What is the UCAT?
Everything you need to know

For your reference, here is an example tutorial video featured in our Medify UCAT online course.

What is the UCAT?

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), previously known as the UKCAT - United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test, is a two-hour computer-based examination that is required by the majority of UK, Australia & New Zealand medical and dental schools and other healthcare-related fields. Please note that UCAT ANZ and UCAT UK are the same test. Therefore, when purchasing our UCAT ANZ online course you will be taken to our UCAT UK site to complete your purchase.

What is being tested in the UCAT?

The UCAT tests aptitude rather than academic knowledge. Each section of the UCAT aims to test a different component of cognition:

  • Verbal Reasoning (VR) tests your ability to quickly comprehend textual information by answering questions based on short passages.
  • Decision Making (DM) tests your ability to apply logic to specific situations to reach a decision or conclusion.
  • Quantitative Reasoning (QR) tests your mathematical abilities
  • Abstract Reasoning (AR) tests your ability to recognise patterns and abstract logic.
  • Situational Judgement test (SJT) assesses your judgement of medically relevant situations.

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How many questions are in the UCAT?

The UCAT consists of 233 multiple-choice questions across five separate sections. Each section has a different number of questions and time allocations, as below:

Section

Time

(+1 minute for instructions)

Number of questions

Verbal Reasoning

21 minutes

44 questions on 11 passages

Decision Making

31 minutes

29

Quantitative Reasoning

24 minutes

36

Abstract Reasoning

13 minutes

55

Situational Judgement

26 minutes

69 on 20 scenarios

Why the UCAT?

Admission to medicine and dentistry is extremely competitive as the number of applicants far outweighs the number of available places. The UCAT serves the purpose of selecting the applicants that possess cognitive abilities and professional behaviours desirable for a healthcare professional. These may not be adequately assessed by academic record and interview.

Which universities require the UCAT?

The UCAT is compulsory for the following courses:

Medical School

Course

The University of Adelaide

Medicine, dental surgery, oral health

Charles Sturt University

Dental science, medicine

Curtin University

Medicine

Flinders University

Clinical Sciences/medicine

Griffith University

Dental health science

La Trobe University

Dental Science

Monash University

Medicine

The University of Newcastle/University of New England

Medicine

The University of New South Wales

Medicine

The University of Queensland

Medicine (provisional entry pathway), dental science

University of Tasmania

Medicine

The University of Western Australia

Medicine (direct pathway), dental medicine (direct pathway)

Western Sydney University

Medicine

The University of Auckland

Medicine

University of Otago

Medicine, dentistry

Who can sit the UCAT? How many students take the UCAT each year?

You can sit the UCAT in your final year of secondary school and subsequent years. Over 14,000 students sat the UCAT ANZ in 2020.

When is the UCAT in 2021?

The UCAT is held between 1st July and 11th August. However, you need to book by 17th May (late booking deadline: 31st May). Don't leave this until the last minute.

Full list of deadlines

How do I register for the UCAT?

You need to create a web account with Pearson VUE first, before booking your test session.

Full instructions for registration

How much does the UCAT cost?

The UCAT costs A$305 for tests taken in Australia and New Zealand and A$380 for tests taken overseas.

Financial considerations for medical programmes

Concession application

Candidates in financial need may be able to sit the UCAT for a reduced fee after providing supporting evidence. 

Detailed information on concession eligibility and how to apply

Access arrangements

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

Find out about your eligibility and the application process

Can I resit the UCAT? 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.

Where do I sit the UCAT?

The UCAT can be sat at Pearson VUE test centres across the world.

Roadmap

Do I get penalised for wrong answers?

No. Therefore guess the answers that you are unsure about, or which you do not have any time to concentrate on. After all, you have nothing to lose.

Time taken to obtain a medical degree after leaving school

How does the UCAT scoring system work?

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 summed 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 cohort. For example, a total scaled score of 2850 in 2020 meant you were in the top 10%, or 9th decile.

The scaled score for situational judgement test also ranges between 300 and 900 but this is not included in the total scaled score.

How do universities use UCAT scores?

Each university is different in using the UCAT scores. Some use the UCAT as part of both interview invitation and final selection, whereas some use it as part of final selection only.

Find out about the specific UCAT requirements for medical and non-medical courses in Australia and New Zealand

Is the UCAT hard? How do I prepare for it?

Most students find the UCAT challenging not because the questions are particularly difficult but because of the huge number of questions (233) that need to be answered in just two hours. On average, you need to answer around two questions every minute.

A research paper has shown that students that spend more time studying for the UCAT using preparatory materials scored higher than those who didn’t.

Preparing for the UCAT involves four key steps:

  1. Learning about the different style, format and nature of the questions and strategies for solving them.
  2. Practising with plenty of practice questions to become faster at answering questions correctly.
  3. Simulating with mock exams to gauge your readiness and learn to deal with time pressure.
  4. Reviewing your performance and focusing on weaker areas.

The official UCAT website has some free preparatory materials to get you started. Our Online UCAT ANZ Course provides you with extensive video tutorials, a huge bank of over 10,000 questions, 8 unique full mock exams, 18 mini-mock exams and question walkthroughs, as well as performance feedback. 

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Direct entry and graduate entry medical programmes admissions

What is a good UCAT score?

This is difficult to say as it varies from year to year and also depends on the universities you are intending to apply to. 

Generally, a score of 90th percentile or higher (=2920) would give you a solid chance of securing interviews, provided that you have a respectable ATAR score. Even with a lower UCAT score, you will stand a good chance if you have a very high ATAR or qualify for special admissions schemes or bonus points.

What happens if I get a low UCAT score?

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

  1. Not all direct or provisional entry medical programmes require the UCAT (e.g. James Cook University and Griffith University). Read about the full entry requirements of each medical school.
  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. UK, Eastern Europe)

When are UCAT scores released?

Your UCAT scores are available soon after you finish the test, on the same day. To find out how well you performed in your cohort, you will usually need to wait until October for the final results.

How long are UCAT scores valid for?

The UCAT scores are valid for a year. This means that if you sit the UCAT in 2021, you can only use it for entry to medical programmes commencing in 2022.

Medical schools offering direct entry and graduate entry medical programmes

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

Your UCAT results are delivered directly to the chosen universities.

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.

How do I contact the UCAT customer services?

You can email ucat-anz@monash.edu

For Pearson VUE-related queries, you can call (Australia: 1800 512 320, New Zealand: 0800 451 260) or email Pearson VUE customer services.

For further information

Refer to the official UCAT ANZ website, in particular the FAQs section.

Do you need help with preparing for the UCAT ANZ? Please don’t worry, head over to our Online UCAT ANZ Course and we’ll get you signed up to guide you through this whole process.

We provide you with extensive video tutorials, a huge bank of over 10,000 questions, 8 unique full mock exams, 18 mini-mock exams and question walkthroughs, as well as performance feedback.

We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009. Medify is here to support you, just reach out to us.

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