If you’re considering a career in medicine or dentistry, you’ll need to take the UCAT exam to get into most major medical school universities. The UCAT is part of the admissions process and many universities use UCAT scores to decide who they select for the interview process.
As we’re approaching the time for the UCAT exam dates, it’s not just the revision you need to be thinking about but the registrations and payment process too. In this post, we go through what the UCAT is, how much it costs in 2023, and how to make sure you’re fully prepared.
What is UCAT?
What is UCAT? If you’re considering studying medicine or dentistry you’ve probably already heard of the UCAT. It is an admissions test that all candidates must take as part of the medical school process. Universities require an admissions test to be considered and the most popular test that universities use is the UCAT as opposed to the BMAT test.
Despite general belief, the test doesn’t examine scientific knowledge or ability, but the skills and attributes needed to be successful in the medical profession. The test is required to be completed in addition to A-Levels, for those who wish to study medicine.
Prior to 2016, high grades across the board would have been enough to enter medical school, but the revised process proves the importance that the UK, Australian and New Zealand governments are placing on the high-quality medical staff. Covering a range of different topics in addition to academic suitability, the test is designed to understand if the prospective student has the emotional intelligence and decision-making skills required to work in the medical field.
The test was first launched in 2016 as UKCAT but has since been rebranded in 2019 to UCAT as part of a major development to expand the test into Australia and New Zealand.
Registration and Booking
To book your UCAT test you first need to register by creating an account. Then, you will need to choose your UCAT test date and you will only be allowed to take the test once in any test cycle. You can register from May 2023 and you must do this using your legal name that appears on your identification that you will take with you to the test.
Failure to produce your identification with a photograph and the same legal name on your registration and booking will mean you won’t be allowed to take the test, so it’s very important that you do this.
The UCAT fees are payable upon booking and it costs £70 if taken in the UK or £115 if taken outside the UK.
The UCAT test is delivered across many Pearson VUE test centres across the UK and around the world and the test can also be taken online for candidates that can’t get to a test centre. Not all students are allowed to take the test online.
UCAT- it costs more than money
When it comes to the UCAT, it isn’t enough to simply register, book, and pay for your test, you must also revise for it as it will be different to any other test you will have taken before. UCAT costs more than money, it costs you a lot of time too. UCAT preparation is key to success and with the competition to get into medical school extremely high, scoring well on your UCAT test is paramount in getting to the next stage of the application process.
Knowing how to prepare for UCAT is just as important as it isn’t a case of studying like you have before as the test isn’t knowledge-based, but skills-based. You need to understand the format, the timings, and the question type to be able to practice well. In addition, many candidates opt for a UCAT tutor to provide them with personalised 1:1 lessons where they can go into detail about challenging questions.
The UCAT exam timings are made up of 5 sub-tests, which are all timed individually to make up the 2-hour limit on the overall test. The sub-tests are as follows:
- Verbal reasoning – 44 questions in (21 minutes)
- Decision Making – 29 questions in (31 minutes)
- Quantitative reasoning – 36 questions in (24 minutes)
- Abstract reasoning – 55 questions in (13 minutes)
- Situational judgement – 69 questions in (26 minutes)
Each of these sub-sections tests different attributes that are considered important for the medical field. Here is an overview of each section and what is tests.
Verbal reasoning– this section of the exam assesses your ability to evaluate information presented in written form critically.
Decision making- this section of the exam assesses your ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information.
Quantitative reasoning– this section of the exam assesses your ability to evaluate information presented in numerical form critically.
Abstract reasoning– this section of the exam assesses your ability to identify patterns amongst abstract shapes where irrelevant and distracting material can lead to incorrect conclusions.
Situational judgement– this section of the exam measures your capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.
We advice that you start revising for UCAT at least 3-6 months before the exam but many students start even earlier. You can use practice tests to calculate your UCAT score and compare to other candidates. A good score is usually around 650 scaled score but it varies each year.
Once you have finished your real UCAT exam, you will be given a score immediately. Once all tests have been completed, they’re put onto a percentile scale and converted into decile groups. The higher you score, the higher a group you will be placed in, therefore, giving yourself a higher chance of getting noticed above other candidates. This means, that scoring as high as possible is paramount to your success.
How hard is UCAT?
Is the UCAT hard? It may not be the answer you’re looking for but yes, the UCAT is designed to be hard to attract the best people into medicine. Many students begin revisions and wonder if the UCAT is harder than practice tests and the answer is no. Practice tests are designed to prepare you for the real thing so they’re generally similar in difficulty.
Nothing can prepare you more than reaching out and getting support. In this next section, we introduce ourselves at The Future Medic and tell you what we can do for you so you can get the best result possible.
At The Future Medic we have hand picked our tutors, after going through rigorous training to meet our high standards, so we can guarantee top quality for our students. Our dedicated tutors are experienced medical professionals who also have experience on the admissions board at their respective universities, so they have the expertise needed to provide personalised advice about UCAT.
The competition is heating up! In 2023, there will be 30,000 more students applying to medical school, therefore, UCAT preparation is more important than ever. With The Future Medic, you can ace the UCAT with a 1:1 tutor with personalised lessons to boost your score.
The average UCAT score is around 607, yet our students average at 743, putting them above many other candidates, therefore, giving them a higher chance of getting noticed and making it through to the interview stage.
Contact us today to book an appointment with one of our expert tutors.
A final note
To conclude, the UCAT is a test that all medical student candidates have to take in order to get into many medical universities. You must register and book your test and the cost of UCAT in 2023 is £70 if taken in the UK and £115 if taken outside the UK.
But, the UCAT costs more than money, it costs your time. Preparation is your key to success to start revising early, take practice tests and get support from a UCAT expert.