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James Gibbons

Senior Writer at Medic Mind

What is the UCATSEN? 

UCATSEN is the term used for the UCAT exam for students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, disability, medical condition or temporary injury. In UCATSEN, you may be allowed extra time, rest breaks or accommodations. 

There are several types of UCATSEN which are assigned to candidates based off of their individual requirements, each giving the candidate different amounts of time for each section. The below information is correct for the 2021 sitting of the UCAT exam.


How much extra time do I get in UCATSEN?

The short answer – it depends! Here is a short breakdown, we go into more detail later:

  • UCATSA: Standard UCAT exam with rest breaks
  • UCASEN: 25% extra time
  • UCATSENSA: 25% extra time and rest breaks
  • UCATSEN50: 50% extra time

UCAT – Standard exam:

Exam SectionInstruction SectionExam time
Verbal Reasoning1 minute21 minutes
Decision Making1 minute31 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning1 minute24 minutes
Abstract Reasoning1 minute13 minutes
Situational Judgement1 minute26 minutes

UCATSA – Standard UCAT exam with rest breaks:

Exam SectionInstruction SectionExam time
Verbal Reasoning5 minutes21 minutes
Decision Making5 minutes31 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning5 minutes24 minutes
Abstract Reasoning5 minutes13 minutes
Situational Judgement5 minutes26 minutes

UCATSEN – 25% extra time:

Exam SectionInstruction SectionExam time
Verbal Reasoning1 minute 15 seconds26 minutes 15 seconds
Decision Making1 minute 15 seconds38 minutes 45 seconds
Quantitative Reasoning1 minute 15 seconds30 minutes
Abstract Reasoning1 minute 15 seconds16 minutes 15 seconds
Situational Judgement1 minute 15 seconds32 minutes 30 seconds

UCATSENSA – 25% extra time and rest breaks:

Exam SectionInstruction SectionExam time
Verbal Reasoning5 minutes26 minutes 15 seconds
Decision Making5 minutes38 minutes 45 seconds
Quantitative Reasoning5 minutes30 minutes
Abstract Reasoning5 minutes16 minutes 15 seconds
Situational Judgement5 minutes32 minutes 30 seconds

UCATSEN50 – 50% extra time:

Exam SectionInstruction SectionExam time
Verbal Reasoning1 minute 30 seconds31m 30s
Decision Making1 minute 30 seconds46 minutes 30 seconds
Quantitative Reasoning1 minute 30 seconds36 minutes
Abstract Reasoning1 minute 30 seconds19 minutes 30 seconds
Situational Judgement1 minute 30 seconds39 minutes 
UCATSEN50 Timing

Table details in article adapted from “https://www.ucat.ac.uk/ucat/access-arrangements/”

Am I at a disadvantage sitting the UCATSEN instead of UCAT?

No, just like how getting extra time in exams at school doesn’t disadvantage you in any way with university applications, the UCATSEN will not affect the way universities see you. Medical schools won’t even know that you sat the UCATSEN, as it is the same exam as the UCAT, but with more time. Just like how medical schools won’t know if you get extra time in your exams. It is important that when applying to medical school, if asked, that you disclose if you have learning difficulties or disabilities, purely so that the university can make sure they are supporting you in your education as best they can. You will be surprised that it is estimated 10% of medical students have specific learning difficulties, with a proportion only being diagnosed while at medical school. Therefore, it is something not to worry about when applying to medical school, and something that should not put you off, especially when thinking about the UCAT entrance examination.  

Top tips for preparing for the UCATSEN:

Having helping students pass the UCAT with high scores for a number of years, we have come up with our top tips not just for the UCAT, but also for students sitting the UCATSEN. Do check out our resources for helping you pass the UCAT with a high score, as these will be especially beneficial to students with specific learning difficulties. 

Practice with correct timings

It may sound obvious but once you have found out exactly how much extra time you get in your exam (usually an additional 25%) make sure you are practicing with the use of that extra time. It will help you to get the best feel for the exam.

Work on your reading strategies

Chances are, if you have a specific learning difficulty you will find reading and comprehension more difficult. Therefore it is important that you work on your areas of weakness such skim reading and picking out the key facts. This will not only save you valuable time in your exam, but will help you be more accurate with your answers, giving you a higher score. 

What are you really good at?

Many students with specific learning difficulties who will be sitting the UCATSEN are very good at other aspects that the UCAT tests, such as the abstract reasoning or quantitative reasoning, so don’t worry if you really struggle with the verbal reasoning section, as this is only ¼ of your score. You can use the other sections you are good at to increase your overall mark. 

How do you apply for UCATSEN?

You can apply to sit the UCATSEN via the UCAT website. Applications for UCATSEN open on 1st May, and close on 18th September at 5pm for the 2019 application cycle. 

To make an application you must have registered on the UCAT website and know your candidate number. Applications must be submitted with the correct supporting evidence. Details of accepted supporting evidence can be found on the evidence submission page

You can submit your evidence using the UCAT website, or alternatively you can post your supporting UCATSEN evidence, details of which can also be found on this webpage.

Final Note on the UCATSEN

So that’s it! I hope you found this article useful on UCATSEN Timings and this is the case both for the UK Version of the UCATSEN and also the UCATSEN Australia (UCATSEN ANZ). The next steps would be to do some UCATSEN Practice under timed conditions and apply all you have learned!

If you’re looking for some extra support, it might be worth checking out our UCAT Tutoring where we can pair you up with a UCATSEN Tutor i.e. a current Medical Student who sat the UCATSEN and can give you their own insight into their own UCAT! – Click here to find out more.

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