How Important is the UCAT for Medical School in the UK?

The UCAT, or University Clinical Aptitude Test, is a test used by many UK medical schools as part of their admissions process.

It is a 2-hour computer-based test that consists of five sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, decision making and situational judgement.

The UCAT is designed to test a range of skills and abilities that are considered important for success in medical school and as a doctor.

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But how important is it when trying to get into medical school?

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How Important is UCAT?

How Important is UCAT?

So, how important is the UCAT?

Well, it certainly can be a deciding factor in whether or not you are offered a place at medical school.

If you decide to go to a UCAT university, then the exam is likely to be an important part of the process when selecting candidates to interview.

However, it is just one part of the admissions process, and your performance in other areas (such as your academic record and personal statement) will also be taken into account.

It really depends on each and every university and how they choose to implement the UCAT exam when selecting candidates.

Some have stated that the UCAT score has little bearing after you have received an interview, however, this varies from university to university.

Let us now explore how each university uses the UCAT score when deciding on who to offer a place on their medical programs.

How Every University Uses UCAT Scores

Aberdeen

Aberdeen uses a combination of UCAT scores alongside predicted/actual academic achievements.

No minimum cut-off is used at aberdeen, however the lowest score invited to interview was 2460, and the highest 2510 in 2020.

The SJT subtest is not considered by Aberdeen.

Read more about their individual requirements on their website.

Anglia Ruskin

There is no formal cut-off at Anglia Ruskin, however, applicants are ranked via their scores, and the top 600 applicants are interviewed.

A higher score is therefore more likely to get you an interview and subsequently a place at Anglia Ruskin.

More information. is available via the Anglia Ruskin website.

Aston

Aston University uses the UCAT alongside other entry requirements including educational and extra-curricular activities.

No minimum cut-off is used.

Read more about their individual requirements on their website.

Birmingham

At Birmingham university, applicants receive overall scores based on academic performance, UCAT, and contextual elements.

40% of your overall score comes from UCAT performance.

The SJT score is excluded and isn’t used as part of the scoring process, but will be used during the interview stage.

Applicants scoring 2150 or below will receive no scores contributing to the 40%.

applicants in the 8th decile will receive roughly 3.1 points, and applicants in the 10th decile will receive the full 4 points.

Typically the best test-takers will receive at least 3 points from their UCAT exam, however, because there is no cut-off, anything is possible in terms of getting an interview with a lower UCAT score.

Read more on Birmingham selection and scoring criteria as it has been extensively documented, including minimum cut-offs for overall score (rather than UCAT score) when deciding who to interview.

Bristol

Bristol uses the combined score from all UCAT subtests, except Situational Judgement.

A minimum cut-off is used by Bristol to decide who to interview.

This cut-off changes every year depending on the UCAT average that year, applicant rank, and a number of other undisclosed factors.

In general, the cutoff is typically around 8th decile, and anyone scoring lower is less likely to get an interview.

the cut-off in 2022 was 2870 which is higher than most other medical schools.

Read more on the bristol website.

Cardiff

Cardiff runs both an undergraduate and graduate entry program for medicine and all students applying must take the UCAT.

The UCAT is used in conjunction with other information and Cardiff has no cut-offs.

Chester

Chester is due to start a graduate entry medicine course in September 2022.

Little is known about the selection criteria other than the UCAT is used in conjunction with other pieces of information to select suitable applicants to interview.

It is important to note that Chester is currently only admitting overseas students paying full fees since certain restrictions are placed on the number of home students the UK government can finance.

Read more on the Chester website.

Dundee

Dundee has a 40% weight on the UCAT score and 60% academic.

Typically a score in the 7th decile or above can secure an interview granted academics are solid.

More information is available on the university site.

East Anglia

For students applying to the University of East Anglia, applicants must meet UCAT requirements.

There is no minimum cut-off, however, the overall score is ranked and used to select just under 600 students for interview.

This of course means a high score is advantageous, but a low score doesn’t disqualify you.

After your interview, the overall score is used in conjunction with your interview to select applicants to offer places.

Unlike some other universities, the SJT score is used as part of the interview score.

Read more on the UEA site.

Read a recent FOI request.

Edge Hill

Applicants are first screened for academic entry requirements, as is the case for all universities.

Applicants are then ranked based on UCAT, and a minimum cutoff is set to meet a certain quota of interviews.

roughly 100 candidates are interviewed as per their UCAT rankings.

