCAT score of 615-650 is considered medium or ‘average’. Last year’s average UCAT score was 627.5. If you have strong academic grades, a UCAT score in this range would be sufficient to obtain an interview for medicine as long as your choices are made strategically. It would be wise to think twice about applying to the universities mentioned in our last blogs (where to apply with an excellent and good UCAT score.

Where should I apply with a medium UCAT score?

Here are some medical schools where you should consider applying with a medium UCAT score:

University of Manchester Medical School

At Manchester, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements:

  • AAA in Chemistry or Biology/Human Biology; and One of Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Physics, Psychology, Mathematics or Further Mathematics

Candidates are then ranked using UCAT scores. Last year the threshold was 655 for standard entry and 621.25 for widening participation. In 2019 the overall average candidate score was 645. Those with lower UCAT scores are assessed ‘holistically’ using GCSE grades, A-level profile, additional qualification and a Non-Academic Information (NAI) form. NAI is used instead of personal statement.  

UCAT Situational Judgement subtest band 4 leads to an instant rejection. The University of Manchester says that they ‘will prioritise applicants who are in bands 1 and 2 [in UCAT Situational Judgement] in both our UCAT and holistic assessments.’

Hull-York Medical School

At Hull-York, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry and Biology).  

Then candidates are scored on various criteria with the following weighting: 30% GCSEs, 40% UCAT cognitive subtest score, 15% UCAT Situational Judgement Test score and 15% contextual data. Top scoring students are then invited to interview.

Achieving band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test results in an instant rejection.

University of Exeter Medical School

At Exeter, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry and Biology). Candidates are then scored using 75% academic profile and 25% UCAT overall score to invite students to interview.

In 2019 the lowest UCAT score for a student offered a place was 645.

There is no specific information on how UCAT Situational Judgement Score is used in the selection process. 

University of Birmingham Medical School

At Birmingham, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry and Human Biology/Biology).

Then candidates are scored with the following weightings: 45% for academic grades, 35% for UCAT cognitive subtest performance and 20% contextual. Birmingham has a very useful tool for inputting your particular scores and calculating your chance of being offered a place: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/documents/college-mds/medical-school/medicine-guidance-calculator-tool-2020-21.xlsx

Overall scores in the above tool change year to year. In 2020, a score of 8.56/10 was needed to be offered an interview. It is therefore possible to work out your score and have an indication of your chances of obtaining an interview before applying to UCAS.

UCAT Situational Judgement subtest is used at interview with those achieving band 4 being ‘heavily scrutinised at interview’.

University of Liverpool Medical School

At Liverpool, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics).

Candidates are then scored using UCAT, with the top scoring candidates being invited to interview.

The following list provides an indication of the type of UCAT score considered ‘competitive’ over the last few years:

  • 2019: UCAT score of 605
  • 2018: UCAT score of 615
  • 2017: UCAT score of 625

UCAT Situational Judgement Score Band 4 leads to an instant rejection.

University of Leicester Medical School

At Leicester, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry or Biology).

Candidates are scored 50% for UCAT and 50% achieved GCSE, with top scoring candidates invited to interview. Therefore, at Leicester, a weak UCAT score can be compensated for with strong GCSEs.

Leicester states ‘Applicants with a total score in the bottom two deciles of that year’s results will typically be rejected as they will not score sufficient to get to interview, (for 2021/2 entry this would have been less than or equal to a total UCAT score of 2370)’.

UCAT Situational Judgement subtest band 4 leads to an instant rejection. UCAT Situational Judgement is used as a virtual station at interview.

University of Aberdeen School of Medicine and Dentistry 

At Aberdeen, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry and one of Biology/Human Biology, Maths and Physics).

Candidates are then ranked using UCAT (40%) and academic achievement (60%).

As Aberdeen is a Scottish medical school, Scottish students have a greater chance of getting in. Therefore, the UCAT score required is different depending on whether or not you are Scottish. As an average of the last 5 years, the minimum UCAT score that a student required for invitation to interview was:

  • Scottish: Minimum of 2340 total cognitive score (average UCAT score of 585). Last year a score of 615 was needed for an interview
  • Non-Scottish: Minimum of 2465 total cognitive score (average UCAT score of 615). Last year a score of 625 was needed for an interview

However, Aberdeen makes final offers based on interview performance (50%), UCAT (20%) and academic scores (30%). Therefore, a low UCAT score would have to be supplemented with a strong interview performance and good academic grades. The UCAT Situational Judgement Test is not scored, but it may be used in making offers when there are candidates with similar scores.

University of Nottingham - Lincoln Medical School

At Lincoln, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry and Biology).

Lincoln then uses a combination of GCSEs and UCAT to invite students to interview. Although no minimum UCAT scores are officially released, a medium UCAT score can be complemented by outstanding GCSE results. UCAT Situational Judgement subtest band 4 leads to an instant rejection.

Aston University Medical School

At Aston, candidates are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements (AAA in Chemistry and Biology).

UCAT score is used in combination with personal statement and academic performance in offering interviews.  Therefore, a medium score could be complemented by a good academic scores and a strong personal statement. UCAT Situational Judgement subtest band 4 does not lead to an instant rejection.

Check out other blogs in this series:

Note: UCAT score thresholds do change year-to-year and are impossible to predict with certainty until after the UCAS October 15th deadline.

Written by George Garratt

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