Want to be a doctor or a dentist? If so, there's a good chance the UCAT will be a hurdle in your way.
In this article, we provide answers to the top 40 UCAT questions so you know exactly what to expect.
The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is a standardised computer-based assessment designed to assess students’ ability to interpret numerical and written information presented in various formats. All UCAT sections are related to important qualities for medical professionals.
The test is used to compare and rank applicants across the UK, as well as international applicants. Although the UCAT might sound scary, it's actually a lot less stressful than you might think, as long as you approach it in the right way.
The UCAT used to be known as the UKCAT (United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test). It has been renamed to UCAT in 2019 to reflect the incorporation of Australian and New Zealand universities.
The UCAT ANZ is the equivalent of UCAT in Australia and New Zealand. They are identical in terms of test format, contents, duration and difficulty.
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. Therefore, 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.
The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) are alternative entrance exams used by some medical courses in the UK. The GAMSAT in particular is only relevant to graduate entry programmes.
The UCAT is a purely skills-based test, whereas some sections of the BMAT and GAMSAT assume prerequisite knowledge in sciences.
The BMAT and GAMSAT also require you to write an essay, whereas the UCAT consists entirely of multiple-choice questions.
All exams require a high level of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Learn more about the differences between the BMAT and the UCAT
Admission to medicine and dentistry is extremely competitive as the number of applicants far outweighs the number of available places.
As an example, in 2021, 28,690 students applied for undergraduate medical programmes in the UK. Only 9,500 of these applicants will be offered a place. In 2020, there were 15,925 dental applications, 3250 received an offer.
The UCAT helps medical schools decide who to invite to interview and sometimes who gets the final offer. Getting a good score will increase your chances of getting accepted.
The UCAT tests aptitude rather than academic knowledge. Each section of the UCAT assesses a different proficiency:
The UCAT consists of 228 multiple choice questions across five separate sections. Each section has a different number of questions and time allocations, as shown below:
(+1 minute for instructions)
Number of questions
44 questions on 11 passages
The UCAT is compulsory for the following courses for 2024 entry:
*Please note that these courses may have alternative requirements for some students.
Learn more about UCAT universities
The UCAT test takes 2 hours to complete. Each section has 1 minute for reading the instructions.
We recommend giving yourself plenty of time. A month is the absolute minimum, and six weeks is the recommended minimum.
It is an aptitude test, and some students may be able to get a good score with just a month’s preparation. The question to ask yourself is, ‘Will I risk jeopardising my future career if I prepare too little?’. There are a limited number of medical school places so you need to score as high as you can to give yourself the best chance of gaining entry.
Many students prepare for months before the test, so make sure you are ready for the intense competition. Doing 20 minutes to an hour a day over months is a great way to learn the ins and outs of the exam without the stress.
How many UCAT practice questions should you do? (Includes a free revision plan)
Most students find the UCAT challenging not due to difficulty, but because of the large number of questions that need to be answered in just two hours (228 in total!).
Read our in-depth guide to UCAT preparation and become familiar with the four key steps:
1. Learn about the different styles and formats of the questions, as well as strategies for solving them
2. Practise with plenty of questions to become faster at answering correctly
3. Simulate with mock exams to gauge your readiness for the time pressure
4. Review your performance and focus on weaker areas
Try our free UCAT questions to give yourself a better understanding of the exam.
You can also use a comprehensive preparation course, such as our UCAT Online Course. It provides extensive video tutorials, a huge bank of over 20,000 questions, 24 unique full mock exams, 40+ mini-mock exams and question walkthroughs, as well as personalised performance feedback.
If you're looking for more hands-on support, such as UCAT tutoring, books, and live courses or workshops, explore our Courses and Tutors Directory.
Medify has a team of experts following UCAT developments and continuously responding to student feedback to make the simulated tests as realistic as possible.
For example, we updated the entire Verbal Reasoning section, and it is now the most up-to-date and realistic resource on the market. If you prepare thoroughly with Medify’s software, you won’t have any nasty surprises on the day.
Also note, there is no advantage to using harder mock exams instead of accurate mocks during your UCAT preparation. In fact, unrealistic mocks may be detrimental to your progress because they can provide you with a wrong impression of the exam and lead to you feeling demoralised. This can negatively affect your motivation levels and final UCAT score.
There is no age restriction on sitting the UCAT. Over 37,000 students sat the UCAT in 2020.
The UCAT will be held between 10 July and 28 September 2023.
However, you need to book by 21 September 2023, so don’t leave this until the last testing date.
