The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) has four different types of ‘test versions’ as well as special arrangements to enable people to fulfil their potential in the UCAT and remove accessibility barriers. These are options are usually referred to generally as ‘UCATSEN’. You must apply for such arrangements ahead of your test date.
All four types of ‘test versions’ require approval and it is recommended that you apply before booking your test. You must have received approval prior to your testing date. If you choose to sit your test without approval, you will not be permitted to access an alternative ‘test version’ and mitigating/extenuating circumstances will not be granted. Approvals for access arrangements are only valid for that year. Therefore, if you choose to sit the UCAT a second time the following year, you will need to reapply for your alternative arrangements to the UCAT office.
Usually, if you are allowed extra time or other specific special arrangements for your school examinations then you will be entitled to the same (or similar) arrangements to sit the UCAT. However, this is subject to the approval of your application as outlined in more detail below. Please note, UCAT is also unable to accommodate some arrangements at their test centres and other arrangements are not relevant as the test must be taken on a computer.
There are four test versions which include extra time, rest breaks or a combination of the two. It is important to note, like in the standard UCAT, the sections will count down automatically in all four of these test versions. As soon as the time has expired, you will need to click the notification that appears on the screen and proceed to the next section. If you do not, your time for the next section will still start and you will lose time for that section.
UCATSEN entitles you to 25% extra time. This means that you will have 150 minutes (2.5 hours) to complete the test. Your UCATSEN time for each section is outlined in the table below. You will be given 1 minute and 15 seconds in between each section which is the ‘instruction section’.
|Verbal Reasoning||26 minutes 15 seconds|
|Decision Making||38 minutes 45 seconds|
|Quantitative Reasoning||30 minutes|
|Abstract Reasoning||16 minutes 15 seconds|
|Situational Judgement||32 minutes 30 seconds|
The test version called UCATSA uses the same test time as the standard UCAT, but allows 5-minute rest breaks for sections. Therefore, in this test version, your instruction section will give you 5 minutes before each section instead of automatically starting your test section after one minute. Your total test time will be 140 minutes (2 hours and 20 minutes).
For a combination of extra time and rest breaks, you will need to apply for UCATSENSA. This test version gives both 25% extra time and 5 minute rest breaks before sections. The timings are therefore the same as UCATSEN and you get the same 5-minute introduction that you do in UCATSA. The total test time is therefore 168 minutes and 45 seconds (2 hours 48 minutes and 45 seconds).
The final type of test version is UCATSEN50. This works the same as UCATSEN, except you get 50% extra time. This means that you will have 180 minutes (3 hours) to complete the test. Your UCATSEN50 time for each section is outlined below. You will be given 1 minute and 30 seconds in between each section which is the ‘instruction section’.
|Verbal Reasoning||31 minutes and 30 seconds|
|Decision Making||46 minutes and 30 seconds|
|Quantitative Reasoning||36 minutes|
|Abstract Reasoning||19 minutes and 30 seconds|
|Situational Judgement||39 minutes|
In order to sit any of the four test versions, UCATSEN, UCATSA, UCATSENSA or UCATSEN50, you must obtain approval. It is also possible to seek approval for a couple of other types of special arrangements. The first is to sit your test in a separate room. The test is already done in a small testing room, with around 15 candidates, so if you require this arrangement you must show that you specifically require an individual room. The other type of special arrangement enables you to access food/drink at your workstation that is not already permitted for standard UCAT test-takers. You can also request access to medical times and will be given a separate room.
You may be used to other arrangements during your exams. UCAT specifies that the use of a scribe, a paper version of the test, a reader or computer reader, and/or unlimited ‘stop the clock’ or ‘on request’ breaks will not be permitted for any reason.
You may be entitled to one of the above test versions or special arrangements if you have cognition and learning needs, communication and interaction needs, sensory and physical needs or social, mental and emotional needs. This could include:
If you are experiencing difficulties that are related to handwriting (the test is on a computer) or English not being your first language, you will not be allowed extra time. If you have personal circumstances, short-term illness or another specific situation that you feel is a mitigating circumstance that will affect your ability to sit the test you will need to contact the UCAT office for advice.
In order to apply and access special arrangements or test versions, you must first register on the UCAT website. Once you are registered, you will be required to complete an Access Arrangements Application and supply support evidence to your application. In order to complete this, you will be required to include your candidate ID which will have been assigned to you at registration. You must only submit one application. Applications for access arrangements close at midday on September 17th, 2020.
Applications can take up to five working days to process and therefore UCAT recommends that you apply at least ten working days before you wish to take UCATSEN. UCAT will respond to your application via email (keep an eye on your spam folder!) and, therefore, if you have not heard from them within five working days, it is recommended that you contact the UCAT office to see how your application is progressing.
