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What Is the UCAT?

The UCAT is an admissions test for medical and dental students in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand (UCAT ANZ).

This UCAT measures candidates’ cognitive abilities and behavioural tendencies through five sections; each assesses a different aspect of the capabilities required from medical and dental students. The test comprises 184 multiple-choise questions  and takes about 2 hours to complete –

  • Verbal Reasoning – 44 questions, 11 texts, 21 minutes
  • Decision Making – 29 questions, 31 minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning – 36 questions, 25 minutes
  • Abstract Reasoning – 50 questions, 12 minutes
  • SJT – 69 questions, 22 scenarios, 26 minutes

The test is computer-based and is delivered by Pearson VUE through centres across the UK.

UCAT Verbal Reasoning Questions

The UCAT verbal reasoning section assesses your ability to read and comprehend textual information and draw conclusions and inferences.

You will be presented with a written passage of about 200-300 words, followed by a series of multiple-choice questions.

There are two types of UCAT verbal reasoning questions –

  • True/false/cannot say questions
  • Free text questions

You will have 11 passages of text, and four questions for each passage, with an overall of 44 questions to answer in 21 minutes – 30 seconds per question.

Let’s see what a True/False/cannot say question looks like –

UCAT Verbal Reasoning Sample Question

Fiscal discipline in the United States was thrown to the winds after the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. The opening shot was Medicare Part D-free pills for seniors. To enact it, Congress had to abandon its 1990s rule that any bill for new spending had to provide new tax revenues to pay for it. The bill violated the principle of "fiscal neutrality": such programmes make people feel far wealthier than they are, leading to reductions in saving and domestic investment. But eventually, people look to the horizon and see massive levels of public debt. Then markets get frightened and asset prices plunge. Thanks to Bush's tax tables, a working-class couple with two minor children would pay no federal tax at all on income up to about $30,000 and would pay 15 percent on additional income up to about $25,000. The middle class gets off lightly too. The federal tax on $85,000 would be about $10,000. In effect, the bottom half of America's economy appears to be using its voting power to tax the top half.

The bottom half of America's economy consists of its working class; the top half consists of its middle and upper classes.

Cannot Say
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

According to the passage, "The middle class gets off lightly too." The word 'too' refers to the previous sentence, where working-class taxes are described, implying both the working class and the middle class are in the same group (the one that gets off lightly). It cannot be true, then, that they each belong to a different half of America's economy. 

The correct answer is 'False'

Tip: You may encounter unfamiliar or unclear words and phrases. Try to understand their meaning from their context. Don’t ignore them, as the Verbal Reasoning section examines not only your vocabulary but also your comprehension skills.  

Learn more about the UCAT Verbal Reasoning section

UCAT Decision-Making Questions

The UCAT decision-making section assesses your ability to use and apply logic to analyze statistical data, evaluate information, and reach conclusions.

You will be presented with information in the form of text, diagrams, graphs, tables, and charts, followed by a question that may include more information.

There are six types of UCAT decision-making questions –

  • Logical puzzles
  • Syllogisms
  • Venn diagrams
  • Recognizing assumptions
  • Probabilistic and statistical reasoning
  • Interpreting information

You will have 29 questions to answer in 31 minutes1 minute per question.

Let’s try solving a probabilistic and statistical reasoning question –

UCAT Decision-Making Sample Question

Pavel is looking for an online platform to compare the prices of medical devices.

Platform A's accuracy on history of sales is 85 out of 100.
Platform B's is inaccurate about previous sales 15 out of 100 times.
The chance of finding any specific medical device on platform A is 0.7.
On platform B, the probability of a device being unavailable is two-fifths.

Considering only the accuracy of previous sales and the chance of finding specific medical devices, is platform A the better choice?

A Yes, Platform A's accuracy of sales history is higher
B Yes, the chance of finding any specific medical device is higher on Platform A
C No, the probability of finding any specific medical device is higher on Platform B
D No, Platform B's accuracy of sales history is higher
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Compare both accuracy and the chance of finding a specific device separately for each platform:

Accuracy –
Platform A: 85 out of 100 times accurate.
Platform B: 15 out of 100 times inaccurate = 85 out of 100 times accurate.
The accuracy is identical on both platforms.

Selection –
Platform A: 0.7 chance of finding any specific device = 70% chance of finding.
Platform B: Two-fifth probability of not finding a device = 40% chance of not finding = 60% chance of finding.
The chance of finding any specific medical device is higher on platform A.

The correct answer is B

Tip: Elimination is the key to all types of decision-making questions. Read all arguments first and rule out the incorrect options. Once you are left with two options, compare them, and evaluate which is the strongest.

Learn more about the UCAT decision-making section


UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Questions

The UCAT quantitative reasoning section assesses your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret numerical information to solve mathematical problems.

You will be presented with numerical data in the form of text, charts, graphs, tables, and two or three-dimensional shapes, followed by a multiple-choice question.

You will have 36 questions to answer in 25 minutes – about 40 seconds per question.

Here is how it looks –

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Sample Question

inViews is a new online music-downloading store. Below are some of its download stats.

Assuming 1 byte is equal to 8 bits, what is the kilobyte equivalent file size to 3,136,352 bits?

A. 17.59
B. 0.374
C. 2.991
D. 382.8
E. Can't Tell
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

1 byte is equal to 8 bits and in addition, one kilobyte is equal to 1,024 bytes.

Therefore, 3,136,352 bits are equal to: /8 = 392,044 bytes.
392,044/1024 = 382.8 kilobytes.

The correct answer is D

Tip: Know your math and refine your calculating skills. Make sure you can make basic calculations, especially percentages, portions, ratios and formulas for volume and area. You should also memorize the different calculator shortcuts to save time and effort.

Learn more about the UCAT quantitative reasoning section

UCAT Abstract Reasoning Questions

The UCAT abstract reasoning section assesses your ability to identify common patterns, track changes, and generate hypotheses.

You will be presented with a series of abstract shapes, followed by a multiple-choice question.

There are four types of UCAT abstract reasoning questions –

  • Match a shape to a series
  • Determine which shape is next in the series
  • Select the shape that completes a missing series
  • Match two shapes to two different series

You will have 50 questions to answer in 12 minutes15 seconds per question.

Let’s see a next in-series question –

UCAT Abstract Reasoning Sample Question

UCAT Abstract Reasoning Practise Question

Which shape comes next in the sequence?

Figure A
Figure B
Figure C
Figure D
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

All the figures in the sequence are contained within a pentagon, but the number and location of the lines change.

Let's make sense of it all. There are 5 angles, or vertices, numbered in the diagram below:

Now, notice how with every new figure in the sequence, a chord (line connecting two non-adjacent vertices) is added following a particular rule:

The first chord is drawn from vertex 1 to vertex 3.

The next chord is drawn from vertex 2 to vertex 4.

The next chord is drawn from vertex 3 to vertex 5.

The final chord is drawn from vertex 4 to vertex 1.

Basically, the chords connect two vertices, skipping one, and move one position clockwise with each figure.

Following this rule, the next figure should have a chord connecting vertex 5 to vertex 2.

Next, look at the shading in shape. Each time a new chord is drawn, it reduces the amount of grey shading. The shading always lies on the inside of the chord boundaries. When lining the final chord from vertex five, the remaining space inside that chord is just in the centre of the star.

The correct answer is B

Tip: When trying to identify the governing rule of the pattern, take into account every variable – shapes, their position and orientation, number of items, their size, colouring, and so on.

Learn more about the UCAT abstract reasoning section

UCAT Situational Judgment Test Questions

The UCAT Situational Judgment Test section assesses your ability to comprehend real-life situations that you will face as a medical practitioner and how you will respond to such situations while identifying critical factors.

You will be presented with a series of scenarios set in a clinical environment or medical training, followed by several optional responses.  

There are two types of UCAT SJT questions – 

  • Rate by importance  
  • Rate by appropriateness 

You will have 69 questions to answer in 26 minutes22 seconds per question.  

Let’s view a rate by importance question – 

UCAT Situational Judgment Test Sample Question

A man complaining about headaches arrives at a medical clinic. Lauren, a junior doctor, treats him. After the treatment, the man continues to complain about the pain, but Lauren finds nothing wrong with him.

How important is the following consideration for Lauren to consider while deciding what to do next? 

Lauren's wish to seem like a qualified doctor.

A Very Important
B Important
C Of Minor Importance
D Not Important At All
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

It is important for a doctor to have the ability and integrity to admit when they don’t know something. Lauren's desire to prove herself or her appearance in front of the patient is irrelevant so this consideration is not important at all.

The correct answer is D: Not Important At All

Tip: Read the scenario carefully, identify its main issue and address it in your response. Some scenarios contain minor extra issues that can easily distract you from the key topic.

Learn more about the UCAT Situational Judgment Test section and check out our UCAT SJT complete preparation using the Doctor's Principles Method – an exclusive guide of 10 principles every medical doctor should follow. Tailored for the UCAT, it will help you understand the SJT questions better, identify its key issue, respond accordingly, and receive the needed score to be accepted to medical school.  

Think you got it? Try a free UCAT test!

UCAT Scores 

Unlike other tests, which may give you a score of 1-100 or any score that only measures your performance on the test, the UCAT results are based on a standard distribution around an average score. This means your performance is compared to the average performance of all test takers to calculate your score.  

Each medical school has different UCAT scores needed to enter their programmes, and the more prestigious the school – the higher those requirements are. 

In addition, your overall score is comprised of two values: 

1. Your score in the 4 cognitive UCAT sections: For each of these, you will get a score between 300 and 900 (For an overall cognitive UCAT score of 1,200-3,600). In 2022, the median score for the cognitive section was around 2500. 

2. Your score in the SJT section: The SJT section gets its unique score, divided into 4 'bands', which band 1 being the best score and band 4 being the worst. This means it has the same weight as the 4 cognitive sections for your UCAT result. 

What UCAT Score Do I Need to Pass the UCAT? 

This is difficult to answer, wildly dependent on the specific university in question. However, a cognitive score of 2,600 and band 1/2 are considered a good UCAT score for most (though more prestigious places like Oxford may require higher performances).  

💡 Learn more about the UCAT Scores

Now that you have all the information about the UCAT, its different sections, types of questions, and the UCAT passing score for med-schools, all that is left is to practice as much as possible, to simulate real test conditions, and to experience how the questions’ difficulty and strict time limit can affect your tests’ results.

For this exact purpose, we’ve created an accurate time-limited simulation for the UCAT in our advanced test system.

These simulations will allow you to evaluate your level of knowledge, track your progress, learn from your mistakes, and improve your skills from one simulation to the next so you can ace the real test.

For only £79, you will get a high-quality UCAT practice test that includes over 450 UCAT questions, solutions, and detailed explanations, with an additional exclusive SJT chapter based on the Doctor’s Principles Method.

Start practicing now and guarantee your future as a physician! 


How Do I Take the UCAT?

The Pearson VUE based test can be taken by registering ahead of time on the official UCAT website. You will be asked to write a personal statement during your UCAS application explaining your motivation to become a medical practitioner.

What Are the UCAT Eligibility Criteria?

To take the UCAT exam, you must: 

Complete/be in the final year of your higher secondary education (higher than that is also fine.) 

Be eligible for medical programmes at chosen Universities in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Which Medical School Can I Get Into After Taking the UCAT Exam?

More than 20 medical schools and universities in the UK use the UCAT test format to screen for their medical and dental courses. 

Find out more about the universities that use UCAT 

What Is the Test Fee for Taking the UCAT?

The UCAT is not a free test to take- the cost in the UK is £70, and £115 in Australia and New Zealand.

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