If you’re applying to study medicine or dentistry, you must take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). The UCAT is the most widely used test by UK medical and dental school admissions and is used in Australia and New Zealand. The test is a 2-hour long, computer-based, multiple-choice test that is comprised of 5 different sub-tests.
But what UCAT score is needed for medicine? This article delves into UCAT scores, what universities are looking for, and how to get the score you need to get into your chosen university.
How is the UCAT scored?
Before determining what UCAT score you need to study medicine, you must know how the scoring system works and the test format.
The UCAT subtests are:
- 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)
The UCAT is marked on the number of correct answers you give, and no marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
As the number of questions varies between the first four cognitive 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 allows you to calculate your UCAT score, giving 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.
UCAT statistics 2022
UCAT test statistics tell us that over 36,000 people took the test last year, meaning there is stiff competition for medical school. Understanding the most recent mean scores can help you to understand what score you need to surpass the average.
Mean verbal reasoning score
The verbal reasoning section of the UCAT 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.
The mean verbal reasoning scaled score for 2022 was 567. For this part of the test, you will have 44 questions and 21 minutes to answer. This is considered the most time-pressured part of the test.
Mean decision-making score
In this subtest, you will be presented with various scenarios and asked to make decisions based on the information presented, which is essential when entering medical school. You must apply critical thinking skills to make sound decisions, often under time pressure.
The mean decision-making subtest scaled score for 2022 was 616. For this part of the test, you will have 29 questions and 31 minutes to answer.
Mean quantitative reasoning score
The quantitative reasoning subtest 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.
The mean scaled score in this subtest for 2022 was 658. You will have 36 questions and 24 minutes to complete this test part.
Mean abstract reasoning score
The Abstract Reasoning subtest tests your ability to identify patterns, relationships, and trends in abstract shapes and designs.
The mean scaled score in this subtest for 2022 was 659. You will have 55 questions and 13 minutes to complete them.
Situational judgement test results
The final section of the UCAT is the situational judgement section. This section tests your capacity to understand real-life situations, find the key critical factors and the best way to deal with each situation.
This subtest is scored differently from the first cognitive subtests. The raw scores are expressed as 4 bands, with band 1 being the highest and band 4 being the lowest. For this test, you will have 69 questions to answer in 26 minutes.
The percentages of candidates in 2022 that achieved bands 1-4 on the situational judgement test are as follows:
Band 1– 20%
Band 2– 36%
Band 3– 31%
Band 4– 14%
The UCAT exam is conducted over 2 hours, and the time constraint is considered, by most, the most challenging part of the exam. Achieving Band 1 and 2 is considered to show a good and a high level of situational judgement that universities want.
What is a high UCAT score?
Scoring above 2700 for your overall scaled score is considered high, and you have an excellent chance of getting an interview at your chosen university. Allowing yourself enough time to revise for the UCAT is crucial to adequately prepare and achieve a high score.
It is thought that with a high UCAT score, you can get into most medical schools; however, it’s essential to consider the admissions thresholds for each university, particularly if you didn’t achieve as highly on your A-levels (even predicted grades) or GCSE results.
If this is the case for you, you’ll want to apply to universities that hold the UCAT results very highly compared to previous test results. Alternatively, if you achieved highly in previous tests and your UCAT score, congratulations! You have set yourself up for a successful future.
What is a good UCAT score?
An overall scaled score of around 2600 is considered good, and you have done a good job on the test. This will help you to secure an interview at some universities.
However, always check with the universities on their admission policies because even though you have achieved a good UCAT score, if you are weaker on some areas of the test or have lower previous tests, some universities may not ask you for an interview.
What is an average UCAT score?
The average overall scaled UCAT score in 2022 was 2500, so an average score would be between 2400 and 2600. If you achieve an average score, it means you are putting yourself in the middle of the crowd, which doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be successful.
If you achieved highly on previous tests or have excellent predicted grades, you may still get asked to attend an interview, and it will be this opportunity where you will need to excel and really sell yourself. You should ask the right questions during your medical school interview to engage your interviewers and show your interest and dedication.
You must consider your application very carefully and only apply to universities that accept your UCAT score and other credentials. Some universities don’t hold the UCAT score in such high esteem and consider other elements of the application more highly, so it might be a good idea to do your research into these universities and apply there.
What is a low UCAT score?
Don’t be disheartened if you didn’t score what you had hoped for; there still may be some options for you. A low UCAT score is considered to be around 2400 and under.
Again, do your research into different universities as some scrutinise GCSE and A-level results in far more than they do UCAT results, so sell yourself in your applications and personal statement.
You may also want to consider sitting a different medical entrance exam like the BMAT. This exam tests academic ability and scientific knowledge rather than cognitive skills and situational judgement, so this test is good for candidates who are excellent at retaining information.
It’s important to note that fewer universities use the BMAT result as a part of their admissions process, but some do, and it is another option to consider.
What is the minimum UCAT score needed for medicine?
There isn’t a minimum score to be able to study medicine. But competition is fierce, so getting a good or high score increases your chances of standing out from the crowd.
How can I get help with UCAT?
UCAT is hard, so getting support is the most valuable thing you can do to give yourself the best chance. The pressure is on with 36,000 other candidates going in for the same exam and presenting their scores to universities.
Preparing for the UCAT can be challenging but is key to success. The pressure of knowing how crucial it is to be accepted into your chosen university and the number of people taking on the same challenge means that you want to get the most out of the time leading up to the exam.
At The Future Medic, know that UCAT doesn’t have to be intimidating as long as you are well prepared. Our online service helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can tailor your studies to meet your individual needs.
What do our UCAT services include?
Our UCAT services include the following:
- Online courses
- Personalised one-to-one sessions
- Access to highly qualified tutors
With the proper support and the knowledge on how to prepare for the UCAT, you can pass with flying colours, and your chosen university will be at your fingertips.
So, what UCAT score is needed for medicine? No minimum score is needed for medicine, but the higher your score, the higher your chances of getting an interview and being accepted by a university.
A good UCAT overall scaled score is around 2600; a high score is anything over 2700. Contact The Future Medic today for professional support to improve your UCAT score and prepare properly.