by Dibah Jiva July 06, 2020 7 min read

If you are looking for important information on the UCAT ANZ for Australia and New Zealand, please see our blog here.

If you have decided you would like to apply to medical school or dental school, you are probably aware that you are likely going to have to sit the UCAT test, which is the most widely used aptitude test by medical and dental schools in the UK. Scoring well at the UCAT is an important component of success when applying to universities and it’s perfectly understandable if you want to focus on starting with practice tests straight away.

However, note that there are a few logistics surrounding the UCAT as well, such as registration and booking a test date that have pretty strict deadlines.

ucat-dates-2019-entry

Since the COVID-19 lockdown began, can you tell a Monday or a Saturday apart? To make it easier, we have compiled a list of all important UCAT test dates in 2020 that candidates taking the UCAT should be aware of. Make sure you mark them in your calendar. We monitor changes closely on the UCAT official website and by staying in touch with the medical schools

COVID-19 UCAT Booking update

The UCAT Consortium released a statement on the 1st June 2020, which stated that candidates will be able to take the 2020 UCAT either at home, or in a Pearson Vue test centre. This has been after a long period of monitoring the COVID-19 global situation, in continued conversation with the UK medical and dental schools.

UCAT registration and booking is now open.

Testing will begin later-than-usual this year on the 3rd August 2020, and the final test date is 1st October 2020. This is so that UCAT results can be given to applicants before the application deadline on 15th October 2020.

We are all familiar with the standard option of taking the UCAT in a PearsonVue test centre, however, with social distancing measures in place numbers will be limited and many candidates will prefer to take the UCAT at home.

The option to take the UCAT at home is done via an online proctor - which is like a virtual exam invigilator. PearsonVue has their own online proctor software - OnVue which you will download on the day of your UCAT if you opt to take it at home. It runs so that you cannot have another programme open at the same time on your home computer, to prevent cheating. Also, there will be an online proctor who watches you take the test, so you must make sure your computer has a webcam, microphone and your internet connection is good. You can run a system test of your computer’s set-up via the PearsonVue website.

One thing is for certain, the content of the UCAT remains the same, even though the set up for many test-takers may not. Read this blog to find out how we at the MSAG recommend preparing for your UCAT exam.

 

UCAT registration and booking

UCAT registration opened on 1st July 2020, having been delayed since COVID-19.

You will need to first register on the Pearson VUE online registration system and you need to do so by yourself - your school or college cannot do that for you. You will be asked to input simple information such as your name, address and contact details. Once you have registered an account through the system, you will then be prompted to book a test date.

The registration is scheduled to close17 September 2020 at midday. Even once the online registration is closed, you are still able to book a test date by phoning Pearson VUE. However, this is not recommended and test dates will be very limited. Registration via phone ends the same time that test booking ends - midday, 30 September 2020.

For more information on the registration process, look at our blog post on UCAT registration process in 2020.

UCAT test dates

The UCAT test dates for 2020 will be:

  • 3rd August 2020 to 1st October 2020.

UCAT 2020 fees

Depending on the test day you choose, the test fees might vary slightly. The prices for UCAT 2020 are the following:

  • UCAT tests taken in the UK and EU will be £75
  • UCAT tests outside of the EU will be £120

These prices may be subject to change as the official UCAT release further guidance of registration and booking before the 1st July.

Access arrangements and UCATSEN

For more information on UCATSEN and other exam types, check out our blog.

If you have a learning difficulty, you can apply for access arrangements. The purpose is to make sure every student can sit the test in optimal conditions to do well. The access arrangements can be a different test version to give you an extended time or it can be special arrangements such as a separate room, or access to medical items or food during the exam. If you have a specific medical condition such as diabetes, you can apply for this.

You can apply to sit the UCATSEN for example, if you are entitled to extra time, which will provide you with 25% extra time for the test. The deadline to apply for access arrangements is midday on September 17th, 2020, and it needs to be arranged at least 10 working days prior to the date you are sitting the UCAT.

