How do you define a “high” UCAT (UKCAT) score?
It is difficult to say what makes a high UCAT score, as the UCAT requirements of medical schools all differ from each other, and each year the spread of marks achieved by applicants fluctuates.
This article will take a look at some of the average marks over the past few years, the ucat requirements of high entrance medical schools, as well as what the ucat actually is and how you can get a high UCAT score.
UCAT average marks vary from year to year, but this article will give you an idea of what kind of mark makes a UCAT score stand out above the rest.
A Quick Breakdown of the exam
The UCAT is divided into 5 sections;
The first four are described as the cognitive skills sections, which give you a question or a text and multiple-choice answers about it.
The Verbal Reasoning section shows you a piece of text and asks you to answer questions based on its wording, while the others simply ask maths or logic-based questions.
The Situational Judgment section at the end instead gives you a question about a scenario and multiple-choice answers on the appropriateness of certain actions, or the importance of certain considerations.
Historical UCAT Scores
The first 4 sections of the UCAT and scored and graded in the same way – resulting in an average score being calculated.
For the Situational Judgment section of the exam, each candidate’s score places them in either Band 1 (best), Band 2, Band 3, or Band 4 (worst).
The data from the UCAT Consortium lists the average UCAT scores for applicants – here are scores from 2016 onwards.
The results show that, when combining the average results for each of the four topics of the Question-based section, the average was 621 in each in 2018 and 620 in 2019.
|Decision Making||627||618||624||647||Decision Making wasn't tested in 2016.|
|Number Of Candidates||34,013||29,375||27,466||24,844||23,359|
The upper and lower percentiles were as follows, which give you an idea for the ‘lowest’ and ‘highest’ scores:
|10th Percentile (Lowest 10%)||2170||2160||2230||1640 (Decision Making score wasn't included)|
|90th Percentile (Top 10%)||2800||2810||2860||2150 (Decision Making score wasn't included)|
The Situational Judgement section is scored and allocated into ‘Bands’.
Below, we can see the percentage of candidates whose score resulted them being in the following bands:
From this, you could say that a high UCAT score exhibits an average of 700+ in the four Cognitive Skills sections, and a Band 1 in the Situational Judgment tests.
An average score of 700+ across all sections and a SJT Band 1 is likely to land you in the top 10% of the cohort, and you’ll certainly pass all UCAT cut-offs set by universities.
What are the Universities with high UCAT requirements?
To get a better understanding of what a high UCAT score is, we can look at some of the UCAT requirements of the top medicals schools which put a strong emphasis on the aptitude test aspect of a student’s application.
While the policy of the admissions offices of each university changes from year to year, some of the universities with the highest UCAT requirements are as follows:
Newcastle is generally regarded as the university that takes the UCAT most into account. They rank their applicants that qualify to enter entirely on their UCAT scores, and then select the top of these. You will need to be in the top 15%-20% of those sitting the test to be considered, so you likely need a score of at least 700 on average!
As a university that does not interview its students at all, it has rigorous high standards for exam and aptitude test results. Last year, the average UCAT score for successful applicants was 705.5. While they have no official cut off for the UCAT score of its applicants, a low score will certainly let you down in an application for this university.
Kings College London
Kings College states that they view the UCAT as the most important aspect of a student’s application, along with academic record, as it is the best and fairest way to judge a candidate’s suitability for medicine. Having a strong UCAT score is a must for this university. Unlike many other medical schools, Kings takes the Situational Judgment section of the UCAT into account.
Like Edinburgh and Glasgow, Manchester typically only takes applicants who scored in the top 30% of the year for the UCAT, meaning you will need a score of around 690-700 to be considered. These figures do fluctuate, and there are cases of students being accepted with much lower scores, but to do so you will need impeccable results in the rest of your application.
If you’re taking the UCAT this year and want to know how best to prepare and get those all-important high UCAT scores, then read on.
How long should I prepare to get a high UKCAT score?
This varies highly from person to person, but on average, we recommend that you set aside at least 3-4 weeks to prepare for the test.
A lot of the work is simply familiarising yourself with the style of the test, which is best done by long-term repetitive study.
We’ve written an article all about “How To Learn Faster”. One of the key strategies used by the brightest minds all over the world is “spaced repetition” – which 100% applies to preparing for the UCAT as well.
It really depends on the work style that suits you best, but for a high score, leave as much time as you can and use strategies that you know work on you.
A great option to rapidly boost your score in a short period of time is to look into support from a tutor. Our expert tutors have all scored in the top 10% at a minimum and have helped hundreds of students get a high UCAT score and, ultimately, their medical school offer.
What resources are available for me to practice?
There are plenty of different ways to approach preparation for the UCAT, most notably:
If you’re thinking of retaking your UCAT next year or you are planning to take it for the first time, read some of our recommended preparation tips below to ensure you get a good UCAT score.
Recommended Tips To Improve Your UCAT Score
The UCAT is a very long exam and has hundreds of different questions.It is very easy to get stuck on an individual question (especially the harder mathematical ones), and so it is advisable to move on from a tough question if you are going to end up using way too much time to answer it! You can always come back to it at the end if you have some time left
The Verbal reasoning section requires you to read a lot of text in a very short space amount of time, so it is worth practicing your reading skills to get up to speed so that you have plenty of time to answer the questions.
Get good with the calculator!
A lot of the questions are mathematical and require a calculator. Making basic errors or taking too much time with a calculator will loose you marks that you should be getting!
The calculator is on-screen so get used to using it effectively.
Don’t waste practice time!
When you start your practice for the UCAT, don’t spend the majority of your time on the sections that you are best at, as tempting as it might be! Really try to focus on your least favourite aspects of the exam to ensure you end up with a high score!
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