If you’re an international student looking to study medicine in the UK, you’ll need to take the UCAT.
There are other ways to enter medical school, some of which may be more favourable for international students.
However, the UCAT still remains the most accessible and widely accepted entrance exam to take before gaining access to medical school in the UK.
This blog will provide you with all the information and resources you need to prepare for the UCAT and get the score you need to get into your dream school.
Introducing UCAT – what is it and why is it important for international students?
UCAT is an international standardized test that is required for admission to many universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
The UCAT is important for international students because it provides a level playing field for applicants from different countries.
It is also a good way to demonstrate your academic abilities and potential to universities without having to go through the educational system in UK.
Tips and strategies for UCAT preparation!
The UCAT can be a daunting prospect, especially for international students who may not be familiar with the format of the test.
However, we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of tips and strategies that we hope will help you prepare.
Understand the format of the UCAT by studying each subtest.
Understand which universities accept the UCAT.
Understand that you have alternatives if the UCAT is not for you.
Make sure the university accepts international students.
A number of universities including UCLAN, Buckinham, Surrey, and Worcester have a large overseas student intake.
Get the right resources!
Resources for UCAT preparation – where to find them and how to make the most of them
There are a few different ways that you can go about preparing for the UCAT, and it really depends on what resources are available to you and how you learn best.
However, there are a few key resources that are essential for UCAT preparation, and we’ve listed them below.
1. The UCAT website – This is the most obvious one, and it’s a great resource for finding out information about the test, as well as getting access to practice questions.
2. UCAT books – There are a few different UCAT books available, and they can be really helpful in providing extra practice questions and tips for the test.
Kaplan is informative while ICS tends to focus more on providing questions. Kaplan is typically more accurate in terms of practice question difficulty, however, the ICS book provides more challenging questions.
3. UCAT courses – There are a few. Some are written, and some are video based. Typically UCAT courses are lengthy, overpriced, and don’t offer a good alternative to just practising questions.
They may however be good for more visual learners who appreciate demonstrations and explanations in real-time.
Ali Abdaal has an affordable and well-structured UCAT course on his website.
Frequently asked questions about UCAT preparation –
If you’re preparing for UCAT, you might have some questions about the best way to go about it. Here are some frequently asked questions about UCAT preparation, to help you get started.
1. How long should I spend preparing for UCAT?
This depends on a few factors, including how comfortable you feel with the test material and how much free time you have. However, as a general guide, we recommend spending at least a few weeks preparing for UCAT. This will give you enough time to familiarise yourself with the test format and content and to practice some questions under timed conditions.
No more than 3 months as this risks over-practising fatigue and stagnation.
2. What resources should I use to prepare for UCAT?
There are a number of resources as detailed above. The best and cheapest UCAT resources are found on the official site, and sites like this. Question banks such as Medify are also very helpful.
3. Where will I take my test?
It is best to take your test in the country you wish to study to avoid any confusion and ensure you secure a place. If this is in the UK then it will likely be in a Pearson test centre which can be booked online.
4. When will I get my results?
You should get your results immediately after taking your exam. They will be printed for you once you are done by the test centre officials.
5. What university can I apply?
You can apply to UCAT universities with your UCAT score. Your score will be automatically sent to the universities you apply to.
You must apply strategically to maximise your chances, and the only way this can be done is if you know how each university uses your UCAT score.
6. Do I have to move to the UK?
To study medicine in the UK you will usually have to move to the UK during term time, either using student accommodation or by living with family, friends, or on your own.
7. Am I eligible to apply to UK universities only after taking the UCAT?
You are eligible to apply to UCAT universities. Whether you are accepted will be dependent on a number of factors including your educational background, UCAT score, age (usually above 18), and if you have embarked on medical studies before.
If you have embarked on a previous medical degree before you must disclose this as it means you may not be eligible.
If you are under a certain age, usually 18, you are normally not old enough to be accepted into medical school.
If you are missing certain educational requirements, you may be able to submit evidence of your schooling history and this can be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Some universities such as Nottingham will usually accept GCSEs and UCAT scores in conjunction to determine who to invite to interview, however, if GCSEs are not present, only the UCAT will be used.
Study the entrance requirements of each UCAT university to find out more about eligibility.
8. Do international students get student finance or loans
International students usually don’t get any student finance even after receiving an offer to study medicine.
This is because they are classed as overseas students or non-home students.
They must also usually pay full fees which in many cases are double that of home fees.
UCAT preparation can be a daunting task, but with the right resources, it can be a breeze. This blog provides Frequently Asked Questions about UCAT preparation, so you can get the most out of your preparation.
Post any more questions you may have in the comments below to have them answered.
Do you want some extra UCAT tips?
Get a list of 20 secret UCAT tips used by the best students to improve their scores on test day!