The UCAT and University Admissions: 25 Questions and Answers

UCAT

10/12/2021

Many of you have sent us questions via our social media channels (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook).

Please remember, much of our information about UCAT scores for certain universities is from last year's admissions cycle. You can ask each university to provide the minimum scores for this year, however, in most cases, we would expect them to be unable to share this information while the admissions process is underway. 

Think of this advice as a nudge in the right direction and a supplement to your own research. We do our best to ensure the accuracy of our content, but cannot make any guarantees.

Top resources: 

1. I wanted to apply to Glasgow, but I think my UCAT is a bit low. I thought 2600 was the minimum, has this changed to 2530 for this year?

You can find the information for previous years here. It is likely to be similar this year, but will not be confirmed before applications go out.

Learn more by visiting Glasgow’s undergraduate medicine website.


2. Does Dundee use the SJT? 

According to the University of Dundee’s website, there is no minimum UCAT cut-off score, but it does not mention the SJT specifically. In previous years, the SJT has not been included, but that does not mean it won’t be this year.

3. I got 2250, Band 2, in my UCAT. Which UK universities should I apply to?

2250 is quite a low score. That does not mean you cannot apply this year, however. Consider universities that place less emphasis on the UCAT, such as Cardiff, Keele, Queen’s University Belfast, Plymouth, Lincoln, Sunderland and Liverpool. Check each university’s website or contact them to confirm eligibility.

Alternatively, this article on alternative options to study medicine may help you find another route, including applying to universities that use the BMAT.

4. Which universities can I apply to with 2360 and Band 2? I am graduating this upcoming year. I don’t mind going for undergrad/ grad medicine.

Please see the answer to number 3 as well as the MSC graduate-entry requirements. If you do go for graduate entry, consider taking a relevant first degree, such as biomedical science.


5. Which unis can I apply to with 4 A/A*s at GCSE and the rest Grade Bs. All As at A-Level and a low UCAT score of 2380

Please see the answer to number 3.

You’ll also find these articles helpful:


6. I got 2560, Band 3 in UCAT.  I really need advice!

2560 is good enough to get a place, providing you have a solid application.

Consider: Cardiff, Keele, Queens University Belfast, Plymouth, Lincoln, Sunderland and Liverpool. Check each university’s website or contact them to confirm eligibility.


7. I achieved 2420 and Band 3 in my UCAT. Am I likely to get an offer from: Birmingham, Aston, Keele, Exeter, Leicester or Plymouth.

We cannot say if you are likely to get an offer on the strength of your UCAT score alone. You should call each university’s admissions office or check their website for any cut-off scores they may have. 

Since this is a relatively low score, consider the universities mentioned in question 3, which focus more on exam results. The UCAT is sometimes only used in borderline cases.

You could also consider sitting the BMAT.


8. I have a UCAT score of 2420, Band 2 - which is very low. I’m applying to Keele and Birmingham (contextual) and I’m doing the BMAT too. Is there anything I should think about before applying this week?

You should also consider the strengths of your application and apply accordingly. If you got good exam results, universities such as Cardiff and Dundee might be a good choice as they put less emphasis on the UCAT (see question 3).

Consider getting a BMAT course to help you prepare. We have just created 10 brand new mocks, not available anywhere else.


9. I am applying for Direct Entry Medicine after achieving a 2:1 in my degree. I got a Band 1 in SJT and overall I scored 642.5 Any advice on which universities I should apply to? 

Consider: University of East Anglia/Norwich Medical School, Hull York Medical School, University of Leicester, St George’s University of London, University of Southampton, Anglia Ruskin University, Aston University, or Edge Hill. Graduate requirements can vary, check each website for specific eligibility requirements.


10. I am an international student and plan on applying to universities in the UK for medicine undergraduate. I scored 2750, Band 2. Would you please help me decide my 4 choices for UCAS?

University admission is not based solely on your UCAT. You should look at your application as a whole and compare it to each university’s requirements. That being said, you have a solid score and should be able to choose from many different institutions. Check their websites, or this article about UCAT requirements (for rough guidance). 

Check out our article for international students that provides advice on admissions as well as other aspects of your study including costs and funding, visa and English requirements.


11. I got 2450 in my UCAT with Band 3. Do you think I have any chance at Queen Mary, as my score is not that high?

According to Queen Mary’s website, the lowest UCAT score for School Leavers last year that received an offer for interview was 2300.

If you’re a graduate, the website also says that “the lowest UCAT score for Graduates with a 1st class degree that received offers for interview ... was 2520. The lowest UCAT score for Graduates with a 2.1 that received offers for interview this year was 2960.”

12. I got a score of 2730, Band 3. I’m an international student and have A*A*A  Do you think I should apply to Queen Mary (Barts) and Sheffield?

In theory, that should be high enough for both Queen Mary University of London and Sheffield, based on information from previous cohorts. Get in touch with their admissions team or check their websites for more details.


13. I am thinking of applying to Queen Mary in London, but I don't know if it’s a good idea or not. My UCAT is 2990 and I am predicted 5 A*s, but my SJT is a Band 3. I know they use SJT at interview, but from the research I've done, it's unclear how heavily they weight it. 

