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The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is a standardized admissions test used by universities to assess the aptitude and skills of prospective students. It consists of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Situational Judgement.

A good UCAT score is an essential factor for students aspiring to pursue medicine or dentistry in the United Kingdom, or in Australia (UCAT ANZ).

The question of what constitutes a good UCAT score does not have a straightforward answer, as it depends on various factors, including competition for places and the specific requirements of each university.

In general, a good score is considered higher than the average score achieved by applicants.

As of the latest UCAT test statistics, the average score across all sections in 2022 was around 625 (5th decile).

However, it is important to note that different universities may have different thresholds for what they consider a good score.

How Is The UCAT Scored?

The UCAT is scored out of 3600 points. The test is divided into 5 sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement.

Out of these 5, Situation Judgement is scored separately, while the first 4 sections are scored between 300 and 900. These section’s scores are then added together to form your final UCAT score.

The Situational Judgement section is scored differently depending on which version of the UCAT you are taking.

  • For the regular UCAT (UK), scores are ranked into 4 bands, with band 1 being the best.
  • For the UCAT ANZ (Australia), you are given a score between 300 and 900, similar to the other 4 sections.

In summary:

  • Verbal Reasoning (score 300 – 900)
  • Decision Making (score 300 – 900)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (score 300 – 900)
  • Abstract Reasoning (score 300 – 900)
  • Situational Judgement (band 1 – 4)

What Is A Good UCAT Score?

Long story short, it depends on your competition

The UCAT is scored on a total of 3,600. For each of the 4 sections, students are scored on a scaled score of 300-900.

A good UCAT score will change every year. In 2020, the average UCAT score was 2511. A score of 2730 would have put you in the top 20% of all test takers, whereas 2850 was the 9th decile or top 10%. A few Prep Zone students scored above 3,000 (an excellent score!) in the last testing cycle: that put them in the 96th percentile and allowed them to interview with their top choices.

For UK applicants, a score of between 2560 to 2700 is good and anything above that would be considered an excellent score.

Your UCAT percentile shows how well you do compared to other applicants. The higher your percentile, the higher you will rank against other candidates.

For example, if you are in the 80th percentile, your score is higher than 80% of test-takers.

Deciles can be derived from your percentile – so the 80th percentile becomes the 8th decile.

A good way to determine what kind of score you should be aiming for before taking the UCAT is to review last year’s score report.

For example, in 2022 there were 36,374 UCAT candidates, and the decile are broken down as following:

  • 5th decile: 2500 (Section Average: 625)
  • 6th decile: 2570 (Section Average: 642.5)
  • 7th decile: 2660 (Section Average: 665)
  • 8th decile: 2750 (Section Average: 687.5)
  • 9th decile: 2880 (Section Average: 720)

Let’s say you are aiming to be in the 90th percentile (9th decile), that means you should try to score at least 720/900 for Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning.

Although it is not difficult to obtain an average score for the UCAT, international applicants must work extra hard, as there are very few spots available for international students. Generally speaking, you’ll want to be in the 80th percentile and above. The 80th percentile translates to a score of ~ 2750. In order to be even more competitive, you would want a score above 2800.

Do note some med schools weigh the UCAT score heavily, while others rely more on your performance in school (A Levels, IB scores, GCSEs, etc.)

What Are The Other Factors That Might Affect My Medical School Application?

If you’re reading this in the hope of gauging whether your test score will get you an interview, the selection process can be subjective, and it varies among schools. Moreover, a score that is considered good for local UK applicants might not be considered nearly as competitive for international applicants. For schools that are more popular with international students or that have fewer seats, competition is only more fierce.

That said, here are three factors to keep in mind as you try to figure out what a good UCAT score for you is!

Factor 1: Your Performance In Relation To Other UCAT Test Takers

Aim to be in the 80th percentile (top 20% of scores). If you’re applying for a more competitive school, aim to be in the 90th percentile.

