Understanding the UKCAT

October 28, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

Click here for 2021 shadowing opportunities

At one point of time it was decided that A-level grades were just not enough to differentiate between candidates who were at the upper-end of the academic ability scale, when it came to medical school admissions. The UKCAT was launched to enhance objectivity and fairness levels in medical admissions.  

The aim of the UKCAT is to identify academic potential in applicants who hail from less-advantaged educational backgrounds. This allows Universities to choose candidates based on characteristics that are more relevant to the success in the medical profession. The test also judges the academic potential of the applicants in a very objective manner and does not distinguish between those who belong to less-advantaged educational backgrounds.

The UKCAT assesses a number of mental abilities that Medical and dental schools have identified as important. No curriculum content exits as the goal is to examine innate skills. Each sub-test is laid out in a multiple choice format and has a different timing allocation.  

Here are a few tests you will have to go through when you appear for the UKCAT:


Pre-medicine students observing surgery at Morogoro Hospital in Tanzania Preparing For The Test 

Typically, the UKCAT tests aptitude and not academic achievement and so there is no official preparatory course material for the test. The best way to prepare yourself is to practice the different kinds of questions that have shown up in the earlier tests through the years. Another good way to prepare for the test is to familiarize yourself with the format of the test papers. This will help you get acquainted with the variety of questions that will be asked and will also help you get acquainted with the time restrictions that will apply. 

The UKCAT website has practice tests that can help you prep. You can also download the official guide from the site. 


Admissions Requirements 

While medical colleges will consider the UKCAT scores in the selection process for the interview, this is not the only indicator for selection. Your scores will be considered in conjunction with predicted and actual academic achievement. Apart from this, the objective scoring of the information that has been supplied on the UCAS application-form is also taken into consideration. This includes the personal statement as well as the references.