Shadowing a Doctor

October 4, 2016

The UKCAT, or UK Clinical Admissions Test, is the most popular aptitude test for students looking to study medicine at a British university. The five sections (which in total take 2 hours to complete) are designed for admissions panels to establish whether or not you are the right type of candidate to become a health professional. Many universities will only offer an interview to candidates who achieve a decent score – so you need to revise thoroughly!

The UKCAT can be taken in the summer months, normally between July 1st and the beginning of October each year. For the exact dates for your cohort, visit the UKCAT website

Although clinical aptitude tests are hugely important, they aren’t the only thing that tutors consider when deciding who to invite for interview. Your A Level subjects, GCSE results and extra curricular activities all play a role, which is why our medical shadowing placements have helped thousands of students secure a place at their favourite university. Why not top up any work experience you have completed at home with a week or more of intensive mentorship in our busy partner hospitals?

Which universities require the UKCAT?

  University      UKCAT required for Medicine      UKCAT required for Dentistry  
 University of Aberdeen X X
University of Leicester X
 University of Birmingham X X
University of Liverpool X X
Bristol University X X
Manchester University X X
Cardiff University X X
Newcastle University X X
University of Dundee X X
University of Nottingham X
Durham University X
University of Plymouth X X
University of East Anglia X
 Queen Mary’s (University of London) X X
Edinburgh University X
Queen’s University Belfast X X
University of Exeter X
University of Sheffield X X
University of Glasgow X X
University of Southampton X
University of St. Andrew’s X
Hull York Medical School X
Keele University X
St. George’s (University of London) X
King’s College London X  X
University of Warwick X

What does the UKCAT assess?

There are five sections to the UKCAT:

Section 1: Verbal Reasoning 
This section tests how well you deal with lengthy written questions.

Section 2: Decision-Making
This section tests how well you make judgements based on the information you are given.

Section 3: Quantitative Reasoning
This section tests how well you deal with complex numerical questions.

Section 4: Abstract Reasoning
This section tests how well you can identify patterns or links in shape.

Section 5: Situational Judgement
This section tests how well you cope with real-life situations.

Although some sections of the UKCAT will test your judgement and reasoning – things you may not believe you can revise for – there is plenty to do to get prepared. There are plenty of mock exam papers available online, which are best taken under exam conditions to increase your mental stamina.

Other admissions tests

Other UK universities (and some overseas) accept the BMAT, which stands for the Biomedical Admissions Test. This is the entrance exam chosen by Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Leicester University and Lancaster University.

You can learn a little bit more about the BMAT on this page.

If you have your heart set on a particular university, you may have very little choice whether you take the UKCAT. However with ample preparation, hard work and a pinch of good luck on the day, we’re certain you’ll get the score you need.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.