by Andres Mandol March 08, 2021 6 min read

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is one of the most commonly used assessment tools by medical schools in the UK in conjunction with your grades, personal statements and recommendations taken into account when deciding your suitability for a place in medicine. Preparing to sit the exam and practicing example questions is already incredibly time-consuming as it is, and it becomes even more stressful when you take into account having to keep track of all the administrative components on the side as well. It is of utmost importance that you stay on top of all these details, though, as the exam rules set by the UCAT Consortium are firm and do not allow for any exceptions. 

To ease out this stress and make sure that you have easy access to all crucial information relating to registering, booking and sitting the UCAT exam, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the rules surrounding booking and sitting the UCAT. 

When should I sit the UCAT?

If you wish to apply for medical school in 2022, you need to sit the UCAT during the 2021 application cycle. You will have a wide variety of dates to choose from when you can book the exam for, but you need to have sat it prior to submitting your application on UCAS and within the same year. So, if this is your second attempt at applying for medical school and you have already sat the UCAT once before, this score will not be taken into account and you would need to sit the test again. At the moment, according to the UCAT’s official website, the testing period begins on July 26, 2021 and ends on September 29, 2021. This gives you over two months of testing dates available to choose from at your convenience.

Can I sit the UCAT twice?

No, you are only allowed to sit the UCAT one time per application cycle. The UCAT differs from other assessment tests which may classify your score into a Pass or a Fail score, thus requiring you to take them again until a satisfactory result is achieved. UCAT, on the other hand, always provides you with a numerical score (and a band score for SJT), and the lowest possible score you could get is 1200. Remember that each numerically scored section of the UCAT awards you a minimum of 300 and a maximum of 900 points. As such, the exam does not differentiate between pass and fail scores, as many medical schools decide on cut-off marks for their selection process individually.

According to current regulations, for you this means that you will only be able to sit the UCAT exam once during an application cycle and will not have an opportunity to retest if you are unhappy with your score. According to the officialUCAT Consortium Test Centre Exam Rules, attempting to sit the exam twice in the same application cycle would be considered unprofessional behaviour and the candidate’s results would be withdrawn. This is why you should consider what the best date for you to sit the exam is to ensure the best performance.

When can I register for the UCAT?

You need to register for the UCAT first before you will be able to book a testing date and sit it. Registration opens at 9am on June 2, 2021 and stays open all the way until 12pm on September 22, 2021. This means that you have plenty of opportunity to register for the exam later on if you don’t plan to sit it at the beginning of summer. However, we still recommend that you register early, as that would give you much more in the way of testing day options, should you change your mind. 

Also remember that if you fail to register by the deadline provided, you will not be able to take the UCAT in this application cycle.  This rule allows no exceptions. 

Another important note regarding registration for the UCAT is that it must be done personally. Whilst some schools and colleges provide institutional registration for UCAS, which might mislead you into anticipating a similar algorithm for the UCAT registration, this is not the case. The UCAT Consortium does not allow institutional registration on behalf of students, so it is your responsibility to ensure that you have personally registered to sit the test. 

How do I register for the UCAT?

Registration can be accessed through the officialUCAT Registration 2021 webpage, at which point you will need to create an account. If this is not your first time sitting the exam, you will need to use your existing account to complete your registration. You will need to register with your legal name as it appears on a photo ID that you intend to present on test day and that is something that you will need to bear in mind throughout the entire application process, as being able to sit the exam may be contingent on the accuracy of your registration.

Once you have completed your application, you will then receive a confirmation email with a password that will grant you access to your new Pearson VUE account. This will allow you to book a test day once booking has opened and it is important that you keep this email safe. If no such email arrives, make sure to contactPearson VUE Customer Services in due time to ensure you can book your test date on time.

When can I book a UCAT test date?

We have already mentioned that testing dates begin on July 26 for the 2021 application cycle, which means that booking opportunities begin slightly earlier to ensure enough time for preparation. Booking for UCAT 2021 thus begins at 9am on the 28th of June, allowing you at least a month between booking a test and the first possible testing date. Booking stays open all the way through 12pm on the 22nd of September for web booking and 12pm on the 28th of September for bookings done over the phone, with a last testing date on the 29th of September. This allows you plenty of time to choose from and book early a testing date that suits your needs best. 

How do I book a UCAT test date?

Depending on your preference, you can book a UCAT test date either through the account you will have opened upon registration for the UCAT or by calling Pearson VUE Customer Services. You will have the opportunity to register for either the standard UCAT or an extended time version of the exam, but it is your responsibility to book the correct version. If you are eligible to sit an extended version of the test, you will have to receive an approval as such, which needs to be done prior to booking your UCAT test date. This is why planning early is so crucial in order to ensure that you don’t miss out on important dates and aspects of the exam. 

Once you have chosen your test date and initiated the booking process, you will be required to pay for the exam prior to receiving your confirmation. For any rescheduling or cancellations of the test date after online booking closes, you will need to get in touch with Pearson VUE Customer Services to arrange these.

We hope that this has been helpful and informative information regarding your next steps in securing a UCAT test date together with all detailed rules outlined by the UCAT Consortium. Make sure you have read through all of these carefully and noted any extra requirements you might have, such as extended time allowance or a bursary application, as these have separate rules and regulations you will need to follow. Once you have completed all the necessary administrative steps in due time, you can focus solely on preparing for the UCAT and practicing example questions to ensure you do well on the day. We at theMSAG are here for you to support you from start to finish and have a variety of resources available to ensure your best performance on test day. 

Make sure you have familiarised yourself with ourUCAT live online course, which we currently offer weekly and which includes 15 hours of live online teaching by successful medical students and doctors who have sat the UCAT, access to a question bank with over 3000 further practice questions with answers and explanations, access to more than 7 hours of further interactive UCAT video teachings on demand and continuous support by our team throughout your entire preparation journey all the way up to your test date. This course has been designed with your needs in mind and is currently available as a weekday course from Monday to Friday as 3 hours daily of teaching or as a weekend course of 7.5 hours each on Saturday and Sunday. For more information on all our available resources or any other questions and concerns regarding your medical school application, do not hesitate to contact us athello@themsag.com.
Andres Mandol
Andres Mandol


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