A Guide to UK UCAT Medical Schools

Selecting which UCAT universities to apply to can be daunting. There are two different tests: UCAT and BMAT. The good thing about the UCAT is that more than 30 UK medical schools accept it. Here, we outline the UCAT information you need to help you choose medical schools. And a list of UK universities offering medical degrees that require the UCAT.

Author: Rob Needleman

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Selecting which UCAT universities to apply to can be daunting.

To complicate matters, depending on which medical school you choose, there are two different aptitude tests:

 

The good thing about choosing to take the UCAT is that over 30 medical schools in the UK accept it, so you’re giving yourself the most options. 

 

In this article, we outline the UCAT information you need to help choose your medical schools. We have also provided a list of UK universities that provide Undergraduate Medicine Degrees requiring the UCAT. 

How do UCAT Medical Schools use the admissions test?

If you have decided to apply to UCAT universities then it’s important to look into how medical school interpret your results.

 

Some UCAT med schools have strict cut-offs for certain sections or overall totals for the UCAT. For example, the University of Glasgow Medicine Degree admissions has a minimum UCAT score for interview selection of around 2680.

 

Some universities don’t have a cut-off score at all but will view your results in accordance with the rest of your application such as the University of Bristol. Other universities pay very close attention to certain sections like the Situational Judgement and others will ignore it completely. 

How to Choose your UCAT Medical Schools

It can be difficult to know how to choose from the massive list of UCAT universities. Especially when they all view your results in a slightly different way. You may decide to choose a school that accepts lower UCAT scores such as Cardiff or Bristol. You can read more on low score UCAT medical schools here

 

It is a good idea to have an idea of the type of medical school that you would like to attend (i.e. traditional, integrated, or PBL). Then to shortlist the universities that offer courses of this type. Here’s a handy checklist to follow to help with the process:

When to take the UCAT

You take the UCAT before applying to your chosen universities through UCAS – this is a blessing! For key dates click here. This means that you are able to tailor your application to give you the best chance of getting a place at a UCAT medical school.

 

For example, if you know that you have not done well in the Situational Judgement Test or if you get a low UCAT score then it may be best to apply to a UCAT medical school such as the University of East Anglia where there is no minimum cut-off.

 

On the contrary, if you have done especially well in your UCAT then you can apply to a school with a high weighting such as the University of Leicester Medical School, where the UCAT has a 50% weighting on your application.

bristol-university

How to prepare for the UCAT

To give yourself the upper hand in knowing whether you are likely to score well or not in each section of the UCAT, practise using past papers and any other resources available to you such as books and online question banks. Make sure you fully understand all the UCAT sections before you start practicing. 

 

 

This way you will know how you are likely to do on the day and you can plan ahead by picking medical schools that favour your strongest sections of the test.

 

 

Starting your revision early is also the key to success. Revising for 30 minutes each day for the months running up to the test rather than hours of revision each day two weeks before the test, will help you score more highly on the UCAT. We go into this in more depth in our ‘6 month revision timeline‘ article.

What is a good UCAT score?

This is a common question but not straightforward to answer. Why? Because it all depends on different factors.

 

Realistically, there is no such thing as a score you need to get into a certain medical school as the UCAT forms only one component of your university application. 

 

Your Personal Statement, A-level grades, GCSEs and interview performance all need to be strong too. We also know that the UCAT requirements of medical schools all differ from each other, and each year the spread of marks achieved by applicants fluctuates.

 

Here are the average scores for different sections over the last four years:

 

 
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
Verbal Reasoning
570
565
567
570
573
Decision Making
625
618
624
647
Decision Making wasn’t tested in 2016.
Quantitative Reasoning
664
662
658
695
690
Abstract Reasoning
653
638
637
629
630
Total
2,511
2,483
2,485
2,540
1,893
Number Of Candidates
34,153
29,375
27,466
24,844
23,359

 

The Situational Judgement Test has a different scoring system:

 

 20202019201820172016
Band 130%17%21%28%26%
Band 236%40%34%42%44%
Band 324%33%32%21%22%
Band 49%10%13%9%9%

 

The easy answer is to do your best in the exam and score as high as you can, especially if your dream medical school weighs the UCAT heavily as part of the application process. But with early preparation and effective revision, you have nothing to worry about! For more information on good UCAT scores, read here

What are the UCAT medical schools?

If you want to apply to any of the below medical schools then the UCAT is a necessity:

aberdeen-university
Devinberg, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

University of Aberdeen

Students’ UCAT scores are considered in the selection for an interview along with actual and predicted academic achievement. A minimum UCAT cut-off score is NOT used.

