In this UCAT Guide, we give you a comprehensive overview of what to expect in UCAT and how to ace it.
The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is an admissions test for entry into medical, dental and clinical science degree programmes at universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
UCAT is run by the UCAT Consortium in partnership with Pearson VUE (a computer-based testing company). The test contains the same content as the UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test), which has been administered in the UK since 2006.
In Australia, the UCAT replaces the UMAT from 2019 (for university entry in 2020). It will be considered alongside your ATAR and an interview.
The UCAT aims to help universities select applicants with the most appropriate “mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviours” that are deemed desirable in future doctors and dentists in order to be successful in their clinical careers.
It is more similar to an IQ exam than the types of knowledge-based exams that you may have been required to sit in high school. The biggest challenge of the UCAT exam is the limited time within which you have to complete the questions. It is unlikely that you will be able to do every question in the exam, so exam strategy and being selective about the questions you do choose to complete becomes extremely important.
Now let’s look at the format and structure of UCAT.
The UCAT is a computer-based test which you will be required to sit at a Pearson VUE approved testing centre.
The computer-based format of the exam presents its own challenges.
You can sit the exam on any day during the testing period. In Australia and New Zealand, this will be in the month of July. In the UK, this will be between July and October.
You will receive your results almost immediately after you have finished the test. These will be available online on the Pearson VUE website.
The UCAT is a 2-hour computer-based exam that contains 233 multiple choice questions across 5 subtests.
The first four subtests test your cognitive ability and the last subtest, Situational Judgement, assesses your ability to make moral and ethical decisions.
The timing and structure of each subtest is shown below:
|UCAT Subtest||No. of questions||Test duration|
|Verbal Reasoning||44||21 minutes|
|Decision Making||29||31 minutes|
|Quantitative Reasoning||36||24 minutes|
|Abstract Reasoning||55||13 minutes|
|Situational Judgement||69||26 minutes|
|Total||233||115 minutes (excludes 5 mins instruction time)|
There is a 1-minute instruction screen shown before each subtest. This is your time to take a break in between each subtest during the exam.
Now let’s discuss registration and when to sit it.
You must be in your final year of high school or higher to be eligible to sit the UCAT. You can still sit the UCAT if you have commenced or completed an undergraduate degree. However, not all the undergraduate programs for which UCAT is a prerequisite offer places for non-school leavers.
The UCAT should be sat in the same year that you apply to medicine, dentistry or your health science program.
You can only sit the UCAT once in that year and your UCAT score will be valid for one year only. If you decide to reapply for your program the following year, you will need to resit the UCAT exam.
The UCAT dates for UK & ANZ are listed below.
|First testing date||Last testing date|
|UK||1 July||6 October|
|ANZ||1 July||31 July|
The following universities in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom require you to sit UCAT:
AUS & NZ
|University||Course or Programme|
|The University of Adelaide||Medicine, Dental Surgery, Oral Health|
|Charles Sturt University||Dental Science|
|Flinders University||Clinical Sciences / Medicine|
|The University of Newcastle / University of New England||Joint Medical Program|
|The University of New South Wales||Medicine|
|The University of Queensland||Medicine (provisional entry), Dental Science|
|University of Tasmania||Medicine|
|The University of Western Australia||Medicine (Direct Pathway), Dental Medicine (Direct Pathway)|
|Western Sydney University||Medicine|
|The University of Auckland||Medicine|
|University of Otago||Medicine, Dental Surgery|
|University||UCAS Course Code|
|University of Aberdeen||A100, A105, A201|
|Anglia Ruskin University||A100|
|University of Birmingham||A100, A101, A200|
|University of Bristol||A100, A108, A206, A208|
|Cardiff University||A100*, A104, A200, A204|
|University of Dundee||A100, A104, A200, A204|
|University of East Anglia||A100, A104|
|Edge Hill University||A100, A110|
|University of Edinburgh||A100|
|University of Exeter||A100*|
|University of Glasgow||A100, A200|
|Hull York Medical School||A100, A101|
|Keele University||A100*, A104*|
|Kent and Medway Medical School||A100|
|King’s College London||A100, A101, A102, A202, A205, A206|
|University of Leicester||A100, A199|
|University of Liverpool||A100*, A200|
|University of Manchester||A104, A106, A204, A206|
|University of Newcastle||A100, A101, A206|
|University of Nottingham||A100, A10L, A108, A18L|
|Plymouth University||A100*, A206*|
|Queen Mary University of London||A100, A101, A110, A120, A130, A200|
|Queen’s University Belfast||A100, A200*|
|University of Sheffield||A100, A101, A200|
|University of Southampton||A100, A101, A102|
|University of St Andrews||A100, A990|
|St George’s, University of London||A100|
|University of Sunderland||A100|
|University of Warwick||A101|
A timeline of key UCAT dates is shown below.
|Registration and booking opens||4 May||2 March|
|Registration and online booking closes||22 September midday (BST)||11 May 11:59pm|
|Final booking deadline||5 October at midday (BST)||18 May 11:59pm|
|Results delivered to universities||Early November||Early September|
See the official UCAT website for more details on Access Arrangements and UCATSEN application deadlines and concession scheme or bursary eligibility.
The test fees are shown in the tables below.
|Tests taken in the EU between 1 July and 31 August||£55|
|Tests taken in the EU between 1 September and 2 October||£80|
|Tests taken outside the EU||£115|
|Tests taken in Australia or New Zealand||A$299|
|Concession fee (Australia only)||A$199|
|Tests taken overseas / outside Australia and New Zealand||A$373|
Test fees depend on the location of the test centre, not on your nationality or place of residence.
Make sure you read all about the subtests in the rest of our UCAT Guide.