Mr Gerens Curnow • July 22, 2019
Mr. Gerens Curnow is a Medical Student from the University of Exeter. He is the winner of the Educator Development Committee Award from the Association for the Study of Medical Education. He is the author of three of our Medical School Application Guidebooks
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.
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:
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!
|School||How the UCAT is used||Minimum score required for admission|
|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|
|Used only in borderline cases||Unknown|
Hull York Medical School
|Used pre-interview alongside other criteria||Unknown|
|Cut off (bottom 20% excluded||Previous minimum 2,280|
Kent and Medway Medical School
|Used alongside academic performance pre-interview||Unknown|
|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 email@example.com and we will be more than happy to help. Let us be your guide!
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