Miss Giulia Bankov • April 19, 2019
Giulia is a graduate medical student at the University of Glasgow. She previously studied Neuroscience at King's College London and completed her Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology degree at the University of Amsterdam
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is an exam offered by Pearson Vue and has become a requirement for the vast majority of medical and dental schools in the UK and abroad. It includes five cognitive subtests, which are Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning,Decision Making andSituational Judgement Test. Each year thousands of students sit the UCAT test, hoping for a high UCAT/UKCAT score and a subsequent medical school offer. What is a good UCAT score for medical school is an often asked question that applicants worry about a lot, so we have put together a quick guide to help you out navigating what the scores mean and what your options are, depending on your score.
Not all schools use the UCAT
When you are selecting which medical schools you want to apply to, make sure that you thoroughly check their selection criteria, which are usually stated on their websites or is information available upon request to their Admissions Office. Some schools use a scoring system that uses all components of your application (that is, grades, personal statement, UCAT score and letter of recommendation) equally, then rank all applications and use a cut off score to decide which applicants will be invited to interview.
Other schools, however, are more selective in the components they pick and only use the UCAT score in inviting applicants to interview or don’t use it altogether and focus only on the personal statements. You can see how in these terms, what a good UCAT score is becomes very relative. If the schools you are interested in don’t look at the UCAT at all prior to interview, then it would hardly matter what your score is.
Equally if you focus on schools that only look at the UCAT in order to decide whether to invite you to an interview or not, you would probably want to be high up in the 10th-20th percentile of applicants to ensure you get that invitation. Things are somewhere in the middle for schools that evaluate all application components equally and an above average UCAT score will probably be expected there.
So what IS a good UCAT score?
Scores below 650
These are generally considered low scores and if your average score is below 650 (across all four components that are scored out of 900, which is all apart from Situational Judgement), you should probably focus on applying to schools that do not weigh the UCAT as heavily as other components of your application. You can still write a brilliant personal statement and if your grades and letter of recommendation are strong enough, being strategic with your choices and doing your research into medical school requirements before hand, might still get you some good interview invitations.
Scores between 650-750
A UCAT score above 650 is considered above average, so a few more doors will be open for you if you score within this range. However, bear in mind that while more medical schools will be an option for you with a score above average, a lot of the applicants who will be applying to those schools might have scores well above 750 as well.
For that reason, the schools that we discussed earlier, which assess each of the components of your application more or less equally, are a good option for a score in this range. That way, even if you are up against people with scores well above the average, you are still going to be assessed on other components too, such as your grades and your personal statement, which will boost your application even more and will help you out even if other people out there have higher UCAT scores.
Furthermore bear in mind that even within this narrow range, there is still a difference between a score between 650-700 and 700-750. While the former is in fact an above average score, the latter is a lot closer to an excellent score and your application might be viewed more favourably.
Scores above 750
If you score above 750 on the UCAT, you have truly achieved an excellent score! A lot of opportunities stand in front of you in terms of schools you will be sending your application to. But please note, even in this range, you still need to be strategic in your choices. While a score in this range definitely opens a lot of doors, you can imagine that you will stand a better chance applying to schools that place a greater weight on the UCAT than they do on the rest of the application components. Especially if other parts of your application are not as strong, and perhaps you didn’t do as well in your A levels, you are better off betting on this high score and going for schools that will mostly look at it.
Even with an amazing UCAT score, if the rest of your application is not as strong, applying to schools that view all components equally, you might still lose your spot to someone with a slightly lower UCAT but a more holistic application with above average but equally strong application components. So be smart and strategic and use your strengths to make an informed choice when it comes to picking schools.
We hope this blog post was helpful and informative. Good luck at your exam and if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact us on hello@theMSAG.com