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UCAT Tests

    • 20 tests |
    • 238 questions

The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is used for medical and dental school admissions in the UK. It assesses cognitive abilities, attitudes, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. It’s designed to select candidates with the potential for success in healthcare programs.

What is the UCAT test?

The UCAT is an online test that assesses the ability and attitude of candidates wishing to study medicine or dentistry. UCAT stands for the University Clinical Aptitude Test and is a requirement for studying medicine or dentistry in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It is used alongside a UCAS application for applying to study at universities.

It consists of a series of questions designed to test aptitude, cognitive ability and behaviour, to ensure that places on medicine and dentistry courses are given to the most capable and suitable candidates.

The UCAT reflects the vital attributes necessary for a career as a doctor or dentist, as identified by universities and clinical professionals.

UCAT Test Format

The UCAT is usually taken at a Pearson VUE test centre and has a time allowance of 2 hours.

The test comprises five sections that each present a set of multiple-choice questions based on areas such as reasoning, decision making and behaviour.

Immediately after sitting the test, candidates are given a score that they can use to complete their UCAS application for university. Once the UCAS deadline has passed, UCAT communicates with universities to determine your suitability for a place on your chosen course.

If you are looking to start a career in the medical field, you will need to get a qualification from a medical school - and in most cases, that means taking the UCAT.

The test is known to be difficult - the hardest part of the assessment is the tight time limit. This means that time management is an important strategy for success in the UCAT.

Why is time management important for the UCAT test?

The UCAT asks 228 questions in just two hours, which makes it difficult to answer all the questions - and with each subtest having its own time limit, you need to be able to manage your time well to ensure that you can answer each section.

Familiarity with the test structure and the content of each of the sections will help you get used to managing your time, and there is no better way to prepare than with practice tests.

When might you take a UCAT test?

If you wish to study medicine or dentistry at a university in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand, sitting the UCAT is a compulsory requirement.

Pupils usually sit the test in the summer before their final year of A Levels. Passing the UCAT is not the only requirement for entry to study medicine or dentistry, though it is a compulsory element of the application process.

You’ll also need to achieve the required educational qualifications and have a strong personal statement and work experience history.

Which aptitudes does the UCAT test?

The UCAT is designed to test aptitude in the following areas:

  • Abstract reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Decision making
  • Situational judgement

Unlike some other aptitude tests, the sequence of questions on the UCAT is preset and doesn’t change according to the answers you give.

Quantitative reasoning

As a doctor or dentist, you must have a solid understanding of numerical data and the ability to work with numbers, as you will be expected to safely work out drug dosages and other important calculations.

The quantitative reasoning test assesses your knowledge of basic mathematical principles and your ability to use numerical skills to solve problems.

Although no specific mathematical knowledge is required, the test demands GCSE-level maths ability, at least. You will be allowed to use an on-screen calculator and a whiteboard and pen to work out your answers.

The questions present numerical data in a variety of formats including charts, graphs and tables. Most questions are made up of four questions associated with each set of data, and each question offers a choice of five answers.

In the Quantitative Reasoning test, you will have 25 minutes to answer 36 questions, which works out to about 40 seconds per question.

This test has one of the highest average marks, and in 2022 that average was 658.

Example quantitative reasoning question

ucat numerical question

If there were 50,000 people employed in Blackpool in 2021 what is the ratio of employed to unemployed people in that year?

  • A) 25:1
  • B) 12.5:1
  • C) 10:1
  • D) 8.33:1

Answer

50k : 5k

50 / 5 = 10

10:1, so the answer is C)

Verbal reasoning

Verbal reasoning skills are used frequently in medicine and dentistry. Once qualified, you will be expected to read, interpret, analyse and write sensitive information that can be crucial for the safe care of patients. The verbal reasoning test assesses your ability to grasp contexts, understand language and draw conclusions from the information you read.

The UCAT verbal reasoning test consists of eleven passages of text, each with four accompanying questions. You will have just 21 minutes to answer all 44 questions.

There are two types of verbal reasoning question. The first type poses a question based on the information provided in the passage of text. You must draw conclusions from the information given and choose from four possible answers.

For the second type of question, you must read the passage of text and decide whether enough information is provided to judge whether a given statement is true or false, or whether there is insufficient information to draw a conclusion.

Example verbal reasoning question

ucat verbal question

Statement: The passage suggests that it is safer to spread your savings across a range of different investments.

  • A) True
  • B) False
  • C) Cannot say

Answer

True – the third sentence explains that the very rich have been diversifying their portfolios to reduce the risk of sudden changes in share prices.

ucat test dentist

Situational judgement

The situational judgement test is not a test of aptitude or cognitive ability, but rather a test of behaviour and response to certain realistic situations. The assessors will use your answers to determine whether you can act professionally and responsibly enough to pursue work as a doctor or dentist.