Factor 2: Local vs International Applicants

Consider the standard scores for the group that you belong to. As an international applicant, there are 10-12 students applying for each medical seat and a high UCAT score will make difference in whether you get invited for an interview.

We would recommend aiming for at least 2800-2850, assuming a strong academic background and profile.

Factor 3: Target School’s Selection Criteria

Medical schools have different selection procedures. While 2700 might be a good score for St George’s, it might not be a good score for King’s College London. Broadly speaking, this is how some of the schools could be categorised:

Schools Requiring High UCAT Scores:

  • Newcastle places a very high emphasis on UCAT scores. In fact,. it ranks applicants by their UCAT scores so long as said applicants meet the minimum academic requirements. The 2020 threshold for the interview was 2730.
  • King’s College London also places heavy emphasis on the UCAT, though it does factor in GCSEs and predicted grades.
  • Likewise, Sheffield ranks students by their UCAT scores once they meet the cut off and minimum academic requirements.

Schools Requiring Good UCAT Scores:

  • St George’s requires at least 500 in each section and sets a cut-off for the overall score every year. For the 2021 intake, it was 2620 for UK students and 2710 for overseas students.
  • Liverpool uses the GCSEs and UCAT to shortlist students for the interview. The weightage of GCSE to UCAT is 3:1 which makes it an excellent choice for students with strong GCSE results.

Schools Which Accept Low UCAT Scores:

  • Cardiff does not consider the UCAT at all but uses the score as a tie-breaker.
  • Belfast and St Andrews are some of the other schools with a lower emphasis on the UCAT.

UCAT Test Statistics 2023

Mean Total Score

The following data is valid up to the 28 September 2023 based on 35,625 tests taken. The scaled score range for each cognitive subtest is 300 – 900. The mean scaled scores of the cognitive subtests are below:

Cognitive Subtest202320222021
Verbal Reasoning591567572
Decision Making623616610
Quantitative Reasoning649658665
Abstract Reasoning652659651
Total Cognitive Mean Scaled Score251625002499

Decile Ranges

The following table gives the decile ranges of candidates. Each decile represents 10% of candidates based on their overall test performance. The 1st decile represents a score at the 10th percentile; the 2nd decile represents a score at the 20th percentile, and so on. Not all percentiles are observed due to the high frequency of some scores.

Decile Rank202320222021
1st215021202150
2nd227022502270
3rd236023402360
4th244024202430
5th251025002500
6th258025702570
7th266026602640
8th276027502730
9th289028802850

Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

For Situational Judgement Test, full marks are awarded to those whose answer match the correct answer and partial mark is awarded for those whose response are closer to the correct answer.

For such tests, raw scores are into 4 bands, with band 1 being the highest. In addition, students will give full interpretation of their performance.

202320222021
Number of candidates35,62536,37437,230
Band 125%20%14%
Band 239%36%36%
Band 326%31%33%
Band 49%14%16%

BandDescription
Band 1Those in Band 1 demonstrated an excellent level of performance, showing similar judgement in most cases to the panel of experts.
Band 2Those in Band 2 demonstrated a good, solid level of performance, showing appropriate judgement frequently, with many responses matching model answers
Band 3The performance of Those in Band 3 demonstrated a modest level of performance, with appropriate judgement shown for some questions and substantial differences from ideal responses for others.
Band 4The performance of those in Band 4 was low, with judgement tending to differ substantially from ideal responses in many cases.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, a good UCAT score is subjective and can vary depending on the university and the competition for places. Being aware of the latest UCAT test statistics can provide valuable insights into average scores across different sections. However, it is essential to focus on achieving a score that meets the requirements of the specific universities you are applying to. Note that UCAT scores are used in tandem with your GCSE grades and even predicted high school results (or final high school results if you have them already). As you start exploring which schools to apply to, it is important to factor in all of these to evaluate your chances!

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