Where to apply with an average UCAT score


As all medical applicants in the UK will know, there is a great number of criteria that medical schools can use when assessing an application. From the personal statement and work experience through to academic performance, every school will examine their own unique combination of attributes when deciding who to admit to their school. 

One of the key elements of the application process in almost all UK medical school programmes is the aptitude test. These form a key part of the medical admissions process in schools in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, so it is vital that you are aware of which test each school uses, how they use it, and what they consider to be a "high score". 


The most commonly used test used in the UK is the University Clinical Aptitude Test, or UCAT (note that this was previously called the UKCAT, but the UKCAT score is now known as the UCAT score). Given its importance, we at theMSAG have created avast resource to help prepare you to sit this exam, including online courses, tutoring, and practice tests, so head over there once you've read this blog if you are yet to sit your test!

But what if you have already got your results? Well once you have left the test centre with your piece of paper listing your scores, the first thing you might be wondering is "well, how well have I done?!" The scoring system for the UCAT is complex, but in short, each section is scored from 300 to 900, except the SJT section, which is scored from 1-4. How each school use these scores varies, as does the performance of candidates each year, but for the last two years, the overall average score has been around 620-635 (note that the 2019 results have not yet been released). 

If you are one of the high-fliers and have achieved a score of 670+, we have released ablog poston your best options in terms of universities to apply to. But what should you do if you have achieved a more average UCAT score, say 620-670 average? In this blog post we will talk through the best options for you. 


Which schools use the UCAT?

The first place to start when thinking about how this score will impact your chances at each school is to examine which schools actually use the UCAT in their admissions process. These schools are:

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Aston University
  • Bart's and the London
  • Cardiff University
  • Edge Hill University
  • Hull York Medical School
  • Keele University
  • Kent and Medway Medical School
  • Newcastle University
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • St George’s University of London
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Dundee
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Sunderland
  • King’s College London
It is important to note, however, that not all of these schools will be applicable to someone with an average score. Any school that places a lot of weight on the UCAT score may find that an applicant with a score in the 620-640 range may not score highly enough to secure an interview. For instance, the previous minimum score required by the University of Bristol to secure an interview was 660, so an average score won't cut the mustard here! It is also important to note that schools will use the UCAT score in different ways. While some will set a cut-off score each year, others will take a more holistic where the UCAT score is combined with other criteria, such as the academic performance of the cohort, when making decisions. 

So, where would be best for someone with an average score? The following table gives you information on the best schools for someone with an average score to apply to, in order to maximise your chances of success! Remember, though, that the UCAT isn't the only test used in the UK! We will be releasing guidance on the BMAT exam soon so watch this space!

Schools for the Average UKCAT/UCAT scorer

School How the UCAT is used  Minimum score required for admission

Aston University

UCAT scores are combined with academic achievements in shortlisting for interview, and are used again when deciding who to offer places to. Unknown

Bart's and the London

50/50 weighting with academic achievement for interview shortlisting Previous minimum 2,380

Cardiff University

Used only in borderline cases Unknown

Hull York Medical School

Used pre-interview alongside other criteria Unknown

Keele University

Cut off (bottom 20% excluded Previous minimum 2,280

Kent and Medway Medical School

Used alongside academic performance pre-interview Unknown

Newcastle University

Cut-off used pre-interview Previous minimum 2,580
Queen’s University Belfast Scored alongside GCSE's QUB have not released the previous minimum score accepted. However, they have reported a combined score of 30 points required to secure an interview, with 36 points available from GCSE results and 6 available from the UCAT. This implies that even a very low score could be compensated for by a high GCSE performance
St George’s University of London Cut-off used pre-interview Previous minimum 2,590
University of Aberdeen Combined with academic score for ranking Previous lowest score interviewed 2,380
University of Birmingham Combined with academic score for ranking (Academic 70%, UCAT 30%) Unknown
University of Dundee Weighted alongside academic requirements 2,270 (Rest of UK applicant)
University of Exeter Only used in borderline cases Previous candidate with 1,940 secured an offer
University of Glasgow Cut-off used pre-interview Previous cut-off's have ranged from 2,460-2,680
University of Leicester Combined with GCSE's when ranking applicants (50/50) Previous minimum accepted unknown. However, if the maximum 32 points are gained from academic performance, then based on previous score requirements, a UCAT of 2,100 would be sufficient
University of Liverpool Considered alongside GCSE's, A-levels, Personal statement etc Previous cut-off 2,460
University of Plymouth Cut-off used pre-interview Previous cut-off 2,330
University of Sheffield Cut-off used each year Previous cut-off 2,470
University of Southampton Cut-off used pre-interview Previous cut-off 2,420
University of St Andrews Holistically assessed alongside academic and non-academic attributes Previous lowest score for an offer holder 2,440
University of Sunderland The UKCAT is used holistically, in combination with the Roles and Responsibilities form and academic achievement Unknown

As you can see, there are a great many options for people who have performed averagely on the UCAT and wish to study Medicine at a school that requires this test. Many schools will interview applicants with even below-average scores, provided the rest of their application is of a high enough quality. Some, such as Exeter, will only consider the UCAT in borderline cases, making these particularly appealing if your score isn’t enough to make you stand out.

As mentioned earlier, theMSAG has a wide array of resources to guide you in improving your UCAT score, so if this is something you might be interested in, either in this cycle or the next, visitour UCAT page!

We hope this post will have been of use to you, and if you have any queries about the UCAT or want to discuss things further, drop us an email at hello@themsag.com and we will be more than happy to help. Let us be your guide!

Disclaimer: While we have done our best to ensure that all of this data is up to date, the nature of the admissions process means that changes are always a possibility. This data was largely collected in January 2018, and was updated in July 2019. As always, we advise all candidates to verify this information before applying!


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