UCAT Application Timeline
What is the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)?
The UCAT is the most commonly used medical school admissions exam in the UK. It is a two hour computer-based test, testing logical thinking, pattern recognition, reading & comprehension, numeracy and professional skills. Sitting the UCAT is a requirement by a number of UK Medical schools, and forms part of the selection process.
UCAT Universities in 2022
Always double-check before choosing your universities!
University of Aberdeen
Anglia Ruskin University
University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
University of Dundee
University of East Anglia
Edge Hill University
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
Hull York Medical School
Kent and Medway Medical School
King’s College London
University of Leicester
University of Liverpool
University of Manchester
University of Nottingham
University of Plymouth
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen’s University Belfast
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
St George’s University of London
University of Sunderland
University of Warwick
UCAT Dates in 2022 (for Entry 2023)
NB! UCAT exam sittings (unlike BMAT) run on multiple days, but you can only sit the exam once per application cycle (ie. you cannot resit for a better score). Cost of sitting the UCAT is £75, but you can apply for a bursary. On medical / health grounds, you can apply to sit the UCATSEN, which allows more time per question.
VIEW UCAT TIMELINE: CLICK HERE
Overview of UCAT Subsections
SECtion breakdown and allocated times
Section 1: Verbal Reasoning (VR)
Number of Questions: 44
Time (UCAT): 1min (instruction), 21min (test time)
Time (UCATSEN): 1min 15s (instruction), 26min 15s (test time)
Section 2: Decision Making (DM)
Number of Questions: 29
Time (UCAT): 1min (instruction), 31min (test time)
Time (UCATSEN): 1min 15s (instruction), 38min 45s (test time)
Section 3: Qualitative Reasoning (QR)
Number of Questions: 36
Time (UCAT): 1min (instruction), 24min (test time)
Time (UCATSEN): 1min 15s (instruction), 30min (test time)
Section 4: Abstract Reasoning (AR)
Number of Questions: 55
Time (UCAT): 1min (instruction), 13min (test time)
Time (UCATSEN): 1min 15s (instruction), 16min 15s (test time)
Section 5: Situational Judgement (SJ)
Number of Questions: 69
Time (UCAT): 1min (instruction), 26min (test time)
Time (UCATSEN): 1min 15s (instruction), 32min 30s (test time)
Section 1: Verbal Reasoning
VR questions present you with a written passage and test the ability to find relevant and analyse statements within the passage. VR is generally considered the hardest section of the UCAT and tends to score the lowest. VR questions fall into two main categories: either identifying a given statement as ‘True / False / Can’t tell’ based on the passage, or evaluating four individual statements and selecting one based on what the question is asking.
Section 2: Decision Making
DM questions test the ability to make logical connections, deductions and inferences from data.
DM questions fall into two main categories. Firstly, data synthesis which involves calculations, application of rules and pattern recognition. Secondly, data extraction, which involves analysis & evaluation of data than can be presented in a textual / numerical / visual format
Section 3: Quantitative Reasoning
QR questions require you to choose the relevant data from charts / graphs / tables, and to set up and solve calculations. They test numeracy skills appropriate to GCSE level Maths, hence the challenge comes not so much from the Maths content, but rather the time pressure and ability to identify relevant data and perform a series of quick calculations, often by estimating rather than working out precise answers.
Section 4: Abstract Reasoning
AR tests your ability to find patterns in shapes. It is the most time pressured section of the UCAT, and being able to tell apart relevant information from ‘clutter’ is crucial. There are four subtypes of questions, but they all centre around the concept of a set / series of shapes, and identifying whether a test shape belongs to either set or completes a series.
Section 5: Situational Judgment Test
The SJT is different from the other four sections of the UCAT. It tests your ability to discern what factors are important and what behaviours are appropriate to maintain a high degree of professionalism applied to real-life medical / educational scenarios. In some ways, this is the section of the UCAT with the most direct applicability, and the SJT is a type of exam that recurs at various stages of medical training. For example, all medical students in their final year are required to sit a SJT, which contributes to their overall score when applying for foundation doctor jobs. The content of the SJT closely follows guidelines around good medical practice laid out by the General Medical Council - subjects covered include safety, communication, trust, honesty and teamwork.
For more material on questions types within each section, guidance on recognising and tackling questions subtypes, and one-on-one personalised mentoring and access to practice questions, please sign up to the In2MedSchool Mentorship Programme.
What Makes the UCAT Challenging?
You need copious practice to get good at pattern recognition.
Not possible to rely on your pre-existing academic knowledge.
Questions and a calculator are on the screen, you have a pen and small whiteboard to write on, but you can’t cross out / circle / highlight as you would on a paper-based exam
Your UCAT score is adjusted based on the performance of others in your application cycle. So, it is possible to get some questions wrong and still get full marks for the section. Scores for the first four sections (VR, DM, QR, AR) range 300 - 900 per section, and UCAT scores are either stated as a total across the four sections (out of 3600) or an average across the four sections (out of 900).
The scores below are given in terms of averages across the four sections:
Low score: <610
Average score: 620 - 630
Good score: 640 - 670
High score: 680 - 720
Excellent score: 720 - 800 (difficult to achieve)
Outstanding score: >800 (very difficult to achieve, equates to about 80% correct)
The last section (SJ) is scored in terms of banding quartiles:
Band 1: top (best) quartile
Band 2: second quartile
Band 3: third quartile
Band 4: bottom (worst) quartile