The UCAT is something you’ll hear a lot about if you’re applying for a medicine or dentistry course at university. Medicine and dentistry are demanding professions that require a high degree of knowledge, competence, and integrity. Yet traditional A-level results don’t assess those qualities, so how can universities identify the most suitable candidates? Enter the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) – a specialised exam that helps medical schools identify those students who have the mental, emotional, and moral rigour needed to thrive on their courses.


In this article, we explain what the UCAT is, how (and when) to apply, and look at how you can get prepared.


What is the UCAT?

Essentially it’s a test that helps Medical Schools assess whether a candidate has the attitude, mental ability, and professionalism needed to succeed on a medical or dentistry course. It is considered to be a key entry requirement – along with your grades, work experience and Personal Statement – by a number of UCAT Universities.


What is the difference between UCAT, UKCAT and UCAT ANZ?

The UCAT used to be called the UKCAT (United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test). It was renamed in 2019 to reflect the incorporation of medical schools from Australia and New Zealand. In these countries, the test is known as the UCAT ANZ. Its test format, contents, duration, and difficulty are identical to the UK exam.


That being said, there is one difference to be aware of: the UCAT ANZ can be used for applying to UK universities, but UCAT (UK) results are not accepted by Australian and New Zealand universities. So, you will need to sit the UCAT ANZ if you’re a UK resident applying to an Australian or New Zealand university.


Who should take the test?

You must sit the test if it’s a requirement of your chosen medical school – it’s not possible to exempt yourself from the exam under any circumstances.


Which Universities require the UCAT?

Over 30 Medical school in the UK require you to sit the test. A full list of those universities can be found on the UCAT website.


How often can I sit the UCAT?

You can only sit the exam once each in a calendar year. It’s worth noting that if you sit the both the UK and Australia/NZ tests in the same calendar year, only your first result will be valid.


How long is the UCAT?

It’s a computerised test, administered by Pearson VUE. There is a 2-hour time limit, and you must take it at a designated test centre.


What format is the UCAT?

The exam consists of five sections, which must be completed in the order presented.

The five sections are:

  • Verbal reasoning (22 minutes + 1 minute of reading
  • Decision making (32 minutes + 1 minute of reading)
  • Quantitative reasoning (25 minutes + 1 minute of reading)
  • Abstract reasoning (14 minutes + 1 minute of reading)
  • Situational judgement (27 minutes + 1 minute of reading)

These sections are designed to assess some of the core skills required by doctors. These include problem-solving, communication, numerical skills, spatial awareness, integrity, empathy, and teamwork.

If you’re eligible for additional time, you’ll be able to apply for access arrangements and take the UCATSEN.


How is the UCAT scored?

There are two components to your result. You can earn between 300 and 900 points for each of the first four sections, and your result will be the combination of these points. You may see also UCAT scores referred to as a three-digit number, which reflects the average of your section performance.

The second part is your situational judgement score, for which you’ll be given a band between one and four.

You can read more about scores, and how they are calculated on the UCAT website.


How do I register for UCAT 2022?

Registration is a straightforward process. You simply create an account, register for the test, and make sure that you book it before the deadline. For the 2022 test cycle, booking opens at 6am BST on 20 June 2022 and closes at 12 noon BST on 22 September 2022. Then, you must sit the exam between 11 July and 29 September 2022. There is no exception to these deadlines. If you need further information, including prices, you can find it on the UCAT website.


How do I prepare for the UCAT?

Preparing for the test is partly a matter of having the right strategy. That means getting familiar with the type of questions asked, and how to answer them. There are various online services that provide practice questions, and you could also speak with medical students who have already taken the test to find out about their experiences.

However, the best way to get prepared is to seek out 1-1 tutoring. We offer specialised tutoring to support prospective medical and dentistry students through every aspect of the UCAT, from application to exam day. To find out more, contact George Alexander tuition at


George Alexander Tuition is a specialist maths and science tuition agency based in Central London. We support students aged 11-18 with a variety of termly tuition packages and exam coaching from 11+ to A-Level. We also provide coaching for the UCAT. To find out more, contact us on You can also follow our social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook, and check out our handy maths tutorials on our YouTube channel.



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