 

A score is allocated based on the applicant’s overall performance in the UCAT compared with all other applicants. This includes verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning and decision making. The SJT is not included but may be used in offer making when there are candidates with similar scores.

 

Applicants to Aberdeen offer a broad range of UCAT scores. For 2020 entry the lowest total score for an applicant invited to interview was 2460 and the highest 3510.

 

Use of UCAT consideration is the same for Dentistry too: (Academic – 60%, UCAT – 40%).

anglia-ruskin-university-aru
Mohammed Tawsif Salam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Anglia Ruskin University

Students must meet the Anglia Ruskin academic criteria:

  • Grades AAA at A level taken within two academic years prior to the year of entry to include Chemistry or Biology; and one of either Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics, plus one other.
  • 5 GCSEs at grade A*-B (9-6), including English Language, Maths and two science subjects.

 

Those who meet the criteria will then be ranked on their total UCAT score and those who score the highest will then be invited to an interview. Over the last two years, students who were invited to interviews achieved an average UCAT score of 2615 and the lowest score to be invited to interviews was 2451.

aston-university
photography taken by Christophe.Finot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Aston University

Aston University applicants are reviewed on their school grades and UCAT score. Students are then ranked on these factors and applicants who rank the highest will receive an interview invitation. 

 

Aston does not provide specific score requirements for the UCAT. Therefore there is no lower cut-off score for the UCAT or the Situational Judgment Test. 

 

  • Normal A-level requirements are a minimum of AAA with Chemistry and Biology being compulsory.
  • GCSE (or equivalent) qualifications: normal requirements are a minimum of five GCSEs/IGCSEs at grade B / grade 6 or above, which must include English Language, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology or Double Science (or international equivalent).
birmingham-university
Photo © Graham Norrie (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Birmingham

Students will receive an overall score for their application which is the sum of weighted scores for each of the academic and UCAT components (academic – 70%; UCAT – 30%). Applicants are ranked according to this score. There is no minimum UCAT cut-off score

 

The number of interview places determines the threshold application score so it is not possible to determine the threshold score in advance.

 

Personal Statements are not scored but a decision will also be based on ensuring that an applicant provides sufficient evidence of commitment, motivation and relevant personal qualities.

bristol-university
Photo © Colin Smith (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Bristol

Bristol University combines UCAT scores from all subtests (excluding Situational Judgement) to select which applicants to interview. Applicants with a UCAT score of 2690 or more are usually invited to interview but this threshold will vary each year. 

 

From 2021 onwards, Bristol will no longer use the applicant’s Personal Statement as a selection factor for interviews, the main factor is now the UCAT.

 

Work experience is not a requirement for this course, but it is encouraged.

cardiff-university
Armonjones, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cardiff University

Cardiff University does not place emphasis on the UCAT as part of their selection process. They usually place more importance on GCSEs and A-level grades or the equivalent and then rank applicants with a points system such as at A-level, an A* = 3 points and A = 2 points. At GCSEs 9, 8, A* = 3 points and 7, A = 2 points.

 

A typical A-level offer is AAA and must include Biology and Chemistry. Graduates will need to complete the GAMSAT and there is no minimum UCAT or GAMSAT minimum threshold score

Photo © Bill Harrison (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Dundee

Dundee University ranks their applicants on their school grades and total UCAT Score. Usually, school grades are a 60% weighting of the medicine application using GCSEs and achieved or predicted A-levels.  As the UCAT makes up 40%, a low score can be supported with good grades and vice versa. 

 

As Dundee University has stopped displaying a lot of detail about UCAT scores on their website, we will include 2018 entry information which saw an average UCAT score of 2590 so it is best to score as highly as possible to compete with fellow applicants. 

 

Situational Judgement is usually not used but has been included in previous decision making.

university-east-anglia
Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of East Anglia

University of East Anglia does not have a UCAT cut-off score. Whilst a high UCAT score may be advantageous, a low score in an otherwise strong application, will not automatically disqualify an applicant from consideration.

 

The University uses all subsection scores to rank the applicants for interview invitation (including Situational Judgement) and the average UCAT score to be invited to interviews is usually between 2550 to 2600.

 

Personal Statements are not scored but will be brought up during interviews.  

edge-hill-university
Photo © Alex McGregor (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Edge Hill University

Edge Hill University requires the UCAT. Applicants that meet the threshold academic requirements (e.g AAA A-levels or AAA Scottish Advanced) will be ranked on their UCAT score. Like other universities, the threshold UCAT cut-off will fluctuate each year but it has been around 2450

Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh has only recently started interviewing students (2020 was the first year). Interview selection is based on UCAT scores, school grades and the Situational Judgement bands. Interviews are also scored so this will be added to the previous selection criteria to finalise offers.