The test allows 26 minutes to answer 69 questions. The questions are based around 22 scenarios that you must critically analyse to draw conclusions and decide how to respond.

You might be presented with various options of responses and have to choose the one that reflects your decision. Some questions will present a range of responses that you must rate in order of suitability.

Your answers will be used to gauge your honesty and integrity, your ability to work in a team, and your approach to difficult situations.

The marking on this section is different too. You will be awarded full marks for matching the answer given by the panel, and partial marks for getting close to the right answer. These marks are translated into bands, with Band 1 meaning that your answers show similar judgment to the experts, and Band 4 showing that your judgment is substantially different from the experts.

Example situational judgement question

ucat situational judgement question

Which of these responses is most and least likely?

A) The most radical approach that brings with it the largest potential returns but that has the most associated risk. It goes against everything the business has done before but if it works it could have a startling impact.

B) The approach that mirrors initiatives that have proven to be successful for the business previously. This harnesses methods that are known to work and will build upon previous success. The likely returns are less but there is almost zero risk.

C) The approach that offers a more creative way of thinking about customers and how they interact with the website. The likely returns are fairly substantial and it offers a pragmatic approach to building revenue.

D) It would make sense to provide a short overview of each approach so that the directors can feed into the decision-making process.

Answer

C for most likely. This approach will appeal to many graduate employers. You are demonstrating creativity but balancing that with pragmatism. Whilst some risk is inevitable, it is clear that you have the drive to move the business forwards.

D for least likely. This response does not address the request that has been made. You have been asked to put forward your favoured proposal which this approach does not do. Even if the directors do not agree with what you propose at least you are demonstrating that you can make a decision by choosing one of the other options.

Abstract reasoning

Doctors and dentists often need to spot patterns, hypothesise, make diagnoses, and identify similarities or differences in situations. An abstract reasoning test is designed to assess a candidate’s ability to identify patterns of shapes among distracting objects and material.

This is a very fast-paced test that allows only 12 minutes to answer 50 questions. Incorrect answers are not marked down, so it is worth having a go at as many questions as you can manage within the time.

Despite the short time allocated to this section, candidates usually find this one of the easier sections, with the average score in this section of 659.

The questions themselves fall into four types:

  • 1) You will be presented with a statement about a set of shapes and must select the shape that completes the statement.
  • 2) You will see two groups of shapes and must decide in which group an additional shape fits.
  • 3) Again, you will see two groups of shapes. This time you have to decide which group each of the four ‘answer’ shapes belong to.
  • 4) You must select which shape comes next in a given series of shapes.

Example abstract reasoning question

Which of the boxes comes next in the sequence?

ucat abstract question

Answer

Circle, maintains same position in top right segment for one turn, and then is not present for the following three turns. Triangle, maintains same position in bottom left segment for one turn, and then is not present for the following two turns. So the answer is B).

Decision making

As a doctor or dentist, you will be making complex decisions quickly and under pressure. The outcome of your decisions could influence a patient’s wellbeing or even survival. The decision-making test assesses your ability to analyse information and data to reach a conclusion.

The test itself consists of 29 questions that each present data sets, charts, graphs or diagrams, along with additional written information.

You are given 31 minutes to answer as many questions as possible, simulating the high-pressure environments that practising doctors and dentists often find themselves in. The questions may be presented in different formats to one another.

You can use a whiteboard and pen, and an on-screen calculator to help work out your answers.

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UCAT scores explained

Every correct answer on the UCAT receives a mark. Incorrect answers do not incur a penalty. At the end of the test, the sum total of marks creates a score that is placed within a range.

In a recent UCAT, each of the four sections testing cognitive function allowed for 300 to 900 marks, giving an overall total possible score of 1200 to 3600.

The situational judgement test is marked in a slightly different way. You are awarded one full point if your answer matches the correct answer exactly, and partial points if your answer is close to being correct. The results of the situational judgement tests are considered differently to the cognitive test results, as they assess behaviour and professionalism rather than ability.

Your situational judgement test marks will place you into one of four bands, accompanied by a comment about your performance. Typical comments include: Band 1 - ‘excellent level of performance’ to Band 4 - ‘low performance’.

How to prepare for UCAT tests

The UCAT test is delivered at test centres around the UK and at some international locations. You may be required to travel to your nearest centre. In some instances, the UCAT can be taken remotely from your home.

Once you have determined where you will be sitting the test, you must register and create an online account with UCAT. There is a hard deadline for registration (usually during September) and any late applications will not be considered.

