Find out how UCAT percentiles work and get section-by-section statistics
How good is good enough?
That’s a question we get asked all the time, so we’ve compiled some UCAT statistics to help you see where you stand.
In this article, we investigate UCAT percentiles, as well as what is defined as a ‘good score’ and what the average student achieves.
For more data, our UCAT course provides you with real-time averages for each section. Every time you take a mock, you build a personal data bank, which compares your performance to the rest of Medify’s cohort (two thirds of UCAT takers).
Yes, you should certainly concentrate on your own performance, but you can hone your revision by paying attention to the data.
The average UCAT score (i.e., the total mean scaled score for VR, DM, QR and AR sections) varies slightly every year.
This is the section in which students get the lowest scores on average, and many students report struggling with the length of the texts and the harsh time limit.
You now get a VR Inference Trainer free with every UCAT subscription. It is designed to specifically increase your reading speed and improve your score in the VR section.
DM sees the second lowest average score. This could be due to the diversity of problem types and the mental agility required, along with the lack of time to get your head around the problems.
The questions take the form of logical puzzles from which you have to extract information. There is also a wide variety of question types, making it challenging to prepare for. DM is often a good place to dedicate extra revision time.
QR tends to have the highest average score (remember, this is a general trend and your personal experience may differ completely.)
As QR is a test of your basic mathematical ability, students’ perceptions of this section vary. Those of you who breezed GCSE maths are likely to find this section easier. You need to assess your own maths skills honestly and allocate revision time accordingly.
Abstract Reasoning is a section with few transferable skills from your school curriculum. As you can see in the table above, it has the second highest average score, but that definitely doesn’t mean it can be ignored.
This is a section where having a process and knowing typical pattern types can really pay off.
The average score in the SJT is Band 2.
In 2020, a larger percentage of people achieved Band 1 than in most years.
If you are familiar with the General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice document, this section should not pose a significant issue for you.
Some universities do not look at SJT results and others will exclude anyone who gets a Band 4. Among these are:
Universities have slightly varying perceptions of a ‘good score’ based on each year’s applicants.
A good UCAT score is generally above 2720, which means your average score for each subsection will be 680.
A score of 2720 will usually put you in around the 80th percentile. This means you scored higher than 80% of test takers, so you’re in the top 20% of test takers.
A score above 2800 is very good as it will usually put you in the 90th percentile, meaning you’re in the top 10% of test-takers.
The percentile thresholds vary from year to year, of course, but this is generally accurate.
In 2020, a score of 2800 wouldn’t put you in the 90th percentile, but it’s important to bear in mind that 2020 was a year like no other in a lot of ways. There were around 5000 more test-takers than in 2019, which has an impact on score data.
There is no minimum UCAT score for medicine in general. In fact, some universities will accept applications for all scores. Some universities do, however, have a threshold. If you score below this threshold your application may not be accepted. Barts don’t accept applications from students who scored below the third decile (30th percentile).
Some universities rank UCAT scores and have a cut-off point after they have filled all their interview places. This will mean that the cut-off can vary between years. For example, for 2018, the minimum score for Exeter was 2670.
There are universities that don’t place as much weight on the UCAT. It’s important to play to your strengths: if your UCAT score was low but you got a Band 1 in the SJT, apply to universities that score your SJT band. If your academics are stronger, then apply to universities that put greater emphasis on that.
Your UCAT score only makes up 20% of your overall score. 30% comes from your academics and 50% from your interview assessment. They use the SJT to decide on offers when candidates have similar scores.
Your UCAT score is scaled, with a maximum of 4 points. Your GCSEs are also scored are also worth a maximum of 4. You will get 2 extra points if you meet the eligibility criteria.
The University of Birmingham has a handy calculator tool to assess your likelihood of receiving an interview.
Your UCAT score has a 40% weighting, whereas your academics form 60% of your score.
For 2019 entry, the average UCAT score was 2553 for students who got interviews. The lowest UCAT score to get an interview was 1980.
Of those who got an offer, the average score for 2019 was 2644 and the lowest was 2260.
You’re scored on a scale of 15 points for your SJT score and 40 points for your total UCAT score. You’re also scored on a scale of 30 points for your GCSEs and 15 points if you meet their eligibility criteria for contextual data.
The highest-scoring applicants will be invited for an interview. After interviews, you’re scored on your SJT band and contextual data. Applicants with the highest total score will be given offers.
The average UCAT score to be invited for an interview in 2020 was 2557. Although your overall UCAT score accounts for a large part of your total score, if you have Band 1 in SJT, it’s definitely worth considering.
Applicants in the bottom 2 deciles are rejected.
You will be asked to fill in a Roles and Responsibilities Form. You’ll be scored on your form and applicants with the highest scores will be invited to interview. Your UCAT score is only used in borderline cases.
The university has a cut-off UCAT score. This varies year on year, but for 2018 it was 2400, for 2019 it was 2330, and for 2020 it was 2390.
You’ll be given a total score out of 42, with 6 points for your UCAT and 36 for your GCSEs. These scores will be used to rank students.
Aston has no cut-off for your UCAT score, they use it in conjunction with your academics.
The UCAT is just one of the aspects of your application that is considered. There’s no cut-off score for the UCAT. Your GCSEs are a strong influencing factor.
Your UCAT score and your GCSEs are combined to select for interview. For 2018, a competitive score was 2460 and for 2019 it was 2420.
Your UCAT score needs to be in the top 8 deciles (i.e. above the 20th percentile). Selection for the interview is based on academic requirements, the Roles and Responsibilities Form, and your UCAT score.
Don’t worry if you got a very low UCAT score. The UCAT is a stepping stone for only one route into medicine. There are lots of other ways for you to get into medical school. Here are five other routes:
Consider applying to the universities below which do not require the UCAT.
There are even two universities that do not require any external admissions test:
* International applicants only; home applicants are required to sit the UCAT
Medify’s Online BMAT Course provides everything you need to succeed in the BMAT, including in-depth tutorials, past paper grader and 1,400+ original practice questions.
Studying medicine overseas is an option if you don't receive any offers from UK medical schools, whether because you didn’t meet your A-level requirements or have a low UCAT score. Medical programmes offered in the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand are recognised by the GMC. Some European medical qualifications are recognised in the UK, too. This means you can work as a doctor in the UK after completing medical study overseas.
You can sit the UCAT again while taking a gap year. A gap year also offers a fantastic opportunity to develop maturity and broaden your horizons.
During your gap year, it is crucial that you reflect on why you didn’t achieve the UCAT score that you wanted.
Identify your weaknesses and take time to address them fully before the next year’s UCAT.
If you want to study another subject while leaving the door open for medicine, consider the graduate-entry route. This involves re-applying for a 4-year graduate medical programme after completing another degree.
While this takes longer than the direct-entry route, it gives you an opportunity to explore other interests and to develop maturity before embarking on a demanding medical career.
Dental schools’ UCAT requirements vary from university to university.
Some universities, such as the University of Dundee, will rank you solely based on your UCAT score.
Others will use the UCAT in conjunction with your academics, with varying weighting. For example, the University of Aberdeen uses the UCAT and your academics in a 60:40 split, whereas Bart’s uses a 50:50 split. The majority of dental schools use your UCAT score to decide whether or not to give you an interview.
The UCAT is a tightrope.
On one hand, you need to focus on developing your own skills, and on the other, many students want reassurance that their score is likely to be ‘good enough’.
So remember the key facts:
Good luck with the rest of your UCAT preparation!