UCAT Scores Guide: What is a good UCAT Score?
UCAT Scores: An Introduction
When you first start looking at applying to medical school and the UCAT exam, the scoring system can seem confusing. It can be tricky to tell what good UCAT scores are, how it’s marked or what you should be aiming for. The UCAT scoring is very different to any of the exams you might’ve sat at school already so it can take a while to get your head around! This article will answer some of the most common questions about UCAT Scoring, and hopefully you should have a better idea of what UCAT Score to aim for!
When you sit the UCAT exam you will receive your score almost immediately. This is one of the huge advantages of taking the UCAT exam as it lets you know how well you’ve performed straight away. This allows you apply to universities more strategically as you can tactically apply to medical schools that are more likely to invite you to interview based on your UCAT score and other aspects of your application. Note: this article is most relevant to UCAT Scores 2021.
For the first four sections you will receive a score between 300 and 900. The highest possible score is 900, while 300 is the lowest. However, for the final Situational Judgement section, you will receive a banding instead. There are four bands, with band 1 being the highest and band 4 being the lowest and the final UCAT scores will go through UCAT conversion.
In a nutshell:
- UCAT Verbal Reasoning: Score between 300-900
- UCAT Decision Making: Score between 300-900
- UCAT Quantitative Reasoning: Score between 300-900
- UCAT Abstract Reasoning: Score between 300-900
- UCAT Situational Judgement: Band between 1-4
This means that you will receive a total score between 1200 and 3600 as well as a band 1-4 as your overall test result.
Sometimes universities talk about UCAT score as an average. If you see or hear anyone talking about UCAT score as a number between 300 and 900, it is likely this is the case. To do a UCAT conversion, your average score is simply divided by your overall result by four.
So how does this relate to each section of the exam? Let’s break down each one by one:
UCAT Verbal Reasoning
UCAT VR has 44 questions all of which are worth 1 mark. Your raw UCAT score is then scaled into a score between 300 and 900 with UCAT conversion. It’s worth bearing in mind that each question is worth the same amount of marks regardless of difficulty. This means that the longer or trickier questions may be worth guessing/skipping as you may be able to get 2-3 easier questions answered correctly in the time it takes you to work out the answer to a single hard question. Our guide to scoring highly in this section can be found here
The UCAT QR section has 36 questions, of which each question is again worth 1 mark. Your raw score being scaled to a score between 300 and 900 with UCAT conversion. This section tends to be the section people score highest in on average. Our guide to scoring highly in this section can be found here
As of 2022, UCAT AR has only 50 questions, as opposed to the previous 55, with each question still worth 1 mark. Again, your raw score is scaled to a score between 300 and 900 with UCAT conversion. Our guide to scoring highly in this section can be found here. This has always been amongst the most time-pressured of the sections and this remains so despite the changes due to the reduction in number of questions being offset by a reduction in time as well. Candidates now have 1 minute less for the station.
This section has 29 questions but the mark allocation is slightly different. Some question types will have multiple answers or statements for you to evaluate. These questions are worth two marks but you must get every single part of the question right. You can also be awarded partial marks for these questions too. If you get only one part of the question wrong, you will be awarded 1 mark instead. Like other sections, questions with a single answer are all worth one mark. Our guide to scoring highly in this section can be found here.
This last section now has 66 questions, as of 2022. Each question is worth the same amount of marks, but you can also score partial marks if your answer is “nearly” right. For the situational judgement your answer options can be divided into two categories: A and B are generally “good”, whereas C and D are generally “bad”. If you pick the wrong answer but select the correct category, you’ll be awarded the partial mark.
For example, if you picked A when the answer was B you would receive a partial mark. However if you selected C when the answer was B, you wouldn’t receive any marks. Take a look at the example below and notice how A & B, and C & D answer options fall into two different categories.
Our guide to scoring highly in the SJT section can be found here. You are given an overall band depending on your raw score. The UCAT has published UCAT Scoring guidance which explains what the different bands mean:
- UCAT Band 1: Those in Band 1 demonstrated an excellent level of performance, showing similar judgement in most cases to the panel of experts
- UCAT Band 2: Those in Band 2 demonstrated a good, solid level of performance, showing appropriate judgement frequently, with many responses matching model answers.
- UCAT Band 3: Those in Band 3 demonstrated a modest level of performance, with appropriate judgement shown for some questions and substantial differences from ideal responses for others.
- UCAT Band 4: The performance of those in Band 4 was low, with judgement tending to differ substantially from ideal responses in many cases.
It’s worth knowing that some universities will not accept an application with a UCAT Band 4 so you do want to spend time on this section to avoid this.
What is a high UCAT score?
At the end of the testing period the official UCAT consortium will publish the final test statistics. This will allow you to see how you have performed in comparison to other candidates. As this data won’t be available until later in the admissions cycle, you can use historic data to get an idea of how well you have performed. As there are no big changes to the 2021 UCAT, the results should look similar to those of previous years. You can use the official UCAT website to look up what percentile a particular score would have placed you in last year. Remember though, that UCAT Scoring can vary year-on-year so be careful not to overly rely on historic data.
If you have a particular medical school in mind, take a look at our guide to UCAT Scoring for each medical school based on past years data. This will give you a good idea of how high you would have had to score in previous years to have a successful application.
The UCAT is often one of the most stressful parts of the medical school application process. Not only is taking the test hard in itself but understanding what the results mean and how they affect your application is also tricky to navigate. Hopefully, this article has helped explain how UCAT scoring works and you have a good idea of what to aim for on test day.
What is a good UCAT score?
A high UCAT score is generally considered to be anything above 680. A score of over 680 will allow you to make a competitive application to virtually any medical school. However, bear in mind that each medical school has different requirements and the majority of successful applicants score lower than this.
What was the average UCAT score in 2020?
The total mean score was 2511. In order to score in the top 20% of candidates you needed to score 2730 or more.
What UCAT score do I need for medicine?
Ultimately, there is definitive UCAT score that you need to study medicine. Some medical schools will place a lot of emphasis on your UCAT score, whereas others will only use it as a small part of your application. This means that research is key so you can apply strategically once you know your score to maximise your chances.
What is a bad UCAT score?
A low UCAT score is generally considered to be anything below 610. A score of under 610 will restrict your application to medical schools significantly. A low UCAT score doesn’t mean you have no chance at an offer, it just means some options have been ruled out.