MMI interview score is used to determine offers.

More information is available on the university site.

Edinburgh

Applicants who score a Band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test will not be considered for entry. 

You are required to meet a minimum UCAT score entry which is set for the 2023 entry to be 2470. 

Any applicant applying with a score below this will not be considered with the exclusion of FLAG PLUS applicants.

Scores are ranked and divided into deciles (separate from UCAT national deciles as just applicant scores).

An SJT score is also calculated based on banding.

The points are then added to your academic score to contribute towards your final ranking for shortlisting and possible invitation to an interview. 

The total score an applicant achieved may be looked at again when final decisions are made on who to make an offer to, and how to deal with applicants scoring identically.

More information is available on the university website.

Exeter

Applicants are ranked based on UCAT scores and academic profiles to determine who will be invited for an interview.

More information is available via the university website.

Glasgow

Glasgow uses the UCAT score to rank applicants who meet minimum academic requirements and have satisfactory personal statements and references.

The top 900 applicants will be invited to interview.

More information is available on the university website.

Hull York

Applicants must meet minimum academic requirements as usual, in addition to taking the UCAT and meeting further requirements.

In the UCAT, applicants are required to achieve bands 1 to 3 in the situational judgement subtest.

A score of band 4 in SJT will result in exclusion from the interview pool.

Applicants are ranked based on GCSE results, UCAT score, Situational Judgement band, and contextual data. The top 800 or so candidates are interviewed.

more information is available on the university website.

Keele

Applicants are screened academically which includes GCSE or degree classification for HE applicants.

A roles and Responsibilities (R&R) form must be filled as part of the application process.

This form is scored and used to rank applicants for interviews.

UCAT scores will be used in tie-breaker situations, or if the number of interviews slows is exceeded by the number of applicants tied above the R&R threshold.

As such, an R&R threshold is used.

More information is available on the university site.

Kent and Medway

Applicants are divided into five groups depending on education level or student status, and there are different procedures for entry and selection.

Stage one for all groups involves assessing minimum educational requirements.

Stage 2 involved checking that the minimum UCAT threshold is met.

Thresholds may differ depending on the group.

More detailed information is available on the university website.

King’s College London

King’s does not have a threshold UCAT score. The overall UCAT score averaged across the four scored subtests is given more consideration than the individual subtest scores.

The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is also taken into account when shortlisting.

Typically applicants must be in the highest deciles (9th and 10th) for interviews at KCL.

More information is available on the KCL site.

Leicester

The UCAT forms 50% of the total pre-interview score.

Applicants scoring band 4 in the SJT subtest will be automatically rejected.

Points are awarded based on a decile system.

An applicant in the bottom two deciles will be typically rejected prior to the interview.

More information is available on the website.

Entry criteria for 2023 are released with information about the UCAT scoring system used.

Liverpool

Graduates applying to the A100 programme are currently required to have taken GAMSAT. 

Undergraduate students are still required to do the UCAT.

A UCAT Cut-off is used by Liverpool University, however, this changes every year.

Applicants are then ranked on UCAT scores.

Preference may be given to applicants offering higher GCSE scores if borderline decisions need to be made.

More information is available on the university site.

Manchester

Manchester university uses a UCAT threshold as part of its selection criteria.

The threshold is based on the standard of scores received that year and is therefore calculated once all applications are received.

Students are likely to be invited for an interview if this threshold is met, and a band 1 or 2 is achieved in the SJT subtest.

If the threshold isn’t met, educational information is used to form a holistic assessment.

More information is available on the manchester website.

Newcastle

Newcastle uses a UCAT threshold as part of its selection criteria, however, this figure is never disclosed.

the UCAT is the main criterion when selecting applicants for interviews.

Other factors are however taken into account.

Cut-offs are speculated to be quite high in Newcastle and as such candidates should expect to be scoring in the 8th and 9th deciles to be competitive.

Candidates should also be scoring in bands 1 and 2 for SJT.

It is unclear how or whether SJT scores are used during selection.

More information is available on the university website.

Nottingham

Nottingham uses GCSEs and UCAT for selection.

If you apply without GCSEs (ie overseas or with a degree), the UCAT will be the main selection criteria.

60 points are awarded for the UCAT cognitive section (ie the 4 scored subtests), and 60 for the SJT.

Applicants with band 4 in SJT are automatically rejected.

