What is the UKCAT?
The UK Clinical Aptitude Test is a computer-based examination that takes 2 hours to sit, and it is used by the majority of UK medical and dental schools.
It tests aptitude rather than academic ability. Questions examine your cognitive abilities, attitudes and behaviour, not school curriculum or science content, although maths plays an important part.
The UKCAT aims to increase fairness in the selection of students, and attract applicants from a wide background, including under-represented social groups.
Does my school use the UKCAT?
Check the UCAS website.
When do I need to take the UKCAT?
Before you apply to your medical or dental school/university.
We recommend booking as early as possible, because spaces fill up fast. Testing runs from July to October, and you can book up to 90 days in advance.
There are around 150 test centres in the UK, so hopefully there’s one close to you. Book early to get a spot in your preferred test centre. Avoiding a long journey to your test reduces the risk of being late and missing your appointment, resulting in expensive re-booking or missing out on your chosen courses this year.
Re-booking is an important consideration: unexpected circumstances such as family emergencies may cause you to change your exam date. If you took an appointment at the end of the testing period, it’s highly unlikely that any places will be left for a second try.
If you’re reading this well in advance of applying for medicine, and have the available funds, consider taking the UKCAT a year early as a mock exam. The experience will help you prepare and know exactly what to expect in the year of your application. To get the most out of a mock test, prepare for it as if it were the real thing.
Can I re-sit?
You can take the UKCAT once per year.
Do I need to practise?
Yes! You need to be familiar with the style, format and nature of the questions, so that you aren’t surprised on the day. Also, with more practice you will become faster at answering questions (which is very useful when under time pressure) and better at recognising patterns and developing strategies for reaching the correct answer.
In addition to these free tips, we offer a popular UKCAT online course providing practice questions and mock exams, all with question timing and performance feedback.