On the day of the test, you will be asked to provide identification. Make sure the details you use to register match your identification exactly, or you may be refused entry to the test.

The best preparation for the test itself is practising using online tests. Example questions like the ones above give you an idea of the format and types of questions you’ll encounter during the test. You’ll also be able to get an idea of the pace needed to answer as many questions as possible in the time allowed.

UCAT provides information about preparing for the test for all registered candidates. Read through this very carefully. It will include instructions on how to use the on-screen calculator and using a whiteboard and pen for working out calculations.

Tests cost £70 for UK candidates and £115 for those abroad; subject to annual review. UCAT usually offers a reduced fee for candidates who sit the test early. If you meet the specified criteria you may be eligible for a bursary in advance, to cover the test fee.

Time Management Strategies for UCAT

Familiarizing Yourself with the Test Format

There is a test tour tutorial available on the official UCAT site, which is really useful as it goes through all the tools that are used in the test, as well as indicating the different functions that are available.

These include:

  • Navigating between screens and answering questions
  • Scrolling up, down, and across the screen to get all the available information.
  • The calculator, the countdown timer, and the progress indicator
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Using the navigator screen.

The more you know about the way the test is structured, the format of the questions, and the content of each subtest, the better you will be able to manage your time.

Allocating Time Per Question

The differing time limits and number of questions in each section can make it difficult for you to know how long to spend on each question. You want to balance moving quickly enough to allow yourself enough time to attempt every question, but you don’t want to risk rushing through and making a mistake or misreading a question.

Knowing approximately how much time you should be spending on each question is something that comes with practice, but you can give yourself a better chance by keeping the below question timings in mind:

It isn’t a lot of time, so you need to be efficient if you want to get the best score possible.

Practice tests

One of the most important things that you can do when it comes to time management is to practice. If you become more skilled in answering the different types of questions that are in the UCAT, you will feel more confident and be able to move faster in the real thing.

There are lots of different practice tests and resources available on the official UCAT website, but if you want to maximize your chances then try answering the same types of questions from different test types - you can find practice tests based on generic verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning, logical reasoning, numerical reasoning, and situational judgment that might help you feel more confident too.

UCAT FAQs

What is a good UCAT score?

The UCAT scoring system changes every year, but as a guide, a good score is over 650. Below 610 is considered a low UCAT score and this may limit your university options.

Are UCAT tests hard?

The UCAT test is designed to be challenging. It identifies the most capable candidates to ensure a workforce of competent and capable doctors and dentists. However, plenty of practice and preparation gives you a higher chance of success.

How long is UCAT valid?

The UCAT is only valid for one year. If your test result expires, you will be required to sit the exam again the following year if you wish to apply to university.

Can you take both UCAT and BMAT?

It is possible to sit both tests but you probably won’t need to. Universities specify which exam they prefer, so check with your chosen universities before deciding which to take.

Sample UCAT Tests question Test your knowledge!

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Reviews of our UKCAT tests

What our customers say about our UKCAT tests

  • Rwanda

    August 13, 2023

    It requires cognitive thinking

    A person whose decisions are made impulsively can not make any positive results so it is better first to try deepen every question, list any feasible idea related to positive result , decide which is better among those outlined alternatives . Explore any relationships among them.

  • United Kingdom

    September 13, 2022

    First test

    I thought most of the questions were straightforward and the patterns were easy to spot. The last question was a bit harder and while I spotted most of the patterns, I couldn't seem to find out the pattern for the quarter circle.

  • Spain

    October 30, 2021

    Trying to answer all the questions

    Even without stopping many times in each question, I'm not able to finish all the questions in time. Eighty seconds each.

  • Rwanda

    October 14, 2021

    Know the answers and the purpose of this test

    What I like in this test is that it helps me to use my head deeply as it needs to be more focused on it; it can help someone to open his or her brain. What I dislike in this test is that the answers are complicated.

  • India

    August 27, 2021

    Most relevant options must be segregated and then individually assessed.

    It was very much a replica of the original abstract reasoning. Found it very much challenging and difficult, what I expected.

  • United Kingdom

    August 09, 2021

    Proper practice

    I found it interesting due to the challenge of abstract reasoning, but the long time slot helped a lot.

  • Sri Lanka

    June 05, 2021

    My results

    It was a good test overall but could have included questions which are more than just patterns and sequences

  • India

    May 28, 2021

    Helpful

    It was helpful but i think more questions are needed. Atleast 20 questions should be present in a test

  • United Kingdom

    May 27, 2021

    good!

    I enjoyed it. It was simple and challenging. Would recommend. Thank you !

  • India

    May 25, 2021

    Good

    Liked the difficulty level, needed more variety than visual spatial problems