 

The weighting of selection criteria is 25% school grades, 17.5% UCAT score, 7.5% SItuational Judgement band, 50% assessment data scores. Personal Statement is not used to assess applicants but can come up on the assessment day. 

 

There is not a specific UCAT cut-off score that will reject applicants but the average has been around 2680 so scoring highly is important. 

exeter-university
Photo © Chris Allen (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Exeter

Exeter University selects students to interview from their school grades and UCAT Score. The GAMSAT is required for graduates. 

 

It is rare for applicants who score less than 2500 on the UCAT to be invited for an interview so although you need a good academic profile (all students with A*A*A* prediction automatically get an interview), you still need a good UCAT score. 

glasgow-university
Photo © Steve Houldsworth (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Glasgow

Glasgow University selects applicants to interview by using academic and non-academic criteria such as UCAT, school grades, Personal Statement and reference. 

 

This process occurs through ensuing only students who meet the minimum grades can be considered and then the Personal Statement and reference are used to indicate a student’s suitability for studying medicine. 

 

The minimum UCAT score to be selected for interviews tends to be around 2680 and the Situational Judgement section is not included. 

hull-york-medical-school
Ab192 via (CC BY-SA 4.0) Wikimedia Commons

Hull York Medical School

Hull York Medical School will reject any applicants that achieve a Situational Judgement band of 4. Those with a higher band will be set a score from points based on the UCAT score and points from other entry criteria such as GCSEs.

 

The average UCAT score for applicants who were selected for interviews is around 2500-2600 but this will vary year to year. The Personal Statement is not used in scoring but still considered as part of a successful application.  

keele-university
Tanya Dedyukhina (CC BY 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Keele University

Keele University has a UCAT cut-off which is relatively low compared to other universities. The threshold is above 2280 and band 4 on the Situational Judgement. If an applicant fails to meet these, they will not be invited to interview. 

 

There is another criteria section that you must fulfil which is completing the ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ form. This assesses the applicant’s suitability to study medicine. This will also be used to select students to interview. 

kent-medway-medical-school
Photo © Danny P Robinson (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Kent and Medway Medical School

Applicants to Kent and Medway Medical School must meet the minimum academic requirements such as AAB in Chemistry or Biology and meet the UCAT threshold to be selected for interviews.

 

The UCAT threshold is dependant on your circumstances (school-leaver/graduate or international student). For example, for A-level applicants, the threshold tends to be around 2400 and band 3 for Situational Judgement

kings-college-london
FormerBBC (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

King's College London

King’s College London applicants must meet the minimum academic requirements such as A*AB in Chemistry and Biology and meet the UCAT threshold to be selected for interviews. GCSEs and Personal Statement are also included in applicant shortlisting. 

 

King’s College London does not have a specific UCAT threshold score. The overall UCAT score averaged across the four subtests is given more consideration than the individual subtest scores and Situational Judgement is also taken into account when shortlisting. However, we can still look at the usual UCAT average score for successful applicants which is around 2800. 

leicester-university
Photo © Ashley Dace (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Leicester

Leicester University selection is based on a 50/50 approach. 50% comes from an applicant’s academics (AAA at A-levels and GCSE performance) and 50% comes from the UCAT (total UCAT score in the top 5 deciles with a Situational Judgement band 1-3).

 

As your academics take up 50% of criteria weighting, there is no official UCAT threshold. The lowest score accepted has been 587.5 so this shows that you can support a lower UCAT score with strong academics. 

Photo © Derek Harper (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Liverpool

Liverpool University admissions process is split into three sections. The first section includes your grades at school and these are scored with points such as 3 points per A*/8/9 on your top 9 GCSEs. The minimum points are usually 15 to reach the next section. 

 

You will then be ranked on your UCAT score. If you score 3200 or above, you will receive the maximum points of 27. The candidates that score the most points will be invited to the third section of admissions which is the interview. Situational Judgment band 4 is usually not considered.  

manchester-university
Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Manchester

Manchester University state that if you meet the UCAT threshold (which has been around 2600-2670 for the last few years) and you achieve Band 1 or 2 in the Situational Judgement, you will likely be invited to interview as long as you meet the minimum academic requirements (for example, at least seven GCSEs at grade A (7) or A* (8+) and predicted grades).