On their website, they say “This section score may form part of the assessment at the interview.” In this respect, it is unclear to what extent this subtest will be factored into the mark. If you want certainty, you could consider only applying to universities that explicitly say they do not factor the SJT in.

SJT scores were notably lower than in recent years, however. This may well be taken into account.


14. I got A*AA at A level and 2660 in my UCAT (Band 2). Do you think Queens, Liverpool, Cardiff and Aberdeen are good choices for uni?

Check out this article on how to choose the right medical school for you. Consider applying to universities where your score exceeds the minimum UCAT requirements (this article only gives approximations).

15. Do you know whether Aston university uses SJT when selecting for interviews?

Aston’s website says “ We do not have a cut off score for the UCAT and we accept all four SJT bands (1-4).” It does not say to what extent the SJT plays a part in their final decisions, however. 

16. I'm an international student and plan on applying for medicine in the UK. I guess I didn't have the best day after working so hard for weeks and got a low score of 2230 and a Band 3. I have good academics, so any suggestions on where I should apply?

You could consider looking into Plan B options, such as the BMAT, a gap year, or studying abroad.

You could also apply to universities that don’t place much emphasis on the UCAT (see question 3).

Check out our UCAT requirements article.

17. My overall score is 2540. Is it a good choice to apply to King's College and Dundee?

Dundee may well be a good choice as they have generally placed less emphasis on the UCAT. King’s takes a holistic approach, but the UCAT is factored in heavily and your score may well be too low. Please do check with each institution by calling or checking their website, however.


18. Hi, I was wondering how the SJT score from Australia translates into the Band system used in the UK. 

For the UCAT ANZ, the SJT section score is provided as a scaled score between 300-900 (just like the other sections), instead of bands. If you’ve sat the UCAT ANZ and want to apply to UK courses, please contact the UCAT UK office (ucat@nottingham.ac.uk) for any queries.

Please note that the UCAT ANZ can be used for medical school admission in the UK, but the UCAT UK cannot be used for admission to programmes in Australia and New Zealand.

19. I’m looking to do dentistry at university. In my UCAT, I got 2400, Band 2. Which unis should I apply for?

Consider the strengths of your application, then make a spreadsheet to display all the information before making your final decision. Dundee and Plymouth may be worth considering.

20. I’m a graduate in biomedical science with a 1st-class degree. I scored 2590, Band 2 in the UCAT. I was thinking about applying to Lincoln, Nottingham and Kent and Medway… all for undergrad entry. Considering my score, do you think they are good choices or I should look somewhere else...if so, where?

Again, we would refer you to our UCAT requirements article. You could also consider: the University of Aberdeen, University of Bristol, Cardiff University, Keele University and Plymouth University. But this is not an exhaustive list. Check each institution’s website for cut-off scores.


21. Hi there …where would you recommend applying with a UCAT of 2480, Band 3 and predicted grades of A*A*A plz….would really appreciate your advice.  Called Queen Mary and they said their cut off for the last 2 years was 2281 and 2291….would you advise applying there? Also thinking of Aston and Exeter...

You cannot guarantee admissions based on any particular UCAT score, particularly as your UCAT score isn't the only factor in an admissions decision. We would advise you to look at the strengths of your application and the cut-off scores of each university. Create a spreadsheet and work through each university one by one. If you scored above the UCAT cut-off for the university in question, as you mention above, and your A-level and GCSE results are high enough, then consider options such as location and the type of course you are interested in (read “Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medical School”).

22. Hi! Would you consider 2830 an average or high score?

A score of 2830 positions you in the 88th percentile for the UCAT 2021, so this would be considered a high score. It means you scored higher than 88% of UCAT candidates this year, which is an excellent achievement. Consider that half of UCAT candidates will score between the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile. In 2021, this range included scores from 2310 (577.5 average) to 2680 (670 average). Scores above this range - which put you in the top quarter of UCAT candidates - are generally considered to be high scores. 


23. I got 2600, Band 2, in the UCAT and I was just wondering if it would be strategic to apply to Liverpool, Manchester & Cardiff with this score?

As mentioned above, you need to look at your application as a whole. Your UCAT score is good, but not superlative, so consider the other components of your application to make a strategic choice. If your A-level results are especially strong, you may be in a compelling position for a strategic application. 

Write down the requirements (or most recent available requirements) for each university. This article about UCAT requirements may help you.


24. I got 2310, Band 2. Where could I apply? My A levels are not great and I did a foundation year at university. I’m currently in 3rd year of biomedical science

You could consider sitting the GAMSAT, or alternatively, studying medicine in eastern Europe.

You can learn more about your options at the Medical School Council’s list of graduate-entry requirements.

25. Hello Medify. So do you think that this year they made the UCAT harder to balance the many high scorers at A level? I found the exam hard compared to the papers presented on the UCAT website. Thanks for your thoughts.

In some respects, it doesn’t matter if the UCAT is hard in a given year, provided that it is hard for everyone! It is your percentile score that really matters. Many universities set their minimum requirement against a certain percentile score.

It’s also worth considering that the UCAT is also used in Australia and New Zealand, which use their own high school examination systems. Since the contents of the UCAT (UK) and UCAT (ANZ) are identical, it is unlikely that the UCAT was harder this year specifically to counter the inflated A-level grades in the UK.


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