You will be unable to book UCATSA, UCATSENSA and UCATSEN50 until you have been granted approval for your access arrangements. However, for those wanting 25% extra time only, before you are granted approval, you are able to book UCATSEN. Yet, it is strongly recommended that you obtain confirmation before sitting your test. UCAT is clear to say that, if you have not been given the approval to sit UCATSEN prior to the deadline, your chosen universities will be told that they cannot confirm whether or not you are entitled to extra time which may risk your result not being accepted.
If you do not apply for access arrangements in good time, being granted approval of your application is not a guarantee that you will be able to sit your test with those arrangements. There may be limited test slot availability that means that UCAT is unable to accommodate your arrangements. In order to avoid this, ensure that you apply for access arrangements as early as you can and book your preferred test date, with your access arrangements, as early as possible too.
As part of your application for access arrangements, you will be required to submit supporting evidence. This will need to be a recent, signed letter on headed paper from your school, college or university. The letter must explicitly state the arrangements that you are entitled to for your examinations. This could include the amount of extra time that you are entitled to in your public examinations (such as 25%), the amount of time for any rest breaks you may have and/or any other arrangements. The letter must also state the reason that these arrangements have been put in place, such as the diagnosis you have received from a medical professional, an assessment by a specialist teacher or educational psychologist.
In some circumstances, if you are unable to provide a letter from your school as specified above, UCAT may accept other forms of evidence. This could include:
Some access arrangements do not require support evidence or approval. These are subject to availability at the test centre and must be arranged at least five working days in advance of your test date. These arrangements may include wheelchair access, a desk with an adjustable height, changes to the colour scheme and/or font size of the test and coloured overlays (that you, as the candidate, must supply). In order to arrange any of these accommodations, you must phone Pearson VUE Customer Services on +44 (0) 161 855 7409. If you require a colour scheme or font size arrangements, there are many different options available to you.
At the start of your exam, you will be able to select the colour scheme that you prefer:
You will be able to alter this throughout the exam using the dropdown menu at the top right-hand side of the screen. Please note, that there are limitations on what the colour scheme can change because of the way the UCAT test is set up. Images used in the UCAT will not change colour and generally present as black and white, affecting Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Decision Making. The calculator will also not change colour and the yes/no drag and drop answers, used in the conclusion drawing questions of the decision making section will also remain black on white. Situational Judgement and Verbal Reasoning do not use images and so these sections should not be impacted by this.
Like the colour schemes, if you have arranged to use different font size options you will be able to select a preferred size at the start of the test and can alter this during the exam. There is a dropdown menu at the top right-hand side of the screen. The standard font in the test is Arial, 11pt. You are able to choose from 125%, 150% or 175% increase. Again, due to the way in which the UCAT is designed, there are some limitations to the font size increase. The calculator will not increase in size and images may not appear in good resolution. The magnification of the questions will also usually mean that the images do not fit within the screen and that you will need to scroll down in order to see everything. You may also have to scroll up and down between the image and the question.
To view screenshots of how the test will appear for either increased font size or alternative colour schemes, please go to the bottom of this document by UCAT.
Other arrangements can be made too that do not require approval or pre-booking. These are referred to as ‘comfort aids’ and included some medicines, medical devices and mobility devices. These include EpiPens, joint supporters/braces, plaster casts or slings, cough drops, inhaler, insulin pump, medical footstool, oxygen tank, canes, pillow/cushion and walker. Arrangements do not need to be made in advance and they will be subject to a visual check upon arrival at the test room. For full list of approved comfort aids click here. If you require tissues or earplugs, these must be provided by the test centre and can be requested upon arrival.
If you arrive at the test centre with an item that is not approved, you will need to use the lockers provided to store the item(s) and will only be permitted to use them outside of the testing room. If the test has begun and you require the item, your time will continue to run as you cannot pause the test, and you will lose time. If you wish to do this, you must inform the invigilator by raising your hand. UCAT advises that candidates take any breaks they require in between the subtests/sections, if possible, as this will reduce the impact upon your test time.
If you find that for some reason you access arrangements cannot be met, UCAT encourages candidates to still register and complete the Access Arrangements Application as well as supply the required support evidence. UCAT states that they will still assess your application and advise on the best way forward.
Details about your medical condition(s), special needs or disability remain confidential and not passed on to your University by UCAT. In addition, UCAT does not inform any universities on which form of test you sat, only of your result. Therefore, your university will not know if, for example, you sat UCATSEN and had 25% extra time. They will only be given your result.
However, medical and dental schools do encourage their students, and potential-students, to declare any disabilities or medical conditions to them as early on during the application process as possible. This enables them to support you as best as possible.
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The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a widely recognised exam used by medical schools, as a tool to assess candidates applying to study medicine.
We at theMSAG recognise that the application process can be extremely stressful, so we have collected all the information you are going to need to complete your registration for the UCAT, should you be planning to sit the exam in time for the 2020/21 medicine application cycle.
We have compiled a list of all important UCAS test dates in 2019 that candidates taking the UCAT should be aware of, so have a read below and make sure you mark them in your calendar!
So, this blog will focus on how are UCAT scores used by different medical schools!