There are other versions of the test that exist such as UCATSA, UCATSENSA, UCATSEN 50 and a number of access arrangements are available too. We make sure that our preparation material is inclusive for all. This is why we offer UCAT mock exams (included as part of our UCAT question bank access) that have a testing mode with UCAT, UCATSEN or UCATSEN50 timing.

ucas-deadlines

UCAT Bursary scheme

Students who are in financial need can apply for a bursary that will cover the UCAT fee. To be eligible for the bursary, you need to be able to meet one criterion from a list set by the UCAT Consortium. These include being a UK or EU candidate as well as meeting one of the following criteria:

  • Free school meals - funded by the local authority
  • 16 to 19 bursary (England), or Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) (Scotland, Wales or NI) - does not apply for independent or fee-paying schools
  • Learner support (FE19*) or equivalent FE funding for Scotland, Wales or NI
  • Student Finance England Maintenance Grant or Maintenance Loan* (full-rate), or Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) Young Students’/Independent Students’ Bursary (full-rate), or Student Finance Wales or Northern Ireland Maintenance Grant (full-rate)
  • Income Support, or Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA), or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • Working or Child Tax Credit
  • EU State Benefit
  • Asylum Support

As part of our strong ethos of widening access to all students, we provide access to our online UCAT course for free to all students who meet the criteria above and who are intending to apply to medical school or dental school in UK universities in the 2020-2021 application cycle. If you qualify, please send your request with supporting evidence to finance@themsag.com

UCAS deadline

Once you have sat the UCAT, you need to finish the rest of your application such as your personal statement, a letter of recommendation and ensuring your school or university grades are available to be submitted.

You will then have to upload all required information on UCAS with a deadline to submit your application for Medicine and Dentistry by October 15, 2020. You can wait until the 15th October to submit your full UCAS but most schools in the UK have an internal deadline for the completion of the personal statement. This means that you may have to submit it as early as the third week of September.

It is also a good idea to get a review of your personal statement. The purpose of the personal statement review is to check for grammar, structure, style, content and assess it against the marking schemes of the universities you are applying to.

Your UCAS personal statement should not be just a collection of what you have done, but rather an interesting reflective piece. It is thus best to have the end of August or mid-September as your internal deadline to finish your personal statement. That leaves plenty of time for a personal statement review and to meet your teachers’ deadlines as well.

You do not need to worry about sending your UCAT score to the universities of your choice, as that will be automatically done for you. The UCAT official website has provided early November as the time they would usually send off your UCAT scores.

In 2019, the first interview offers were sent out as early as the 11th of November. So once you have submitted your UCAS application, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief and relax - you have done all required steps in the first part of the selection process and now have got a little bit of spare time to enjoy, before the next part begins - receiving an interview invitation and preparing for it.

We are the leading provider of medical school interview preparation in the UK, offering many elements of interview preparation, not offered by any other companies:
  • We have been collecting past questions from Medical and Dental schools over the past 7 years. We use these questions to tailor the preparation of each applicant. Many questions stay the same so on average, a student tells us that at least 3 questions or sometimes up to 6+ they get are exactly the ones we prepared with them.
  • Our trainers are current or past interviewers at medical school, mainly doctors and some senior medical students who are in interview circuits/panels. 
  • We have lots of digital interview preparation material available. You can start easily with our free, award-winning, online interview course and take it from there. We recommend booking the interview course early in your preparation and an MMI circuit closer to your interview date.
 
Here is a summary of all the important test dates, as per the UCAT’s official website information.

Registration and booking opens

1st July 2020

Bursary scheme opens

1st July 2020

Testing starts

3rd August 2020

Registration and online booking closes

17 September 2020 (midday)

Access arrangements / UCATSEN application deadline

17 September 2020 (midday)

Final booking deadline

30 September 2020 (midday)

Bursary deadline

1st October 2020, 4pm

Last testing date

1st October 2020

UCAS application deadline

15 October 2020

Results delivered to universities

Early November 2020

Note that the dates listed above relate to the UCAT as administered in the UK for UK medical and dental schools. For important dates relating to UCAT ANZ, for those applying to universities in Australia and New Zealand you can read our blog about the UCAT ANZ important dates.

 

We hope these important UCAT Dates are helpful in preparing for you exam. Don’t forget that if you have any questions about the UCAT test or medical schools in general, you can send us an email at hello@theMSAG.com

Additional resources with helpful UCAT techniques:

Dibah Jiva
Dibah Jiva

Dr Dibah Jiva is the Founder & CEO of the Medical School Application Guide (theMSAG). She attended the University of Nottingham Medical School. She has personally helped >500 families get students into medical school and has consulted for medical school applications for the past 12 years. 


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