If you want to attend medical school next year then you’re probably already thinking about the UCAT test and that’s great because the more practice you get in, the better! One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of success is to understand how the UCAT is scored and how the scores of the thousands of candidates who will take the test in the academic year before studying are compared.
If you know how your score will be used and compared against others and you understand what the average UCAT score is, then you have something to aim for. To stand out and increase your chances of getting into the medical school of your choice, you’ll need to get an above-average score.
Don’t worry, The Future Medic is here to help and we are expert tutors in all things UCAT. In this post, you will learn all about the UCAT, how it is scored, the average UCAT score and how we can help you to achieve your goal.
Learn more about the UCAT
The UCAT is the University Clinical Aptitude Test that doesn’t test scientific knowledge but the skills and attributes that are deemed important to be successful as a medical student and beyond. The test is designed to be challenging and not everyone does well enough on it to get noticed by universities.
Most universities hold the UCAT in high esteem so the score you get will make a big difference in whether you get invited for an interview or not, making it a critical part of your application. To book the test, you must pay £70 if taking it in the UK and £115 outside the UK.
The UCAT is made up of sub-sections. Each of these sections is separately timed and has its own number of questions. Here is a breakdown of the test.
- Verbal reasoning: tests your ability to read and comprehend information and decide if a conclusion can be drawn from that information. You will need to read written passages and answer related questions.
- Decisions making: you will be presented with various scenarios and asked to make decisions based on the information presented. You must apply critical thinking skills to make sound decisions, often under time pressure.
- Quantitative reasoning: tests your ability to solve numerical problems. The questions in this subtest are based on mathematical concepts, and you must use your knowledge of basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry to solve them.
- Abstract reasoning: tests your ability to identify patterns, relationships, and trends in abstract shapes and designs.
- Situational judgement: tests your capacity to understand real-life situations, find the key critical factors and the best way to deal with each situation.
Overall, you will have 2 hours to complete the test and here is a breakdown of how the test is timed and how many questions are in each section. Abstract reasoning is 12 minutes long and you will have 50 questions to answer. Decision making is 31 minutes long and you will have 29 questions to answer. Verbal reasoning is 21 minutes long and you will have 4 passages to read with a total of 44 questions. Situational judgement is 26 minutes long and you will have 69 questions to answer. Quantitative reasoning is 24 minutes long with 36 questions in total.
When preparing for the UCAT it’s vital that you learn how the UCAT is scored and know what happens with your score and how it is compared to the thousands of others taking the test. The way the UCAT is scored is fairly straightforward with one mark awarded for every correct answer with no marks deducted for incorrect answers.
How the UCAT is scored?
Learning how the UCAT is scored can help improve your chances of success. As the number of questions varies between the five subtests, making a direct comparison is impossible; therefore, the raw marks are converted into a scaled score that shares a common range between 300 and 900.
The total scaled UCAT score is generated by summing the scaled scores from the first four cognitive subtests, which range from 1200 to 3600. Doing practice tests gives you an idea of what to work on for your areas of development. Set a score goal and work on it by increasing your score in your weakest areas.
What score is needed to study medicine?
Usually, a good UCAT score is around 650 for a raw score. The UCAT exam is out of 3600 altogether so this is the highest score you can achieve. However, there is no threshold and a certain score you must achieve to get into medical school. Your score will be compared to all other scores so it depends on how well the other candidates have performed as to how well you compare to everyone else.
UCAT percentiles tell you how your score compares to the scores of other candidates. The higher your percentile, the better you performed compared to everyone else. If you’re in the 90th percentile, this means you have done extremely well and scored higher than 90% of other tests taken. On the other hand, if you score anywhere on the 1-50th percentile, it means you have scored less than at least 50% of other candidates.
What is the average UCAT score?
The average score for each section is around 620 to 637, which means you must achieve higher than this to score above average in each section. To get noticed by universities, try to aim to get into the top 20% of scores. Aiming above the average gives you a good idea of how much progress you need to make and how much revision and support are needed.
Preparing for the UCAT
Don’t expect to turn up on the day and just wing up because trust us when we say, you won’t do well. The test is designed to be hard and doesn’t test knowledge but skills and abilities that are deemed important to be successful in the medical field. These skills and abilities need to be practised and applied before going in for the real test to give yourself a chance of standing out against the thousands of other candidates taking the test.
You can find practice tests and question banks online but if you really want to stand out from the crowd, getting a UCAT tutor is the way to go. A tutor will be able to analyse your strengths and weaknesses, explain the answers to questions that you don’t understand and generally help you have a better understanding and confidence going into the test.
The Future Medic
At The Future Medic, we have an experienced and highly qualified team to help you prepare for your UCAT and application process for medical school. We have helped hundreds of students get into their chosen school so with our help you have a better chance of doing that too. With our help you can achieve above the average score and aim to get into the top 20% of scores, giving you an excellent chance of getting noticed and invited to an interview at your top choice university.
Our UCAT services include the following:
- Online courses
- Personalised one-to-one sessions
- Access to our highly qualified tutors.
To conclude, the average score for each section is around 620 to 637 so you should be aiming for much higher than that to achieve an above average score. Preparation is key and getting a qualified and experienced UCAT tutor at The Future Medic will give you the best chance of success and achieving your goal.