How To Pass The UCAT - Ultimate Guide

The UCAT is an important part of the medical school admissions process. It measures a student’s aptitude for clinical and health sciences.

Shiken premium Upgrade Banner
Shiken premium Upgrade Banner
Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

The UCAT, or University Clinical Aptitude Test, is an important part of the medical school admissions process. It is a two-hour long test under timed conditions that measures a student’s aptitude for clinical and health sciences.

To pass the UCAT, it is important to understand the test's structure and content. The UCAT consists of five main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement.

Each section tests different skills and knowledge related to medicine and healthcare.

UCAT practice is essential if you want to get a good UCAT result.

All the detailed information for your UCAT practice you need is detailed in this guide.

What Is UCAT?

Ultimate Guide to Passing the UCAT - A critical test for medical school admissions measuring aptitude in clinical and health sciences."

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a two-hour, computer-based test that’s designed to help universities gauge whether a candidate has the attitude, mental ability and professionalism needed for the highly competitive admission to medical and dental schools with universities using the UCAT as a key criterion in their selection process.

It was previously called the UKCAT in the UK, but the name changed when the test was introduced in Australia and New Zealand, where it’s officially called the UCAT ANZ.

How Do Universities Use The UCAT?

Some courses in Medicine and Dentistry need you to take the UCAT in order to get in.

When you apply, your UCAT score will be assessed alongside your grades, work experience and Personal Statement by UCAT universities.

What Does The UCAT Cost?

The UCAT cost is £70 in the UK and £115 if sat outside the UK.

Who Should Take The UCAT?

If you want to go to a UK UCAT university, you have to take the UCAT.

If you’re applying to study Medicine in Australia and New Zealand – or if you want to apply there and in the UK at the same time – you’ll need to sit the UCAT ANZ.

Which Universities Require UCAT?

There are 30 UK Medical Schools that require you to sit this admissions test and over 15 in Australia and New Zealand.

UK UCAT Universities

  • Aberdeen University. They shortlist candidates by considering UCAT scores alongside academic achievements.
  • Anglia Ruskin University. They rank candidates by score and the cut-off was 2,640 last year..
  • Aston University. All SJT bands are accepted and your score counts for 1/3 of the shortlisting process. Your academic qualifications account for the remaining 2/3.
  • Birmingham University. UCAT represents 40% of your application score. There is no minimum UCAT cut-off score.
  • Bristol University. After minimum academic entry requirements are met, they score applications with a 100% weighting on UCAT.
  • Cardiff University. They will use your score as part of the selection process if they are oversubscribed with applicants who have exceptional academic scores.
  • Dundee University. Your score will be used alongside academic ability, but they don’t outline how.
  • Edge Hill University. They rank candidates by score to shortlist for interview, once minimum eligibility and academic criteria have been met.
  • Edinburgh University. Their UCAT cut-off score for interview was 2,470 for last year. You will also be rejected if you get Band 4 in SJT.
  • Exeter University. UCAT counts for 25% of shortlisting with academic performance counting for 75%.
  • Glasgow University. Applicants who meet all screening criteria are allocated interviews based on your score.
  • Hull York. You’ll get scored out of 40 for your score and out of 30 for your GCSEs. Up to 15 points are allocated for your SJT banding, and they have a minimum requirement of Bands 1-3 in SJT.
  • Keele University. You need to meet a cut-off score of above 2,280 to be considered.
  • Kent and Medway You have to get at least Band 3 in SJT and meet the cut-off score to be considered.
  • King’s College London. The overall score is averaged out across the four subtests, rather than using individual subtest scores, and SJT is also taken into account.
  • Leicester University. They give 50:50 weighting to UCAT score and academic ability.
  • Liverpool University. They rank candidates by UCAT score to shortlist for interview. In 2021-22, they considered 2,620 to be a competitive score.
  • Manchester University. They apply a threshold, which was 2,750 last year.
  • Newcastle University. They rank applicants for interview based on UCAT scores.
  • Norwich (UEA). They use UCAT scores to rank applicants for interview selection.
  • Nottingham University. You’ll be given points for your score, with Verbal Reasoning getting double points.
  • Plymouth University. They consider UCAT results alongside GCSEs and A-Levels. The cut-off score was 2,610 last year.
  • Queen Mary University of London (Barts). Your UCAT score and UCAS tariff are given 50:50 weighting. For 2022, the lowest UCAT score for interview selection was 2,360.
  • Queen’s University Belfast. UCAT will be scored (out of 6) and used in conjunction with a GCSE score to rank for interview.
  • Sheffield University. Candidates who meet minimum academic requirements are ranked by their UCAT score for interview selection.
  • Southampton University. Applicants are ranked by UCAT score to determine who will be invited to a Selection Day. The UCAT score is reviewed again alongside Selection Day performance to decide who will receive an offer.
  • St Andrews University. This UCAT uni ranks you by score and you must be within the top 500 or so to get shortlisted for interview. In recent years, the lowest score for applicants invited to interview has been around 2,400.
  • St George’s, University of London. You’ll be ranked by score and their standard requirement is 500 in each section. last year, the cut-off score was 2,710.
  • Sunderland University. You must be within the top 8 deciles and SJT Band 3 or above to be considered.
  • Warwick University. The UCAT score required to secure a place at their Selection Centre varies year on year.

