What is the UCAT?
There has been a widespread feeling for some time amongst those involved in admissions to medical and dental schools that A-levels were failing to discriminate between candidates at the upper end of the scale of academic ability. The UCAT (formerly UKCAT) was conceived to improve the fairness and objectivity of the admissions process for medicine and dentistry. The test offers universities the ability to select students on the basis of characteristics relevant to success in their chosen profession. The test also offers the significant advantage of helping widen access by identifying academic potential in applicants from less-advantaged educational backgrounds.
The test assesses a range of mental abilities identified by university medical and dental schools as important. There is no curriculum content as the test examines innate skills. Each subtest is in a multiple-choice format and is separately timed.
For candidates sitting the examination in summer 2019, the UCAT will consist
- Verbal reasoning - assesses ability to critically evaluate information that is presented in a written form.
- Quantitative reasoning - assesses ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form.
- Abstract reasoning - assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information.
- Decision making - assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information.
- Situational judgement test - measures capacity to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.
How we use UCAT scores
Candidates' UCAT scores are considered in our selection for interview but are not the sole indicator for selection. They are considered alongside actual and predicted academic achievement in deciding who will be selected for interview. A minimum UCAT cut-off score is NOT used. A score is allocated based on the applicant's overall performance in UCAT compared with all other applicants to Aberdeen (Academic - 60%, UCAT - 40%).
In Aberdeen we will allocate a score based on the total numerical score from the four subtests: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, decisiong making and abstract reasoning. The SJT will not be scored, but it may be used in offer making when there are candidates with similar scores.
Applicants to Aberdeen offer a broad range of UCAT scores. For 2016 entry:
- Applicants: the lowest total score for an applicant was 1580 and the highest 3140. The average score for all applications was 2430.
- Interview: the lowest total score for applicants who were invited to interview was 2240 and the highest 3140.
- Offers made: the lowest total score for successful applicants who were made offers was 2320 and the highest 2850.
We do not endorse any commercially available preparatory course or material for the UCAT. The test is designed to be a test of aptitude rather than academic achievement and does not draw on any particular body of knowledge or curriculum that you can learn in advance.
We would however encourage candidates to practise answering the types of questions that will be presented in the UCAT and to familiarise themselves with the test format so that they know how to navigate through the test. In taking this approach candidates will become familiar with the different types of questions and in particular understand the time restrictions imposed within the test.
On the UCAT website, you will can access a practice tests, download the UCAT Official Guide and find out more information about the new UCAT Practice App. The following video are also available:
- As the UCAT is an entry requirement for Dentistry at Aberdeen, all applicants to Aberdeen must complete the UCAT by the appropriate closing date for that year's entry.
- Applicants for deferred entry must complete UCAT in the summer of the year of application.
- Candidates who reapply must undertake the UCAT in the summer of each individual year of application.
- Applicants should ensure that they register early for a test as being unable to gain a test sitting will not be accepted as an extenuating circumstance for non-completion of the test.
- Information about the key dates for taking the test can be seen online.
By presenting yourself at the UCAT test centre, you are declaring yourself fit to take the test.
If you are not fit to take the test due to illness or other personal circumstances, you must reschedule your test to a later date, even if this means losing the test fee. Candidates who plan to take the test in the final weeks of testing but fall ill may not be able to reschedule within the test window. This is why UCAT recommend that candidates take the test early in the cycle. It is probable that universities will not consider such issues as mitigating circumstances.
If you are unable to sit the UCAT throughout the 2019 test cycle because of a significant or unforeseen medical or personal issue you must contact us to see whether they we are able consider your application without a UCAT result. We will require recent supporting medical evidence as part of that process.