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Welcome to UK Clinical Aptitude TestWhat is the UKCAT?
Most UK universities require applicants to medicine and dentistry courses to sit an admissions test in addition to their other entry requirements. The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is a test used in the selection process by the majority of UK University Medical and Dental Schools.
The UKCAT is a computer-based test which you will sit at a Pearson VUE test centre. It consists of 5 separately timed subtests which are designed to test the cognitive abilities, attitudes and professional behaviours considered to be valuable for healthcare professionals. It does not contain any curriculum or science content.
The test is used by universities to make more informed choices from amongst the many highly-qualified applicants to medical and dental programmes. It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as your UCAS application and academic qualifications.
If you are intending to apply to a UKCAT university in 2017 for entry in 2018 (or deferred entry in 2019) you must sit the test in the summer of 2017 between 3rd July and 3rd October 2017. Each year approximately 24,000 candidates sit the UKCAT at test locations across the world.
Who needs to sit the UKCAT?
The UKCAT is a compulsory entry requirement for our Consortium Universities. You can check the link below for a current list of all universities and courses requiring the UKCAT.
You should always check the entry requirements for each course before booking a test. Some universities may have different requirements for overseas or graduate applicants.
If you are applying for entry in 2018 (or deferred entry in 2019) you need to sit the test by 3rd October 2017.
Other things to be aware of
UKCAT results cannot be carried over from one year to the next.
There are no general exemptions from the test. If you believe you may be unable to sit the UKCAT in 2017 you should see the Access Arrangements page of the UKCAT website for further guidance.
You may only take the test once in any test cycle and any instances of multiple testing in the same year will be treated as an example of unprofessional behaviour.
The structure of the test
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. The test is made up of 5 sub-tests; each subtest is in a multiple-choice format and is separately timed.
There are 4 cognitive subtests (Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning & Abstract Reasoning) and a 5th test of Situational Judgement.
Verbal Reasoning (44 questions, 22 minutes)
Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information that is presented in a written form
Decision Making (29 questions, 32 minutes)
Assesses the ability to apply logic to reach a decision or conclusion, evaluate arguments and analyse statistical information
Quantitative Reasoning (36 questions, 25 minutes)
Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form
Abstract Reasoning (55 questions, 14 minutes)
Assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information
Situational Judgement (68 questions, 27 minutes)
Measures the capacity to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them
Candidates requiring access arrangements
There are two versions of UKCAT: the standard UKCAT and the UKCATSEN (Special Educational Needs) which is intended for candidates who require additional time due to a documented medical condition or disability.
UKCAT marking and scores
Cognitive subtests are marked on the number of correct answers a candidate gives with a range of between 300 to 900 for each subtest.
A total score is generated by summing the individual scores of the four cognitive sections (Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning & Abrstract Reasoning). The total score ranges from 1200 to 3600.
Within the Situational Judgement test, full marks are awarded for a correct answer and partial marks awarded if the response is close to the correct answer. Scores are expressed in one of four bands, with band 1 being the highest and band 4 the lowest.
Universities use the UKCAT score in different ways (some may have a threshold score that candidates have to achieve in order to be considered further in their admission processes, whilst for others it may be a less significant factor or only used in marginal situations). Our Universities provide information regarding how they use the test in their admissions process on their individual websites. You should review this information for the universities you are considering applying to.
How to prepare
The UKCAT is an important test and we recommend that you prepare by using the free resources available in the Candidate Preparation Toolkit provided on the UKCAT website. This has been developed so that you have everything you need to support your preparation, including an Official Guide, a Question Tutorial, an App and 3 free fully timed Practice Tests which mimic the live test environment.
You can also use the Preparation Plan to organise a sensible schedule for preparing for your test, and read plenty of advice from past high scoring candidates.
Test Fee & Bursaries
The following test fees apply in 2017:
Tests taken in the EU between 3 July and 31 August 2016 = £65
Tests taken in the EU between 1 September and 3 October 2017 = £85
Tests taken outside the EU = £115
There is no difference in content between the UKCAT sat during the summer or autumn period. The increased price reflects demand on resources at particular times of the year. We recommend that you sit the test during the summer period and pay the lower test fee.
Bursaries to cover the full test fee are available to UK and EU candidates in financial need who meet the specified criteria.
Where can I sit the test?
The UKCAT is conducted entirely in English and is administered on a computer by Pearson VUE at over 150 UK authorised test centres and in over 100 countries worldwide.
You should use the Test Centre Locator on the UKCAT website to find your nearest centre.
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What date is the test?
The test does not take place on just one day. Testing is open from 3 July 2017 until 3 October 2017. You can register online and book your test date any time from 2 May 2017.
Deadlines for registration and booking are on the UKCAT website.
We strongly recommend that you register and sit the test at your earliest convenience to ensure places are available at a local test centre. Each year there are candidates who book a late test and encounter problems when they fall ill or experience other issues preventing them from taking that testing slot. This can be avoided by booking to take the test early.
What’s a good score?
There is no pass or fail for the UKCAT. However, different universities may use your results in different ways depending on their entry requirements. See ‘What score do universities look for?’
The average score in 2015 was 2531 (2016 score not quoted as this was a pilot year for Decision Making therefore scores were not representative of standard years).
Interim score statistics will be issued in late September 2017 and final test statistics in early October 2017. If following testing, candidates are unsure about how they have performed in relation to other candidates they may wish to wait until they have had sight of these final scores before submitting their UCAS application.
What score do universities look for?
This is an impossible question to answer as Universities use the UKCAT score in many different ways. Some may have a threshold score that candidates have to achieve in order to be considered further in their admission processes, whilst for others it may be a less significant factor or only used in marginal situations.
All consortium Universities provide information on how they use the test in their admissions process on their individual websites. Candidates should review this information carefully for the universities they are considering applying to, and use this to inform their final decision on where to apply once they know their UKCAT score.
Can you revise for the UKCAT?
The UKCAT is a test of aptitude rather than academic achievement. It does not draw on any particular body of knowledge that candidates can learn in advance. However, candidates do need to prepare for the test. A recent survey of high scoring candidates recommended between 25 – 30 hours of preparation time. Remember, you can only take the test once in any test cycle, so it’s important to be prepared.
You can familiarise yourself with the format of the questions by using the bank of free practice questions on the UKCAT website. It is then important to get to grips with the timing of the test - which many candidates say is the most challenging aspect. Again, fully timed practice tests are available for free on the UKCAT website, so it’s advisable to use them.
What revision materials do you recommend?
There are many commercial companies publishing books and offering coaching in the UKCAT. UKCAT does not work with any of these companies and we are concerned that taking advantage of these opportunities can cost candidates a great deal of money. We would advise you to be sceptical about claims they can help you do well in the test by coaching.
The 2012 UKCAT survey suggested that use of books relevant to the UKCAT was associated with higher overall test performance. These books may contain helpful strategies for candidates taking the test and include additional practice questions. However we do not endorse any specific books and candidates should make sure that any books they use are up to date and reflect the current test content. There is also lots of advice available for free on the web regarding approaches to the test and many sources of free practice questions. The Student Room is a good example of this.
Most importantly, use the free preparation materials and practice tests available on the UKCAT website.
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