Scores for verbal reasoning are doubled, and therefore scoring higher in this subtest will improve your overall score greater than that of other subtests.

scores are tallied and ranked to select candidates.

Details about scoring can be found on the university site.

Plymouth

A UCAT threshold is calculated by Plymouth based on the performance of applicants that year.

Applicants are then invited to interview using the UCAT in conjunction with educational performance.

The most recent cutoffs are shown in the table below.

YearMinimum UCAT Cut-off
20222610
20212400
20202390
20192330
20182400
20171870
UCAT cut-off for Plymouth University from 2017 to 2022

More detail on the university website.

Queen Mary (Barts)

Applicants will be ranked in relation to other applicants who apply in the same year using a 50:50 weighting of the UCAT score and academic ability as determined by the UCAS tariff or academic ability for graduates (based on a weighting of degree classification or postgraduate degrees).

If your overall UCAT score falls below the third decile, you will automatically be excluded from interviews.

Even if your score is higher than the third decile, there is no assurance that you will be offered an interview.

800 candidates are expected to be interviewed based on their UCAT results and expected UCAS tariff.

More information is available via the university site.

Queen’s Belfast

All applicants must take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), and the results will be taken into consideration before interviews.

Further information on UCAT is available on the university website.

Sheffield

In Sheffield, applicants must meet minimum academic requirements, as well as a minimum UCAT requirement to be considered for an interview.

This minimum score is calculated by the university.

Once applications are filtered for applicants who meet or exceed both the minimum academic requirements and the minimum UCAT requirements, UCAT scores are ranked to determine which applicants should be invited for an interview.

Up to this point, Overall scores are used, and the SJT is only used in conjunction with Multiple Mini-Interview scores to determine who should get an offer.

More information is available on the university website.

Southampton

Southampton offers both an undergraduate and graduate entry programme.

There is also a foundation year programme.

All applicants in the undergraduate and graduate entry programmes will need to take the UCAT exam.

All scores will be ranked to determine who should be invited to interview.

The UCAT score is used also to determine who receives an offer, alongside interview performance.

More information is available via the university website.

St Andrews

At St Andrews, applicants are ranked on their UCAT score and the top 500 applicants are given interviews.

In recent years, the lowest score has been as low as 2400.

Typically a score greater than the 7th decile is likely to get an interview.

More information on the university site.

St George’s

St Georges offers both an undergraduate and graduate entry programme for medicine.

The undergraduate program uses the UCAT, whereas the graduate entry programme requires GAMSAT.

There is a standard cut-off of 500 in each subtest, and the overall cut-off is determined each year based on the performance of applicants.

The overall cutoff has typically been at a level comparable to the 8th decile in recent years.

Historic UCAT score data is available on the university website.

Sunderland

In Sunderland, students must typically score in the 8th decile or higher and have an SJT score between band 1 and 3.

This applies to both the undergraduate and graduate entry programmes.

More information is available via the university website.

Surrey

Surrey is an independent medical school with the majority of its intake from international students paying full fees.

Applicants are first shortlisted using academic requirements which can be found on the university website.

The UCAT is then used to score candidates and rank them for interviews.

At this stage, students are either given an interview, rejected, or placed on a waiting list.

Limited information is available on whether other factors are considered alongside the UCAT after academic requirements are considered.

More information is on the surrey website.

Warwick

The University of Warwick operates through a rank-based system where the top 450 students are invited to an interview based on their overall UCAT scores.

Typically anyone above the 7th decile mark is likely to receive an interview.

Published data for Warwick UCAT scores.

Entry requirements this year.

Worcester

Worcester offers a 4-year graduate-entry medical program for individuals who already hold undergraduate degrees.

This medical school is known as the Three Counties Medical School as it is intended to serve Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire County.

Student finance is available for home students, however, the applications are primarily open to international applications.

Applicants must take the UCAT and score highly, however, no further details or cut-offs are provided. This likely suggests that applicants should score in the 8th decile or higher.

The GAMSAT and MCAT can be taken in place of the UCAT.

A further CASPer test must be done to assess ethics and situational judgement.

Read more on the website.

How the UCAT can impact your medical school application

As seen above, the UCAT can have a significant impact on your medical school application, or it can have minimal effects depending on which university you apply to.

If you are planning on going to medical school, strategic applications are important in determining where you have the best chance of entry.

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