What is the UCAT (UKCAT) test? Top 40 Questions Answered

Last updated: 20/02/2024

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.

1. What is the UCAT test?

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.

UCAT test: Key information (medify.co.uk) UCAT price: £75 UK/EU, £120 outside EU. Questions: 5 sections, 228 multi-choice questions. Length: 2 hours to complete, 1 minute for reading instructions, Resits: Unlimited, once per year. UKCAT vs UKCAT: same test, UKCAT is the old name. Low score options: Gap year + resit, some schools don't require UCAT, Graduate Entry Medicine, Study abroad. How long to prepare for the UCAT? 6 weeks to several months is recommended.

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

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.

3. How is the UCAT different from the GAMSAT?

The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is an alternative entrance exam used by some medical courses in the UK. This is only relevant to graduate entry programmes.

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.

Did you know that sitting both the UCAT and GAMSAT can maximise your chances of getting into medical school? Find out more in our article on UCAT vs GAMSAT: Similarities and Differences.

4. Why take 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.

What is the average UCAT score?
Graphic of a UCAT student looking thoughtful

5. What is being tested in the UCAT?

The UCAT tests aptitude rather than academic knowledge. Each section of the UCAT assesses a different proficiency:

6. How many questions are in the UCAT?

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

Verbal Reasoning

21 minutes

44 questions on 11 passages

Decision Making

31 minutes


Quantitative Reasoning

25 minutes


Abstract Reasoning

12 minutes


Situational Judgement

26 minutes


7. Which universities require the UCAT?

The UCAT is compulsory for the following courses for 2025 entry:

Click to expand

*Please note that these courses may have alternative requirements for some students.

Learn more about UCAT universities

8. How long is the UCAT?

The UCAT test takes two hours to complete. Each section has one minute for reading the instructions. 

9. How long does it take to prepare for the UCAT?

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)

10. How hard is the UCAT?  

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!). 

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

Medify's performance feedback graph showing different averages in UCAT sections
How hard is the UCAT for you? Medify shows you where you stand compared to the average user

11. How do I prepare for the UCAT?

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.

Graphic of a student booking the UCAT

12. Are Medify’s UCAT tests harder than the actual UCAT exam?

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.

Visit our blog and Admissions Guide to find more information about all the sections of the exam.

See what other users have to say about Medify’s tests.

13. Who can sit the UCAT and how many students take the UCAT each year?

There is no age restriction on sitting the UCAT. Over 37,000 students sat the UCAT in 2020.

14. When is UCAT in 2024?

The UCAT will be held between 8 July and 26 September 2024.

However, you need to book by 19 September 2024, so don’t leave this until the last testing date.

Check out the full list of deadlines

15. How do I book the UCAT?

You need to create a web account with Pearson VUE first. Then you can book your test session.

Full instructions for registration

16. Can I change my UCAT test date?

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.

17. Can I cancel my UCAT booking?

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.

18. Can I take UCAT the year before I apply to medical or dental school?

Yes, the UCAT is taken the year before you want to begin your studies.

19. How much does the UCAT cost?

UCAT cost £70 for tests taken in the UK and £115 for tests taken outside the UK.

Graphic showing a hand holding money

20. Can I get a UCAT bursary/discount?

Candidates in financial need may be eligible for a bursary if they receive:

  • Free school meals
  • 16 to 19 Bursary (England)
  • Education Maintenance Allowance (Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland)
  • Learner Support (FE 19+)
  • Equivalent FE funding for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • Student Finance England Maintenance Grant or Maintenance Loan (full-rate)
  • Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) Young Students’/Independent Students’ Bursary (full-rate)
  • Student Finance Wales or Northern Ireland Maintenance Grant (full-rate)
  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Working or Child Tax Credit
  • EU State Benefit
  •  Asylum Support

Learn more about the UCAT bursary scheme

21. Are UCAT access arrangements available?

UCAT access arrangements are available for students with a disability, upon providing evidence:

  • UCATSEN: You get 25% extra test time
  • UCATSA: You get five minutes of rest break before each section
  • UCATSENSA: You get 25% extra test time and five minutes of rest break before each section
  • UCATSEN50: You get 50% extra test time

Medify’s platform fully supports UCATSEN.

Find out about your eligibility and the application process

22. Can I ask for a bigger font in the UCAT?

Yes, for anyone with visual impairment, adjustments can be made to font size to help you during the exam.

23. Can I resit the UCAT? If so, how many times can I sit the UCAT?

You may resit the UCAT an unlimited number of times as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, but only once per year.

24. Where can I take the UCAT?

The UCAT can be sat at Pearson VUE test centres in the UK and overseas. Alternatively, if you're eligible, you may wish to consider OnVUE online proctored testing.

Graphic of a hand holding a phone showing a map on the screen

25. How is the UCAT graded? (UCAT deciles 2023)

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.

26. Do I get penalised for wrong answers in the UCAT?

No. Guess the answers that you are unsure about or do not have time to concentrate on. You have nothing to lose.

27. What is a good score on the UCAT test?

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.

What is a good UCAT score?

Graphic of chart showing average scores for UCAT 2023

28. How do universities use UCAT scores?

Your UCAT score will be used alongside other parts of your application, such as meeting the minimum academic requirements. However, each university uses UCAT scores differently.

For instance, some universities may set a UCAT cut-off score (note that thresholds can vary from year to year), and use this to rank applicants for both interview and final selection, whereas others may use your UCAT as part of final selection only.

As such, it's important to note that there is no clear ‘pass’ mark for the UCAT. You should aim to maximise your overall score as much as possible to give you the best chance of securing a place at medical or dental school.

Find out about specific UCAT requirements in the UK.

29. How can you get into medicine without the UCAT?

A high UCAT score takes you closer to medical school, but even with a low UCAT score, there are several options:

  1. Not all medical programmes require the UCAT. Two medical schools (University of Central Lancashire and University of Buckingham) don’t require any admissions test
  2. You can take a gap year and sit the UCAT again
  3. You can go through the graduate entry pathway
  4. You can study medicine overseas (e.g. Eastern Europe)
Graphic of a student standing in front of a university holding books

30. When do UCAT results come out in 2024?

Your UCAT result is communicated directly to your chosen universities in early November. 

31. How long are UCAT scores valid for?

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).

Graphic showing someone crossing off the dates on a calendar

32. How do I send my UCAT results to my chosen universities?

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.

33. How is the UCAT different from the GAMSAT?

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.

34. Can you bring paper and a pen into the UCAT exam?

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.

35. What can you bring into the UCAT test centre?

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).’

36. Are you allowed a calculator in the UCAT test?

There is an onscreen calculator available, which is useful for the QR section. No personal calculators are allowed.

Check out 8.5 tips to master the UCAT calculator

37. How do I contact the UCAT customer services?

You can email ucat@nottingham.ac.uk.

For Pearson VUE-related queries, you can call:

  • 0208 616 5106 (UK)
  • +44 208 616 5106 (overseas) 

They're open Monday to Friday, 8am - 5pm UK time (excluding UK bank holidays).

38. How does Medify use data to help you ace the UCAT?

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:

  • Your scores for each section
  • Time taken across all questions

39. What is Medify’s number one piece of advice for the UCAT?

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.

40. Where can I get further UCAT test information?

Refer to the official UCAT website, in particular the FAQ section.

Graphic showing two hands almost touching

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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