Australia and New Zealand Universities Requiring The UCAT ANZ

What is the difference between UCAT, UKCAT and UCAT ANZ?

The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) was previously known as the UKCAT (United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test) before being renamed in 2019.

They are essentially the same test used to assess the cognitive abilities and professional attributes of candidates applying for medical and dental programs in the United Kingdom.


The UCAT ANZ (University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand) is the Australian and New Zealand version of the UCAT.

While both the UCAT and UCAT ANZ share the same structure, same test format used, and question types, the UCAT ANZ is tailored to the medical and dental school requirements in Australia and New Zealand.

One difference is that the UCAT ANZ can be used for applying to UK universities while UCAT (UK) results are not accepted by Australian and New Zealand universities.

If you are a UK resident who is interested in applying to Australian or New Zealand universities, you will need to sit the UCAT ANZ.

Note that you can sit the UCAT or UCAT ANZ only once in a calendar year. If you sit the UCAT and UCAT ANZ in the same calendar year, only the first result will be valid.

How is the UCAT different from the BMAT and GAMSAT?

Some medical schools in the UK use both the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) as entrance exams.

The GAMSAT, in particular, is only useful for graduate entry programmes.

The UCAT is all about skills, while some parts of the BMAT and GAMSAT assume that you already know a lot about science.

On both the BMAT and the GAMSAT, you have to write an essay, but the UCAT only has multiple-choice questions.

All exams require you to be very good at critical thinking and solving problems.

What Does UCAT Test?

The UCAT is an aptitude test, not an IQ test.  The UCAT was created to test different skills required by Doctors. These include problem-solving, communication, numerical skills, spatial awareness, integrity, empathy and teamwork.

How Long Is The UCAT Test?

The UCAT is a computerised test that takes two hours and has five parts. It is held at a Pearson Vue test centre.

The Decision Making subtest takes the most time, with 31 minutes.

The one with the fewest questions is "Abstract Reasoning." You only have 12 minutes to answer all 50 questions.

You can only take the UCAT once per application cycle at a testing centre that has been set up for that purpose.

You can apply for access arrangements and take the UCATSEN if you are eligible for more time.

What Are The UCAT Sections?

Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Situational Judgement are the five parts of the UCAT. During the test, you will do these sections in the order given.

How Many UCAT Questions Are There?

In total, there are 228 questions in the UCAT test.

  1. Abstract Reasoning (55 questions, 13 minutes)
  2. Verbal Reasoning (44 questions, 21 minutes)
  3. Quantitative Reasoning (36 questions, 24 minutes)
  4. Decision Making (29 questions, 31 minutes)
  5. Situational Judgment (69 questions, 26 minutes)

Each section is designed to measure specific skills and aptitudes relevant to medical and dental professions.

How Hard is the UCAT?  

Image of research into whether the UCAT is an effective test

Most test takers find the UCAT difficult not because it is hard, but because it has 225 questions that must be answered in just two hours at the test centre.

Research indicates that students who use preparation materials and study more for the UCAT score higher and get better UCAT results.

How Is The UCAT Test Scored?

The score on the UCAT is out of a scaled score of 3,600.

Your performance on each section is given a score between 300 and 900, which is then added together to get your overall UCAT score.

The Situational Judgement part of the UK UCAT and the UCAT ANZ tests are scored differently.

In the UK, you won't get a score. Instead, your performance will put you into one of four bands. The score compares the top band is 1, and the bottom band is 4.

The UCAT ANZ SJT score is a number between 300 and 900, and it raw score is calculated the same way as the scores for the other subtests.

This is how UCAT scores are broken down:

  • Verbal Reasoning: Score between 300 and 900
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Score between 300 and 900
  • Abstract Reasoning: Score between 300 and 900
  • Decision Making: Score between 300 and 900
  • Situational Judgement: Score between Band 1 and Band 4 in the UK, or between 300 and 900 in UCAT ANZ

What Is A Good UCAT Score?