 

Manchester also requires applicants to undertake some relevant work experience prior to application to gain some insight into what the role of a doctor involves.

Photo © Andrew Curtis (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Newcastle University

Newcastle University accepts students based on their academic results and the UCAT. Applicants will need to achieve minimum academic results (AAA A-levels) to be considered and pass the interview section to receive an offer.

 

There is a UCAT cut-off which is used to select applicants to interview. These will vary each year but the threshold is usually 2700+. Newcastle does not accept applicants with a Situational Judgement band of 4.  

Barry Mangham (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

University of Nottingham

Nottingham University does not use predicted A level grades as part of their selection process but applicants will need to achieve AAA to be accepted. Minimum GCSE grades are required which are 6 GCSEs at Level 7 (A). Work experience is also usually expected. 

 

There is not a fixed UCAT threshold for interview selection however applicants who achieve band 4 on the Situational Judgement are not accepted. 

 

Each UCAT section is awarded points based on the score achieved. For example, a UCAT Section Score of 801-900 = 9 points and 701-800 = 8 points. Situational Judgement bands are also awarded points such as Band 1 = 4 points and Band 2 = 2 points.  All sections are weighted evenly and added to the points given for GCSE grades.

plymouth-university
Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Plymouth

Plymouth University applicants are selected for interviews from their academic results and then ranked with their UCAT score. A UCAT cut-off score is used to select applicants for interviews which is usually around 2400. The threshold will vary each year depending on the number and quality of applications.

 

The GAMSAT is also used for graduates to be invited for interviews.   

queen-mary-university-london
Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Queen Mary University of London

All applicants for medicine at Queen Mary University are required to take the UCAT. UCAT scores are used to select applicants for interviews combined with academic performance (A*AA A-level grades). Queen Mary uses the UCAT and the UCAS Tariff scores of undergraduate candidates in a 50/50 weighting.

 

Usually, the top and bottom UCAT scores for applicants that receive offers for interviews are 3280 and 2300.

queens-university-belfast
Photo © Albert Bridge (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University selects their applicants for interviews from their academic results and overall UCAT score. The students are given points for their UCAT score and school grades. 

 

For example, you will receive 4 points for an A* (9) and 1 point for a C (5) with a maximum score of 36 from your highest scoring 9 GCSEs. The highest points you can be awarded for a UCAT score is 6 points for 2900-3600 and 2 points for 2100-2299. 

 

The threshold score to be invited to an interview is usually around 30-35 points

sheffield-university
Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

university of sheffield

Sheffield University requires their applicants to fulfil the minimum academic requirements which are then combined with the UCAT score and given a ranked score.

 

The minimum grades for GCSEs are 5 GCSEs at grade A (7) and B (6) which includes Maths and Science. A-level entry requirement is AAA including Chemistry and Biology.  

 

The threshold to be considered for medicine is 2420 but applicants have to meet both academic requirements and UCAT entry requirements. Situational Judgement is only considered for applicants who are invited to attend an MMI.

southampton-university
Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Southampton

Southampton University requires applicants to take the UCAT. Applicants are ranked on UCAT score to be selected for interviews also known as Selection Day. 

 

Candidates are screened against the medical school’s academic criteria. The Situational Judgement Test is not used. The lowest scoring UCAT score to be invited to an interview is usually around 2550 up to 2600.

st-andrews-university
Photo © Jim Bain (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of St Andrews

St Andrews have a limited number of interview places so candidates must have great school grades, a good reference and relevant work experience. 

 

Those that meet the minimum academic requirements and rank in the top 400 students are then ranked on their UCAT score. The lowest UCAT score for applicants invited to interview at St Andrews is usually around 2400.

 

The Situational Judgement Test is used in the interview process as the score is incorporated into the interview score.

st-georges-university-london
Photo © Peter Trimming (cc-by-sa/2.0)

St George's, University of London

Applicants to St George’s need to meet the minimum academic requirement (AAA A-level and 5 subjects graded B (6)) to be invited for an interview. 

 

There are UCAT section score thresholds (minimum 500) and overall UCAT score thresholds (around 2650). The Situational Judgement section is not used but can be used in consideration in some circumstances. 

sunderland-university
Photo © Iain Lees (cc-by-sa/2.0)

University of Sunderland

Sunderland University requires applicants to take the UCAT. Scores must be within the top 8 deciles of the cohort and the Situational Judgement Test must be within bands 1-3

 

All applicants who meet the minimum admissions requirements will be issued with a Roles and Responsibilities form. The form is used to identify evidence of commitment to work experience, voluntary work and the level of responsibility taken.

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