University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) advice

The UCAT is an essential part of the admissions process for medicine and dentistry courses.

What is the UCAT?

The UCAT is a test designed to help universities select applicants based on mental ability, attitude and professional behaviour required to work successfully in medicine and dentistry. It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as the UCAS application and academic qualifications.

It is a two-hour computer based test that can be taken at centres across the UK and worldwide. It includes subtests involving verbal reasoning, decision-making, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning and situational judgement. You will be required to meet a minimum overall target score which is set and reviewed annually by the Admissions Advisory Panel.

Why does the University use it?

As part of our commitment to a fair and transparent admissions process, the Faculty of Health uses the UCAT in order to make more informed choices from amongst the many highly qualified applicants who apply for a place in medicine and dentistry programmes. 

What score do you need?

The UCAT threshold score applied to determine candidate selection for interview can alter each year and is influenced by overall candidate performance in the UCAT and the number and quality of applications received. Below are examples of the score thresholds applied during past admissions cycles. 

The Peninsula Medical School will again be applying an overall target score methodology in this application cycle for entry next September to facilitate selection for interview. We do not currently include the SJT banding score.

Medicine overall scores

Year of entry Overall score
2016 2610
2017 1870
2018 2400
2019 2330

Dentistry overall scores

Year of entry Overall score
2016 2280
2017 1790
2018 2230
2019 2190

What is the test format?

The UCAT is a two-hour computer-based test which assess a range of mental abilities identified by university medical and dental schools as important. It consists of five separately timed subtests which each contain a number of questions in a multiple-choice format.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a written form.
  • Decision Making: Assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form.
  • Abstract Reasoning: Assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information.
  • Situational Judgement: Measures the capacity to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.
The information above is subject to change.
More about UCAT subtests

How is the test split?

Subset Number of questions Timing (not incl. instruction)
Verbal Reasoning 44 21 minutes
Decision Making 29 31 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 36 24 minutes
Abstract Reasoning 55 13 minutes
Situational Judgement 69 26 minutes
Please ensure you check the UCAT website for updates

When do you take the test?

Event Date
Registration and booking opens May
Testing begins July
Registration and online booking closes September
Final booking deadline October
Last testing date September
Results delivered to universities November

Please check the UCAT website for the most up to date information

Where do you take the test?

Tests can be taken at Pearson Vue test centres across the UK. In the South West there are centres in Plymouth, Torquay, Truro, Barnstable and Taunton.

How much does the test cost?

Location Cost
Test taken in the EU between 2 July and 31 August £65
Test taken in the EU between 1 September an 2 October £87
Tests taken outside the EU £115

Costs correct at time of publication (2019), please check the UCAT website.

Can I get any help with the cost?

Candidates in financial need may apply for a bursary to cover the full test fee. Candidates must be able to meet and evidence a set of eligibility criteria. Please note there is a deadline for applications, check the UCAT website for exact deadline dates.

The bursary is only available to UK and EU candidates.

Find out more about eligibility criteria and deadlines

How do I sign up for the UCAT?

You will need to sign up for the test on the UCAT website.
Step one: Online account registration
  • Registration opens: 1 May at 9:00
  • Registration closes: 18 September at 17:00
Step two: booking a test
  • Booking opens: 1 May at 9:00
  • Online booking closes: 18 September at 17:00
  • Final booking deadline: 1 October at midday
You are strongly recommended to register and book your test as soon as possible to ensure there are places available at your local test centre.

UCAT Preparation Plan

This short video is UCAT official advice about how best to go about preparing to sit the test. It shows the tools available to help you and suggests a rough timeline for you.