Most people think that a UCAT score above 650 is a good score. But this can change from year to year depending on how the other UCAT candidates do.

This would be in the 6th decile or above, which in the UK was 2,570 and in Australia and New Zealand it was 2,600. Technically, a "good" UCAT score is any score that gets you into the universities you want to go to.

How Do I Register For UCAT?

It's easy to sign up for the UCAT test. You just need to make an account, register for the test, and book it before the deadline.

Registration for the UK test starts in June, and the test itself starts in July.

The last test day is at the end of September, which is also the last day to sign up.

Bookings start at the beginning of March in Australia and New Zealand, and testing starts in July.

When Should I start Preparing For The UCAT?

Most students sitting the UCAT exam start UCAT practice around 6-months before their ucat test date.

Students who get a low UCAT score often leave things late while those other students who get a high UCAT score start their UCAT practice early.

How Do I Prepare For UCAT Test?

We recommend starting

  1. Active learning: Engage with the material by asking questions, summarizing information, and teaching others.
  2. Spaced repetition: Review material at increasing intervals to enhance long-term retention.
  3. Practice testing: Complete UCAT questions, practice tests and quizzes to familiarize yourself with the exam format and gauge your progress.
  4. Error analysis: Reflect on your mistakes and identify patterns to target areas for improvement.

Mastering Each UCAT Section

Abstract Reasoning

This section measures your ability to identify patterns and relationships within abstract shapes and sequences. To excel in this section:

  1. Familiarize yourself with common pattern types, such as rotations, reflections, and color changes.
  2. Practice identifying patterns quickly and efficiently.
  3. Develop a systematic approach for analyzing sequences.

Verbal Reasoning

This section assesses your ability to comprehend and evaluate written information. To succeed in this section:

  1. Improve your reading speed and comprehension through regular practice.
  2. Develop strategies for answering different question types, such as true/false/can't tell, and inference questions.
  3. Familiarize yourself with common UCAT vocabulary and terminology.

Quantitative Reasoning

This section evaluates your ability to solve numerical problems using basic arithmetic, percentages, and ratios. To excel in this section:

  1. Review fundamental mathematical concepts.
  2. Practice solving problems quickly and accurately using mental math techniques.
  3. Become proficient in using the on-screen calculator provided during the exam.

Decision Making

The Decision Making section measures your ability to make informed decisions using various types of information. To succeed in this section:

  1. Familiarize yourself with common question types, such as probability, Venn diagrams, and logic puzzles.
  2. Develop a systematic approach for evaluating and comparing options.
  3. Practice managing your time effectively to avoid rushing through complex questions.

Situational Judgment

The Situational Judgment section assesses your ability to understand real-world situations and make appropriate decisions based on professional guidelines. To excel in this section:

  1. Study the principles of medical ethics and professional behavior.
  2. Practice analyzing various scenarios and selecting the most appropriate response.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the four categories of situational judgment questions: appropriateness, importance, best/worst, and most/least.

Utilizing UCAT Resources

There are numerous free questions and resources available to help you prepare for the UCAT:

  1. UCAT practice test: The official UCAT website offers free UCAT practice tests, question banks, and tutorials.
  2. UCAT courses: Many organizations offer comprehensive UCAT preparation courses, both in-person and online.
  3. UCAT textbooks and guides: Several study guides and textbooks are available to help you master the content and strategies needed for the UCAT.
  4. Online forums and discussion groups: Engage with fellow UCAT examinees to share tips, resources, and support.
  5. UCAT Question banks: websites like medify have lots of UCAT practice test resources and UCAT questions.


The sooner you start your UCAT practice, the better. Most candidates who get the a high ucat result state that they used the official UCAT practice tests together with free UCAT resources and signed up to UCAT question banks like those on Shiken to take as many UCAT practice tests as possible. Our other UCAT tips include:

  • Book Your UCAT Test Early. The sooner you book the UCAT exam, the more choice you will have – and the more likely you can secure the date that suits you best.
  • Focus on a UCAT question bank. Do as many UCAT questions as possible. Usually 5000 UCAT questions is enough to score highly with top scoring students using free UCAT questions and a premium UCAT question bank. You can find both on Shiken.
  • Use UCAT Practice Questions – UCAT practice questions are essential to your UCAT preparation. Do as many practice tests as possible if you want to score highly at the UCAT exam. You don't need to do more than 5000 UCAT questions and you can always go back over any UCAT questions you got wrong to consolidate your learning.

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 20,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime