The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is used by many universities across the UK for medical programs (Undergraduate, Graduate, and Foundation programs) and dentistry programs. The UCAT covers 5 sections (Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Decision Making, and Situational Judgement), where Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making are scored out of 3,600 points, each section scored between 300-900 points, and Situational Judgement is scored between Band 1 – Band 4. Applicants put a lot of effort into preparing for the UCAT, and it is important to know how best to use the score you receive to aid your medical school applications.
Each university may use the UCAT scores differently when considering medical school applications – some use the score as a minimum cut off, and others rank applicants based on their score. What constitutes a “high” UCAT score changes year to year, depending on how the cohort performs that year. Generally, scoring in the top 20% is regarded as a “high” score. Moreover, some universities may have minimum Situational Judgement band requirements, considered alongside the UCAT score. It’s best to use your UCAT score in a tactical manner – applying to programs that favour the score you’ve achieved to increase your chances of achieving an interview.
If you want to find out how to score highly on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the UCAT, take a look at this article.
In 2021, a UCAT score above 2,730 ranked in the top 20% (considered a “high” score). Here is where you can apply with a top 20% UCAT score:
- University of Birmingham (A100)
There is no minimum cut-off score used by the university, but the scores (excluding Situational Judgement) will be ranked and given a point score according to the University of Birmingham UCAT scoring system (see below 2021 point system).
- Application score is graded: 45% GCSE + 35% UCAT + 20% contextual score.
- Maximum GCSE points: 4.5
- Maximum UCAT points: 3.5
- Contextual scores only applied if students attended a contextual school
- Threshold score for 2021 entry: 7.0
|Total UCAT score||Decile||Converted score|
|2910 and above||10th||3.5|
|2790 – 2900||9th||3.111|
|2730 – 2780||8th||2.722|
|2670 – 2720||7th||2.333|
|2620 – 2660||6th||1.944|
|2560 – 2610||5th||1.556|
|2500 – 2550||4th||1.167|
|2420 – 2490||3rd||0.778|
|2320 – 2410||2nd||0.389|
|2310 and below||1st||0|
To find out how likely you are to be offered an interview, you can use the University of Birmingham’s downloadable calculator tool and input your academic scores.
- University of Bristol (A100)
The combined scores for all sections (excluding Situational Judgement) will be taken into account, with a 2022 threshold of 2870 for home applicants and 2910 for international applicants.
- Cardiff University (A100, A104)
There is no UCAT threshold score, but the UCAT score may be used for the selection process or shortlisting, favouring a higher UCAT score.
- University of Edinburgh (A100)
Applicants must achieve a Situational Judgement Band 3 or above to be considered for entry. Applicants must meet a threshold score: all UCAT scores are allocated points based on the decile the score falls in, including the Situational Judgement score. The points are added to the academic score to contribute to the final ranking, where the higher the ranking, the more likely to be invited for an interview.
- University of Exeter (A100)
Applicants are ranked and placed in tiers based on their grades (see table below). Where there are too many applicants for the places available, applicants will be ranked by overall UCAT score to determine which applicants will be invited to interview. Historically, applicants scoring below 2,500 have not been called to interview.
|Rank||Grades Achieved||Grades Predicted||Contextualised Offer applicants
(Achieved or predicted)
|Tier 1||A*A*A*||AAB or Better|
- University of Glasgow (A100)
Interviews are allocated by UCAT score for applicants that meet all other entry requirements. The official threshold has not yet been released, but historically the threshold has been 2600, with Situational Judgement not considered.
- Hull and York (A100)
Applicants must achieve a Situational Judgement Band 3 or above to be considered for entry. Applicants are scored on a score out of 100 and ranked based on the score, where top rankers are offered an interview. The point system is broken down as follows:
- 15 points: UCAT Situational Judgement Band
- 40 points: UCAT score
- 30 points: top GCSE results
- 15 points: contextual data
- King’s College London (A100)
There is not an absolute threshold that must be met, but the UCAT (including Situational Judgement) is taken into consideration along with the GCSE, A-levels, personal statement and references when selecting applicants for interviews. The university emphasises that “examination results and UCAT score are perhaps the most important factors when considering applications.”
- University of Liverpool (A100)
Applicants are ranked based on UCAT results, including Situational Judgement results.
- University of Manchester (A100)
Applicants must meet a threshold based on the performance of the cohort that year (2,730 in 2021), with consideration of Situational Judgement band 1 or 2 only. Candidates are ranked according to UCAT total score where the number of candidates exceeds the number of available interview slots.
- University of Newcastle (A100, A101)
The university does not reveal their threshold for neither the current year nor the past years. However, they admit the UCAT score is the main criteria used to shortlist applicants for interviews.
- Queen Mary Belfast (A100)
Applicants’ UCAT scores are converted in a point system (see below) allowing for a maximum of 6 additional points, favouring high UCAT for more points. Situational Judgement is not considered.
|Banding of UCAT Scores||Points|
- University of Sheffield (A100)
Applicants must meet a threshold that is not disclosed, and then will be ranked by UCAT scores to determine the likelihood to be invited for an interview.
Applicants are ranked by UCAT scores, and those with the highest scores are invited to interview.
- University of St Andrews (A100)
Applicants are ranked based on their UCAT overall score, including Situational Judgement, and those ranked in the top 400 will be invited to interview. The lowest score invited to interview in the past has been 2,400.
There is a threshold score of 500 in each section of the UCAT, but those with the top achieving scores are more likely to be invited for an interview. In 2021, the lower UCAT score invited to interview for undergraduate applicants was 2,710 and for graduate applicants 2,810.
Remember that getting a medical school acceptance is dependent on far more than any one score or factor: your personal statement, UCAT score, academic achievements, and interview performance are usually considered altogether when universities make offers to applicants.
A competitive UCAT score would be getting 700+ in all 4 sections (verbal reasoning, decision making, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning) and a band 1 in Situational Judgement. If you want to have a competitive score on your UCAT, check out our brand new ‘Ace the UCAT’ course, which includes:
- 200+ lessons
- 20 hours of video lessons
- 350+ practice questions, with Dr Hilton walking you through the answers and the best way to tackle them
- Lots of support and help with the UCAT
- UCAT advice
If you want help getting into your dream university then also be sure to check out our Elite Coaching Programme. As part of this programme, you will get in-depth help with the entire application process from whatever stage you join at till you get into the medical school of your choice. This is done through 1-on-1 mentoring and the founder of the course, Dr Ashley Hilton is always available for any questions. You can find out more about the Elite Programme here.
Written By Hiba Al-Bahrani