What Is A Good UCAT Score And Where To Apply?

Currently, more than 30,000 medical and dental applicants take the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) each year, but where is the best score to get? We can take a look at the distribution of scores from previous years to give you an idea of where your UCAT score lies within your cohort year.

Author: Adi Sen

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The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is currently taken by over 30,000 Medicine and Dentistry applicants each year – but what is a good UCAT score to aim for?

With such strong competition for a limited number of places at Medical and Dental schools, it’s no wonder that all students want to find out whether they had a good UCAT score compared to the rest of the year’s cohort.

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer for what counts as a good UCAT score. Although there are suggested cut-offs, there is no such thing as a “score you need to get into X Medical School” as the UCAT forms only one component of the application and your Personal Statement, A-level grades, GCSE and Interview performance all need to be strong too.

However, we can take a look at the score distributions of the previous years to give you an idea of where your UCAT score stands within your cohort year.

How is the UCAT scored?

The UCAT consists of five sections:

Your raw score for each of the first four sections is converted to a score ranging from 300 to 900. The majority of students score in the range from 500 to 700 and the total average score is usually around 620-630 each year. The average varies for each section of the exam – here are the average scores for different sections over the last five 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%

Each candidate is assigned a Band from 1 to 4, with 1 being the best score. Ideally, you should aim to get a Band 1 or 2 to put yourself in a good position. Some universities have a cut-off band for the SJT so will not accept candidates with a Band 4 score in the SJT.

The preliminary mean scores for 2021, along with the decile ranges are now released which can be found here. This information should give you an idea of how your UCAT scores stand compared to others in your application cycle but as the final complete scores have not been released yet, always take the data with a pinch of salt. 

What is a good UCAT Score?

Firstly, a good UCAT score is different to a high UCAT score. Secondly, good UCAT scores vary between years depending on the average UCAT performance each year. For 2020, the average score was around 628 (2511) which is higher than the previous 2 years. So for 2020, we suggest that a good score was between 650-670. Anything above 670 (2,680) we class as a high score. 

With the current trend suggesting that mean UCAT scores are increasing each year, a good UCAT score is likely to be higher in 2021 than in 2020. For SJT bands, as we mentioned earlier, we recommend that you aim for at least Band 2 to improve your chances of receiving your Medicine offers.  

Where to apply with a good UCAT score

Remember that each university use UCAT scores differently, so the best way to make the most of your score is to apply to the Medical Schools that place the right level of emphasis on the UCAT that suits your performance. Let’s explain what this means:

If you’ve scored highly, you might consider a Medical School with a high UCAT cut-off score. For example, Bristol University no longer uses the Personal Statment as a selection factor for the Interviews and now mainly focus on the UCAT. Applicants with a UCAT score of 2690 or more are usually invited to interview but this threshold will of course vary each year.

Another example is Manchester University who state that if you meet the UCAT threshold (which has been around 2600-2670 for the last few years) and 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.

Alternatively, if the UCAT score you achieved isn’t as high as you wanted it to be, don’t be too disappointed. The key is to apply to Medical Schools that place more emphasis on GCSE and A-level grades, Interviews and your Personal Statements such as Birmingham and Cardiff.

Happy with your UCAT Score? What about the rest of your application? 

The UCAT is just one part of your Medical School application. A strong application for Medicine also includes nailing your Personal Statement, Interviews and depending on your university choices, the BMAT too. Our Standard Medicine Programme aims to maximise your Admissions Test score (BMAT and UCAT), perfect your Personal Statement and develop your Interview skills to get you Interviewing like a pro. 

Discover our Standard Medicine Programme by clicking the button below to enrol and triple your chances of success.

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