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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 or disabilities, such as dyslexia. Those with specific medical conditions or temporary injury are also entitled. In UCATSEN, you may be allowed extra time, rest breaks or accommodations according to your needs.

There are several formats of the UCATSEN which are assigned to candidates based on individual requirements. The below information is correct for the 2022 sitting of the UCAT exam.


How much extra time do I get in UCATSEN?

The short answer is that it depends! Here is a short breakdown of the possible timings you may be awarded:

  • UCATSA: Standard UCAT exam with additional rest breaks – 140 minutes
  • UCASEN: 25% extra time – 150 minutes
  • UCATSENSA: 25% extra time and additional rest breaks – 168.75 minutes
  • UCATSEN50: 50% extra time – 180 minutes

UCAT – Standard exam timings:

Exam SectionInstructionsExam
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 SectionInstructionsExam
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 SectionInstructionsExam
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 SectionInstructionsExam
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 SectionInstructionExam
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

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 consider you. Medical schools won’t even know that you sat the UCATSEN rather than the standard UCAT.

It is important that when applying to medical school when asked, you disclose any specific learning difficulties or disabilities so that the university can make sure they are supporting you in your education and application as best they can. You may be surprised that it is estimated up to 10% of medical students have specific learning difficulties, with a proportion only being diagnosed while at medical school. It’s not something to worry about when applying to medical school, and definitely not something that should put you off.

Top tips for preparing for the UCATSEN

We’ve been supporting students sit the UCAT for a number of years, and have seen many students do exceptionally well by sitting the UCATSEN. Do take a look at our resources for the UCAT as the same techniques can be applied to the UCAT SEN. In particular, our tips for UCATSEN are:

Practice with correct timings

It may sound obvious but once you have found out exactly how much extra time you’re awarded in your exam (most commonly 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

Many students with specific learning difficulty find reading and comprehension more difficult or slower. This means you might find Verbal Reasoning trickier in particular. It might be useful to work on areas such skim reading and picking out key facts from articles to help you develop these skills. 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 overall.

Don’t rely too much on your extra time!

The UCAT is notorious for being time-pressured, so you might feel relieved if you get awarded extra time. However, don’t think this means you have plenty of time and can ignore all the timing tips! Even though you’re awarded extra time, in reality, this is just a few extra seconds per question so you still need to be conscious of time.

How do you apply for UCATSEN?

You can apply to sit the UCATSEN via the UCAT website. Applications for UCATSEN open on 24th May and close on 20th September for the 2022/23 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.

Some access arrangements don’t require approval or the submission of evidence but do need to be arranged in advance. These include having screen overlays or wheelchair accessible desks.

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 experience! Click here to find out more.

What is the difference between UCAT and UCATSEN?

The UCATSEN is an extended version of the UCAT, for students with additional needs. The questions are exactly the same but timings are slightly different.

Are you allowed paper in the UCAT?

You’re not allowed to bring in a paper or pen, but you are provided with a laminated white board to use. This is the same for all candidates regardless of if you sit the standard UCAT or UCATSEN. Make sure you check the pen they give you works before you start the exam!

Should I sit the UCATSEN?

If you are currently entitled to extra time or other access arrangements in your school exams, you’re likely entitled to extra time in the UCAT too. Medical schools won’t know or discriminate based on if you take the UCATSEN or standard UCAT, so if you’re entitled to extra time it’s probably in your best interest to take it.

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Post as “Anonymous”


AnonymousMedic Mind Tutor

8 October 2021

There is lots of information on line which suggests medical schools do know who took the UKATSEN. How sure are you that they do not know?