What Is a Good UCAT Score?
What is a good UCAT score, you may be thinking? If you are looking to get into a university to study within the competitive field of medicine, this is something that you need to be clued up on if you want to succeed in fulfilling your dream.
The average UCAT score in the UK for 2021 was 625, which shows a positive increase against previous years. As the test gets more competitive and there is a push by the government to get more people into medical schools, it is becoming increasingly important to put extra effort into achieving a solid UCAT score. The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) has a simple marking system requiring positive scoring across five different categories representing the skills individuals need to possess to make it within the medical industry.
UCAT was first established in 2006 as a way to help University admissions teams best select successful candidates in a fair and time-friendly way. Since then, more than 30 institutions across the UK, Australia and New Zealand have used UCAT to assess students.
At The Future Medic, our team of industry professionals understand first-hand what skills are needed to pass this complex test. Having been established by medical professionals, we help you not only ace the UCAT but also get your personal statement and interview spot on to give you the best chance of securing a place.
It’s all good understanding that the UCAT needs to be passed, but what do the scores mean, and where should you be aiming to be classed as the top percentile? Find out all the details you need to know in this easy-to-understand guide.
The UCAT is designed to support a strong academic record by testing various situational and skill-based areas that a student would need to possess to make it in the world of medicine naturally. The scoring is split across five categories which all make up individual parts of the test. These are:
Verbal Reasoning (Score between 300 and 900): True, false and don’t know answers are required to be selected from in this section which tests a student’s ability to communicate effectively in high-pressure scenarios.
Decision Making (Score between 300 and 900): This section uses a mix of data sources to understand the individual’s decision-making style and whether they would reach the ideal outcome in various situations.
Quantitative Reasoning (Score between 300 and 900): Problem-solving based on different facts and figures makes up this section, one of the best sections for understanding whether an applicant has the core skills to make it in the medical world.
Abstract Reasoning (Score between 300 and 900): Abstract skills are required within all medical fields, with this section involving candidates facing many different shapes and patterns. The goal is to find recurring themes or predict the next steps, as would be required if the student was faced with a set of patient test records. This test covers four different pattern types and structures that test the combination of various brain parts.
All four of the above categories are combined to offer a combined scoring, whereas the situational judgement section awards candidates a banding that best represents the answers they gave.
Situational Judgement (Score between Band 1 and Band 4): Otherwise known as SJT, candidates are faced with a range of situation outcomes and tests the types of decisions they would make based on a whole host of influences. This area brings in ethical and personal opinions to understand how individuals can bypass their own thoughts and beliefs to make unbiased, patient-focused choices.
We think that aiming for the best gives candidates the best chance of passing with flying colours. Instead of just viewing the test as a necessary step to pass to enter medical school at The Future Medic, we think it should be considered as the foundation of your studies.
Our mean student score is 743, which is higher than the average pass rate of 607. We, therefore, say that the marker for pass success, if you want to be within the top percentile, should be over 700. It is also important to mention that the score should be made up of consistent marks across all categories. If they end up being more unevenly balanced, the medical school you are applying for may decide that they are looking for other well-rounded students. A score of this level would lead to an above average complete score of 2800 out of 3600.
The consensus is that anything above 650 is a good score per section, which should be enough to secure a final stage interview. A cumulative score of over 2700 is usually the minimum that schools are looking for. This represents a score of over 60% within each section so going in well prepared is essential.
Scoring anything below 2400, or 600 per section, severely limits the Universities that can be applied to and is therefore considered a low score. If you do receive a low mark, your options are unfortunately limited. You can either look at a University with lower entry points, consider other options that do not require the UCAT results or wait until the next academic year to resit the test. These are choices we never want you to have to make, which is why our UCAT tutoring service is recommended to support you through every step of your journey.
This section of the test works differently, and awards candidates with a band that reflects the quality of their answers. Band One being the highest is what we would hope to see our students achieve but band two is usually enough to also secure a place. According to the official UCAT website, the bandings are:
Those in Band 1 demonstrated an excellent level of performance, showing similar judgement in most cases to the panel of experts.
Those in Band 2 demonstrated a good, solid level of performance, showing appropriate judgement frequently, with many responses matching model answers.
Those in Band 3 demonstrated a modest level of performance, with appropriate judgement shown for some questions and substantial differences from ideal responses for others.
The performance of those in Band 4 was low, with judgement tending to differ substantially from ideal responses in many cases.
As you will have seen, the sections covered within the UCAT are designed to span all the different skill sets that those hoping to make it within the medical field need to possess. Whilst a high score is not enough alone to secure your place, when combined with high academic results, a well-crafted personal statement, and a confidently approached interview session, you stand the best chance at being one of the select few chosen to study.
Our top tips for achieving the best UCAT score are:
– To ensure you understand each section of the test in detail, achieving a strong score requires personal reflection and fine-tuning of all skills. If you know you are lacking in one of the sections, you will need to work extra hard to ensure this is not s future sticking point.
– Engage with a one-to-one tutoring service, such as our own UCAT mentoring scheme. Not only will this improve the chances of passing, but it will also give you a clear first-hand understanding of what is needed from industry experts. Whilst the test questions will differ between years, the themes are the same, which some professional mentoring will help you understand.
– To speak with students or professionals who have passed the exam to hear first-hand what you can expect.
– Understand your own motivations and reasons for wanting to work within the professional field in detail, as this will highlight any areas that you may want to focus more time and attention on. The UCAT is a fast-paced test which is designed to emulate the quick nature of professional environments. It would help if you had a clear understanding of the future career that awaits you to embody the mindset needed to pass the UCAT.
– Whilst you do not need to understand medical terms, you should enter the test knowing what basic medical ethics look like. Knowing the situational topics, you are likely to face will help you separate your morals and standpoints from that of the patients, which is an essential skill to showcase in various sections.
– Understand that achieving 900 is not the norm, so aim for a strong score and don’t worry about not hitting the 100% mark. As we have outlined, a strong score of about 700 should see you meet your goals.
Are you interested in acing the UCAT first time or want to know more about ‘what is a good UCAT score’? Find out more about our UCAT services here.