What should I do with a low UCAT score?
Our medical tutors are often asked “My UCAT score is low, which universities should I apply for?”, so this blog is aimed at giving you an idea for which medical schools you can apply to with a low UCAT score. Of course, it’s important to do more research for yourself – looking at university admissions pages and speaking to admissions tutors is a good place to start.
First, and most importantly, a low UCAT does not mean the end of the world!
Just because your UCAT score is below the cut-off score for one medical school does not mean nowhere else will accept you. Every medical school has a unique application system, which places different weighting on different aspects of your application, so, if you have a low UCAT score, the key is to apply to medical schools which place more emphasis on GCSE and A level grades and your personal statement. Here are some places you could apply to:
Birmingham gives each applicant a score and ranks them for interview based on this score. The score is a weighted sum of your academic and UCAT scores. Your academic grades (GCSEs and AS grades) make up 70% of the score and your UCAT score makes up 30% of the score. Therefore, although UCAT score is taken into account, it only forms a small part of the score used to select applicants for interview, so this makes Birmingham a good choice if your UCAT score is low but you have good academic grades.
Here’s a link to the medical school’s online score calculator to give you an idea of your score: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/medical-school/medicine-calculator.aspx
In most cases, Cardiff doesn’t look at your UCAT score at all – they select candidates for interview based on academics and personal statement. Cardiff will rank based off the top 9 GCSEs, with 3 points awarded for an A*, 2 for an A and 1 for a B. They then look at the personal statements of the top-scoring candidates to make their decision. They don’t have a UCAT score cut-off and they only use your UCAT score in a “borderline case”, where two applicants have exactly the same academic score and they can only accept one for interview, so more likely, they won’t look at your UCAT score at all.
For more information on which universities require applicants to take the UCAT and how they interpret it, and how to apply effectively, book a consultation with us to discuss your application with one of our expert admissions consultants:BOOK A CONSULTATION
Bristol only recently began to use UCAT as part of their admissions process, so less is known about how exactly they assess it. But the good news is, there is no UCAT score cut-off and your UCAT score only makes up 20% of the selection process for interview. The rest of selection comes from 15% GCSEs, 15% A-Levels, and a huge 50% from personal statement! Therefore, it’s really important to make sure you have a strong personal statement if you’re applying to Bristol. We’d really recommend buying a medical personal statement book so that you can see examples of personal statements from successful applicants, such as “The Ultimate Medical Personal Statement Guide” by UniAdmissions.
See here for the statement released by Bristol about their medical applications process: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/media/undergraduate/admissions-statements/2018/medicine.pdf
Keele medical school uses a UCAT score cut-off but it is quite low compared to other medical schools. The cut-off score changes every year, but to give you a rough idea, for 2016 entry, this cut-off was only 582.5 and for 2017 entry was 578. The cut-off score is calculated in order to exclude the bottom 20% of scores in the UCAT. But be careful, as they also require you to score a band 3 or above in the SJT section of the UCAT.
Here’s a full list of Keele’s entry requirements: https://www.keele.ac.uk/medicine/mbchb5years/entryrouteshowtoapply/
Of course, a low UCAT score is not the end of the road – you can apply to more BMAT medical schools! BMAT medical schools do not get to see you UCAT score, so in some ways, this is like a fresh start for you. These are the medical schools in the UK which require you to take the BMAT:
- Brighton & Sussex Medical School
- University of Cambridge
- Imperial College London
- Lancaster University
- Leeds’ School of Medicine
- University of Oxford Medical School
- University College London
Doing the BMAT exam means that you have a lot more options for medical schools to apply to if you get a low UCAT score, but don’t under-estimate it as it is designed to be a difficult exam! It’s best to do lots of practice papers, get books with practice questions (see “The Ultimate BMAT Guide”) and to attend an intensive course or get some tuition for the BMAT. UniAdmissions’ expert medical tutors can teach you the tips and tricks to help you save time and perform to the best of your abilities in the exam to secure your place at a medical school!
Here is some information from the official BMAT website on how to prepare for the exam: http://www.admissionstesting.org/for-test-takers/bmat/preparing-for-bmat/
In conclusion, you shouldn’t see a low UCAT score as a major setback! Use the time before submitting your UCAS application to fully explore all of the medical schools available to you and to start preparing for the BMAT exam if you want to apply to BMAT medical schools.
After the most comprehensive package to help you every step of the way?
UniAdmissions’ BMAT Programme gives you 7x the national average success rate to gain an offer to study Medicine.
Through the Programme you get expert one-to-one sessions, a reserved place on our exclusive Intensive Course, all of our best-selling BMAT resources and much more.