The UCAT is a 2-hour exam necessary to study medicine in some universities, so it’s understandable to want your result straight away after months of tough preparation and a difficult couple of hours in the test centre. Fortunately, you’ll get your UCAT score more or less straight away after you take it as the exam is done online in a dedicated test centre.
Let’s look at some more frequently asked questions around the UCAT so you can be as prepared as possible for the test day.
Where Do You Take the UCAT?
The UCAT is an online test but that doesn’t mean you can take it from home. The test should be booked online, where you can then choose a test centre based on your location. There are over one hundred Pearson Vue test centres across the UK for you to choose from, with several around London and up to 30 in Scotland and Northern Ireland – you may even have taken your driving theory test in the same location.
But, make sure you’re fully registered and understand how to get to your test centre before your exam, so you’re not stressed on the day. The website gives detailed instructions about parking and nearby bus stops to help.
There are also UCAT test centres in Australia and New Zealand. You should check the appropriate website for more information if you are taking your exam in either country.
How Much is the UCAT?
The UCAT cost £70 to take in 2023. The price does not change regularly or significantly, however, due to inflation causing many costs to rise across the world, you should check the price again before booking your UCAT for 2024.
Each UCAT result is only admissible for university entrance the following year unless you have deferred entry. So make sure you take the UCAT with university in mind so you don’t waste your money or your time.
How is the UCAT Scored?
The UCAT is split up into 5 sections to be completed in 2 hours. The fifth section, situational judgement, is scored differently from the others. The first four sections are:
- Verbal Reasoning
- Decision Making
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Abstract Reasoning
Each of these sections is worth 900 points in total, with one point awarded for each correct answer, except in the decision making section, where two points are awarded for some multi-layered answers and one point for partially correct answers. Most of the questions are multiple-choice, although some require a yes/no answer.
The maximum UCAT score is therefore 3600 points and at least 300 points per section are required to pass. Each subtest also has its own time limit for its questions.
- Verbal reasoning has 21 minutes for 44 questions; eleven passages of text followed by four questions each
- Decision making has 31 minutes for 29 questions; choose multiple-choice options or write “yes” or “no” beside statements relating to given passages of text, charts, diagrams or tables
- Quantitative reasoning has 25 minutes for 36 questions; choose one of five given multiple-choice answers per question
- Abstract reasoning has 12 minutes for 50 questions; choose one of three or four multiple-choice answers relating to a chart, graph or image
Each section is designed to test different skills needed to become an excellent doctor or dentist such as problem-solving, pattern-spotting and comprehending numerical data. All have a strict time limit as doctors and dentists rarely have much time to understand new scientific studies or patient data before giving their reasoned judgement, taking into account all possible risks.
How is Situational Judgement Scored?
Situational judgement is scored differently from the other sections as it’s not as simple as awarding one point per answer. Candidates must read hypothetical situations and answer six questions relating to them. Answers that most correlate to those given by a panel of medical experts will score highest while those that lack appropriate judgement will be scored lowest.
The final score for this section is given in bands:
- Band 1: an excellent performance, showing mostly similar judgements to the panel of experts.
- Band 2: a good performance, showing appropriate judgement, with many responses similar to those of the experts.
- Band 3: a modest performance, with some appropriate judgements shown, however, some substantially different judgements from the experts.
- Band 4: poor performance, with many judgements substantially different from those of the experts.
When Do You Get Your UCAT Score?
Your test will be scored almost instantly as it is taken online with largely multiple-choice answers. Before you leave the test centre, you will be given a paper copy of your UCAT score, and you will also be able to download your own copy from home after 24 hours by logging into your UCAT account. Make sure you use an updated browser such as Google Chrome or Safari as results will not show on Internet Explorer
The test window is usually from July to the end of September, so you won’t be given your percentile or decile until testing has completely finished. The decile shows you where you have placed on average according to all other candidates’ results. The higher the decile, the better your score.
You can work out your approximate decile according to last year’s data published on the UCAT website as scores don’t change drastically from year to year.
You’ll receive your UCAT result before you complete your UCAS application so you should look into which universities require the UCAT and which require a high score so you can choose which university’s medical school you’d like to attend accordingly. You don’t need to send your UCAT result yourself, UCAT will send your test result with your name, date of birth and UCAS ID to your chosen universities in the UK at the beginning of November after testing has finished. They will also indicate if you have used a bursary to take the test.
What’s a Good UCAT Score?
The average UCAT score for the last 5 years has been around 625 points per section, with a total of 2500 points and placing in band 2 for situational judgement. So over 2500 points is a very good result for the UCAT. 2600 or 2700 is therefore a great score you should aim for, and anything over 3000 will likely have you studying medicine or dentistry at a top university.
No one has ever received full marks, 3600, in the UCAT, however, one student achieved an incredible 3540, which has never been beaten.
How Should You Prepare for the UCAT?
Since the UCAT is so hard, it takes a lot of preparation to do well and get those interviews at the best universities in the country. There are many useful tools on the UCAT site itself, with practice papers, advice and other resources to help. However, the most effective way of preparing for the UCAT is with a dedicated tutor.
Having a UCAT tutor who is experienced in the field of medicine and well-informed on what it takes to pass the UCAT will give you the necessary information and advice for you to prepare well and pass the UCAT with a great score. With one-to-one lessons, personalised to fit your schedule and your study needs, you’re more likely to improve on your weaker points and strengthen the areas you’re already confident in.
Each section of the UCAT tests a different skill, all of which are essential when becoming a medical professional and having the pressures of patients, colleagues and new research to contend with, all with very little time to deal with it. A UCAT tutor can help you exercise your brain to make quick, reasoned judgements and increase your chances of achieving a great result.
Get UCAT Guidance with a UCAT Tutor!
Fortunately, The Future Medics has such tutors! Our team of expert tutors are here to help you get into medical school. What are you waiting for? Book your UCAT tutor today, so you can start preparing for your UCAT with plenty of time.