The Results Are In – UCAT 2021 Interim Scores

The UCAT has published the 2021 provisional results, how do yours compare? For those of you who sat the UCAT at the end of July, it must have seemed like an eternity to finally know how you have fared compared to other candidates. Why else would you be interested in seeing the newly released provisional scores? Have a look!

Author: Rob Needleman

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The 2021 interim scores have been published by UCAT, how do yours compare?

For those that sat the UCAT in late July, it must have felt like an eternity to finally find out how you did compared to other candidates.

Why else might you be interested in seeing the newly released interim scores? Many UCAT universities (the list can be found here) have UCAT cut off scores and some use the UCAT decile ranking with selection. For example, the University of Sunderland selects candidates in the top 8 deciles of the cohort and Liverpool look at candidates who scored in the top 5.

What are the preliminary test statistics?

There are still a few days left until the final testing date (29th September) and the data published by UCAT is valid up to the 12th of September. Their data includes 16,996 students’ scores and they anticipate that a further 20,000 students will take the test. Therefore, all data must be taken with a pinch of salt and with ‘significant caution’ as UCAT suggests.

To confirm this caution, in 2020, the preliminary scores were not spot on. They suggested a mean score of 2578 but the final mean score was actually 2511 (67 less).

When will the final mean scores and deciles be published?

All final scores will be published after testing closes (29th September) and ultimately, it is down to UCAT’s capacity. Now let’s move on to what you really want to know, the interim results.

The Number of Test Takers

More students are taking the UCAT than in previous years, which therefore indicates that more applicants are hoping to study Medicine. In 2020, 34,153 students took the UCAT and this year it is anticipated that 36,996 students will take the UCAT. It is possible that nearly 3,000 more students will take the UCAT this year.

What does this mean? Firstly, we cannot forget the impact of the pandemic which caused many students to defer their offer to then start this year. This means that applying for Medicine is becoming even more competitive so your application needs to be as strong as it can be.

The Mean Total Score

The 2021 preliminary mean total scaled score is 2570. The breakdown of individual subtests are as follows:

UCAT Subtest
2021 Preliminary Score
Verbal Reasoning
584
Decision Making
631
Quantitative Reasoning
685
Abstract Reasoning
671

Remember that the subtest scores are scored between 300 – 900.

UCAT Subtest
2021 Preliminary Score
2020
2019
2018
Verbal Reasoning
584
570
565
567
Decision Making
631
625
618
624
Quantitative Reasoning
685
664
662
658
Abstract Reasoning
671
653
638
637
Total Mean Scaled Score
2570
2511
2483
2485

We can see that since 2019, the mean UCAT scores have been increasing, making the exam more competitive each year. If the 2021 preliminary scores are similar to the final published scores, then there has been a large increase since 2020 of 59.

To re-emphasise the point we made earlier, this data is preliminary and not final. Last year we saw that the preliminary scores were not spot-on as the interim mean score was 2578 but the final mean score ended being 2511 (67 less). It is highly likely we will see the same again this year where the preliminary scores drop so bear this in mind when making comparisons with your own UCAT scores.

Decile Ranking

As we mentioned earlier, some universities use the decile ranking when deciding which applicants to give offers to. Each decile represents 10% of candidates based on their overall UCAT performance. The 1st decile represents a score at the 10th percentile (so if you score in the 1st decile, it means you have scored in the bottom 10% of UCAT takers); the 2nd decile represents a score at the 20th percentile, and so on.

This is how the 2021 interim scores look:

Decile
2021 interim scores
1st
2230
2nd
2350
3rd
2430
4th
2500
5th
2570
6th
2640
7th
2710
8th
2800
9th
2920

Let’s review the past few years decile ranking:

Decile
2021 interim scores
2020 Scores
2020 Actual Percentile
2019 Final Score
2019 Actual Percentile
1st
2230
2170
10th
2170
10th
2nd
2350
2290
20th
2280
20th
3rd
2430
2370
30th
2360
31st
4th
2500
2450
41st
2420
40th
5th
2570
2510
50th
2480
50th
6th
2640
2580
61st
2540
60th
7th
2710
2650
71st
2610
70th
8th
2800
2730
80th
2690
80th
9th
2920
2850
90th
2800
90th

With more students taking the UCAT and with students scoring higher this year, it will mean that more students are in each decile rank than in previous years. This could therefore result in higher UCAT cut-offs for Medical Schools. Having a higher UCAT score will be a strong advantage for those applying to Medical Schools that weigh the UCAT heavily in their application process.

The Situational Judgement Test

SJT Band
2021 Interim Scores Percentage
Band 1
16%
Band 2
40%
Band 3
32%
Band 4
12%

The percentages above show the percentage of candidates placed in each SJT band. Here is the comparison with past SJT results:

SJT Band
2021 Interim Scores Percentage
2020
2029
Band 1
16%
30%
17%
Band 2
40%
36%
40%
Band 3
32%
24%
33%
Band 4
12%
9%
10%

Although UCAT scores in the other four subsets have increased, the percentage of students scoring Band 1 has decreased. What are the reasons for this? We don’t know for sure, but the criteria to hit Band 1 may have been increased, questions could be harder etc. 

With the increased UCAT competitiveness this year, scoring in Band 1 could become a valuable asset to your application to help differentiate yourself from other candidates. This is especially true for Medical Schools that openly use the SJT score such as Edinburgh, which allocate a score to an applicant’s SJT Band. These allocated points contribute towards shortlisting for their Assessment Days. They also do not accept anyone who achieved Band 4.

Conclusion

More people are taking the UCAT than in previous years which indicates that more people are applying for Medicine. This factor, combined with an increase in UCAT scores means that the application to UCAT Medical Schools will be more competitive. Therefore, candidates will likely need a higher UCAT score this year to receive their offers.

It is important to remember that the data released is only preliminary, so the final mean scores will probably be lower, as seen in the past few years. For this reason, be careful when comparing yourself to the data above and making any considerations about your application.

Got a low UCAT score? Don’t worry. It’s not too late to get that place.

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