You need to create a web account with Pearson VUE first. Then you can book your test session.
It’s possible to postpone your exam with appropriate notice. However, if you miss the deadline you can lose the fee. Cancelling and rebooking is sometimes better.
The official UCAT site says: ‘Tests can be cancelled for a full refund as long as you give appropriate notice. If you miss the cancellation deadline, your test fee will not be refunded.’
You cannot cancel or reschedule an appointment by email, only through your account or by calling UCAT customer services.
Yes, the UCAT is taken the year before you want to begin your studies.
UCAT cost £70 for tests taken in the UK and £115 for tests taken outside the UK.
Candidates in financial need may be eligible for a bursary if they receive:
UCAT access arrangements are available for students with a disability, upon providing evidence:
Medify’s platform fully supports UCATSEN.
Yes, for anyone with visual impairment, adjustments can be made to font size to help you during the exam.
You may resit the UCAT an unlimited number of times as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, but only once per year.
Your raw scores (the number of questions you answer correctly in each section) are converted to scaled scores between 300 and 900.
The cognitive subtests (VR, DM, QR, AR) are added up to provide you with a total scaled score that ranges between 1200 and 3600.
Based on this total scaled score, you will also receive a percentile rank that shows how well you’ve performed relative to other candidates in your year.
For example, a total scaled score of 2890 in 2023 meant you were in the top 10%, or 9th decile.
The scaled score for the Situational Judgement test also ranges between 300 and 900 but this is not included in the total scaled score. Candidates are also placed in bands for the SJT.
In 2023, the top 25% of candidates were in Band 1, the next 39% in Band 2, the next 26% in Band 3 and the bottom 9% in Band 4.
No. Guess the answers that you are unsure about or do not have time to concentrate on. You have nothing to lose.
This is difficult to say as it varies from year to year and also depends on the universities you apply to. A score in the 90th percentile or higher (=2890) would give you a solid chance of securing interviews.
Generally, a total scaled score of 2700 or higher would give you a good chance of securing interviews, provided that you have a strong application and academic record.
Each university uses UCAT scores differently. Some use the UCAT as part of both interview invitation and final selection, whereas others use it as part of final selection only.
A high UCAT score takes you closer to medical school, but even with a low UCAT score, there are several options:
Your UCAT result is communicated directly to your chosen universities in early November.
The UCAT scores are valid for a year. This means that if you sit the UCAT in 2023, you can only use it for entry to medical and dental programmes commencing in 2024 (or 2025 if you are deferring your place).
Your UCAT results are delivered directly to the chosen universities. You don’t need to take any further action once you’ve completed the exam.
The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is an entrance exam used by graduate medical and dental courses.
The UCAT is a purely skills-based test, whereas some sections of the GAMSAT assume prerequisite knowledge in sciences. The GAMSAT also requires you to write an essay, whereas the UCAT consists entirely of multiple choice questions.
Both exams require a high level of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
You will be provided with an A4 laminated notebook and pen if you want to take notes or do workings out during your test. If you need an additional set, you can request one from the invigilator.
Nothing is allowed into the testing room apart from the indoor clothes worn and any permitted items on the Pearson VUE Comfort Aid List.
Person VUE says: ‘All personal belongings (including bags, coats, hats or head coverings, papers, books, pens, watches, purses, wallets, keys, mobile phones) must be placed in the lockers provided before you enter the test room. The only exceptions permitted are religious apparel, headwear worn for medical reasons and small hair clips/bands (less than 1cm wide).’
There is an onscreen calculator available, which is useful for the QR section. No personal calculators are allowed.
You can email email@example.com.
For Pearson VUE-related queries, you can call:
They're open Monday to Friday, 8am - 5pm UK time (excluding UK bank holidays).
Medify provides the most accurate feedback on the market. 70% of those who take the UCAT use Medify, so we feed that enormous data set back into the system.
That means we can compare, with unparalleled accuracy:
Little and often. Trying to cram for such a time-pressured test can be very stressful and leave you at a disadvantage.
In our experience, the best students take a proactive approach early in the year, so by the time they take the exam the format is second nature.
Do you need help with preparing for the UCAT? Don’t worry, head over to our UCAT Online Course and we’ll get you signed up to guide you through this whole process.
We provide a huge bank of 20,000+ questions, 24 unique full mock exams, 40+ mini-mock exams, 50+ hours of video tutorials, and performance feedback. We've also upgraded our UCAT mock exams 13-24, revised our practice question bank, and updated all of our mocks and mini-mocks to reflect the latest UCAT UK changes, to enrich your preparation journey.
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