UCAT Guide

New to the UCAT? Here's everything you need to know about the UCAT exam.

Masterclass UCAT Guide: An Introduction to UCAT

In this UCAT Guide, we give you a comprehensive overview of what to expect in UCAT and how to ace it.

 

What is the UCAT?

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.

 

Why do you need to sit the UCAT?

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.

 

UCAT Guide: Exam Format & Structure

Now let’s look at the format and structure of UCAT.

 

What is the format of the test?

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 will not be able to write on the exam paper but you will be provided with a laminated noteboard and pen.
  • If you take the test at a smaller testing centre, you may just be given some spare blank paper for working throughout the test.

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.

 

What is the structure of the exam?

The UCAT is a 2-hour computer-based exam that contains 233 multiple choice questions across 5 subtests.
UCAT Guide the 5 subtests

  1. Verbal Reasoning – interpret and evaluate written information.
  2. Decision Making – apply logic to reach a conclusion, evaluate arguments and analyse data
  3. Quantitative Reasoning – use numerical skills to solve problems
  4. Abstract Reasoning – infer relationships from abstract information
  5. Situational Judgement – understand real-world situations and act appropriately

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 SubtestNo. of questionsTest duration
Verbal Reasoning4421 minutes
Decision Making2931 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning3624 minutes
Abstract Reasoning5513 minutes
Situational Judgement6926 minutes
Total233115 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.

 

Want to try a free simulated exam?

BANNER-UCAT-MASTERCLASS-FREE-PRACTICE-EXAM-CTA-5

UCAT Guide: How to Register for and Sit the UCAT

Now let’s discuss registration and when to sit it.

 

When should you sit the UCAT?

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 dateLast testing date
UK1 July6 October
ANZ1 July31 July

 

 

What universities require you to sit the UCAT?

The following universities in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom require you to sit UCAT:

 

AUS & NZ

UniversityCourse or Programme
The University of AdelaideMedicine, Dental Surgery, Oral Health
Charles Sturt UniversityDental Science
Curtin UniversityMedicine
Flinders UniversityClinical Sciences / Medicine
Monash UniversityMedicine
The University of Newcastle / University of New EnglandJoint Medical Program
The University of New South WalesMedicine
The University of QueenslandMedicine (provisional entry), Dental Science
University of Tasmania Medicine
The University of Western AustraliaMedicine (Direct Pathway), Dental Medicine (Direct Pathway)
Western Sydney UniversityMedicine
The University of AucklandMedicine
University of OtagoMedicine, Dental Surgery

 

UK

UniversityUCAS Course Code
University of Aberdeen  A100, A105, A201
Anglia Ruskin UniversityA100
Aston UniversityA100
University of BirminghamA100, A101, A200
University of BristolA100, A108, A206, A208
Cardiff University A100*, A104, A200, A204
University of Dundee A100, A104, A200, A204
University of East Anglia A100, A104
Edge Hill UniversityA100, 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 SchoolA100
King’s College London A100, A101, A102, A202, A205, A206
University of Leicester A100, A199
University of LiverpoolA100*, 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 SunderlandA100
University of Warwick A101

 

When should I register?

A timeline of key UCAT dates is shown below.

UKAustralia
Registration and booking opens4 May2 March
Registration and online booking closes22 September midday (BST)11 May 11:59pm
Final booking deadline5 October at midday (BST)18 May 11:59pm
Results delivered to universitiesEarly NovemberEarly September

 

See the official UCAT website for more details on Access Arrangements and UCATSEN application deadlines and concession scheme or bursary eligibility.

How much does it cost?

The test fees are shown in the tables below.

UK

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

 

AUS & NZ

Tests taken in Australia or New ZealandA$299
   Concession fee (Australia only)A$199
Tests taken overseas / outside Australia and New ZealandA$373
Late feeA$75

 

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.

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