Where to Apply with a Low UCAT Score

So you've received your results only to discover that you've been given a low UKCAT score for 2018? First things first, don't panic! There are still plenty of things you can do to follow the path of medicine or dentistry, even with a low UKCAT score. there are still options you can take and routes you can direct your medical application instead.

Author: Zayra Morales

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So you’ve got your results back only to find that you’ve been given a low UKCAT score for 2018…

First things first, DON’T PANIC! There are still lots of things you can do to continue going down the medical or dental path – even with a low UKCAT score.

After hearing so much about the ukcat exam and putting in so much time and stress, it may feel like the end of the world to get a lower score than you were hoping for. Don’t worry, there are still options you can take and routes you can direct your medical application down instead.


What is a low UKCAT score?

To work out what is a low UKCAT score, let’s first take a look at the average UKCAT scores from 2018 and 2017. You can see that on average candidates scored 621 points in 2018 for the question-based sections of the test. This was slightly lower than the year before which saw an average of 635.

In the situational judgement test 2018, the highest percentage of candidates were in Band 2 which shows no change in these two years.

The lowest percentile (i.e., the lowest scoring 10% of people taking the ukcat) scored an average of 540 in the 2018 exams, and an average of 557 in the 2017 exams.


What does this mean?

To give a general figure for what might be called a low ukcat score, you could say that anything below 600 is on the lower end. Anything 600 or above is closer to your average score.

If you are applying with results of less than 600 and a Situational Judgment grading of at least Band 2, then you are definitely on the lower end of the average score, but there’s no need to panic.

In reality, it is much harder to label a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ mark. Why? Because your ukcat score could mean different things to different universities. Read on to find out how universities use the UCKAT score.

For example, if you were applying to Edinburgh University to study medicine, then a score below 600 would be detrimental as they only consider people who fall within the top third of applicants who took the test.

However, this system is not the same across all medical schools, there are nearly 40 of them after all! A low mark is not necessarily a bad mark, especially if you are applying to somewhere like Cardiff or Exeter. Here the ukcat score is only taken into consideration when there are more applicants than expected. That means your score is far less important

So really, there is no such thing as a bad or high UKCAT score, because in essence it is part of the route towards medicine/dentistry, and there are always other options…


What can you do with a low UKCAT score?

  • Select the right medical school

With a low UKCAT score 2018, you may limit your chances in being selected for interview by many medical schools like Edinburgh which places a lot of emphasis on your final score, but it’s not the be all and end all.

The method of selection by application departments varies a lot from university to university. Some universities like St Georges even have a minimum cut off score for the first for sections of the ukcat exam, in which you must get a mark of above 500 in each!

However, there are some like Keele which has a very low cut off mark, often in the 580’s, meaning it may still worth be applying.

There are several universities which operate on a points-based system, which weighs your ukcat score against your academic record. You can bolster a poor ukcat mark with good grades and a strong personal statement.

Bristol, for example, places heavy emphasis on your personal statement (in fact its around 70% of your application!), which is similarly seen at Birmingham and Exeter.

And Cardiff University doesn’t use your ukcat score at all when deciding for an interview, so there is always a chance!


  • Call the admissions teams

When you’ve found some universities that have a low cut off point or do not use a ukcat favoured points-based system, you can always call their admissions team to find out more about which one would best suit your score.


  • BMAT universities

While the BMAT is often considered to be somewhat harder than the UKCAT, it does give you a second option when applying. Only 7 universities use the BMAT exam. Notably, these are Cambridge, UCL and Imperial College London, but this does still leave another option available to you if your ukcat didn’t turn out so well.


  • Try again next year

If you really had your heart set on a university that requires a good ukcat mark, then maybe it is worth just taking your time and trying again the following year. In the meantime, you can get more acquainted with the test, have a fun year out, and gain some valuable experience for your future in medicine that will make your personal statement stand out.


A low score in your ukcat can limit your choices somewhat, but it’s not the end of your medical career by any means!

Starting your Application for Medical School?

If you’re just starting out in your application to study medicine at University, look into joining our medical school programme. The programme is designed to help students like you boost their medical applications.

It’s never too early to start your medical school preparations and it’s even better when you’ve got the guidance of expert medical tutors who can show you precisely how to get those good grades.

Discover the Low UKCAT Universities!

Find out what Universities accept a low ukcat score. To make things easier, we’ve collated a list of the main universities that take a low ukcat score, their reasons why, as well as other options for you to decide on should you have a low score from the test.

Don’t believe us? Have a read for yourself…

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