Published on May 20, 2023
Reading Time: 4 min
How is the UCAT Scored?
UCAT scores are one of the foundational elements for many medical and dental school applications. The UCAT is scored out of 3600, putting together a combination of the total marks for each sub-section: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, and Abstract Reasoning (all scored out of 900 individually). The SJT component of the UCAT is scored using a banding system, whereby Band 4 is the lowest and Band 1 is the highest achievable score. In the UCAT ANZ, the SJT is also scored out of 900. When you sit the UCAT, you’ll be given your score right away, and will receive a breakdown of your score out of 900 for each subsection, a total score out of 3600, and a band for the SJT out of 4 (or score out of 900 for UCAT ANZ).
What is a High UCAT Score?
A high UCAT score is generally considered to be a top decile, or top 10% score. Decile rankings are based on performance each year. In 2022, a top decile UCAT score was 2880 or above. Aiming for a top 10% UCAT score can, in most cases, guarantee you interviews for medicine or dentistry. Some universities will have a higher emphasis on UCAT scores even above this value. For example, the average UCAT score that students who were invited to interview at Kings College London for Medicine 2022 entry was 2920. In general, having a top 10% UCAT score is very advantageous, but for certain universities, you may need to aim higher than this.
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What is a Good UCAT Score?
A good UCAT score is generally above 2700, but this does not mean that you will be guaranteed interviews with such a score. Medicine and dentistry are extremely competitive, and it’s important that you apply strategically. You should be aware of UCAT cut off scores for each university that you apply to and ensure that you’re applying only to universities that will accept your UCAT score alongside other qualifications.
What is a Low UCAT Score?
A low UCAT score is generally 2400 or lower. Having such a score will make the application for medicine or dentistry extremely difficult. If you attain a low UCAT score, you should look into contextual offers for universities as these can lower the UCAT requirement needed. For example, in 2020, the lowest UCAT score obtained that was invited to interview at Cardiff was 1980. So it’s definitely still possible to progress with your medicine or dentistry application if you have a low UCAT score, but you’ll need to be very wise with where you apply and make use of any widening participation criteria that you may meet.
What UCAT Score is Needed for Medicine?
Scores of around 2600-3000 are needed for most universities. Each medical school has their own scoring system and requirements for the UCAT, including cut off scores. Have a read of our other blog post for the most up-to-date UCAT scores needed for medicine for each university in 2023.
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Which Universities Accept Low UCAT Scores?
The UCAT is becoming increasingly competitive, and universities that accept lower scores one year may not accept them the following year. Further, sometimes a university has a low cut off score, but the actual lowest score they’ll invite to interview may be much higher depending on their interview invite criteria. If you happen to get a low UCAT score, it’s worth looking into universities that place lower emphasis on the UCAT. For example, Exeter puts a 25% weighting towards an applicant’s UCAT score and 75% towards academic qualifications, so if you satisfy their academic points criteria, you can get away with a much lower UCAT score. For 2022 entry, the average UCAT score for applicants invited to interview at Keele University was 2453, so this is also a university to look into with a lower UCAT score.
Where Should I Apply With a Bad UCAT Score?
If you score lower than 2400 in the UCAT, you may be very limited in universities that you can apply to for medicine or dentistry. Firstly, you should consider taking the BMAT (until 2024 entry) as this will open up further doors for you. Secondly, you should consider any widening participation criteria you may have to qualify for contextual offers which can lower the UCAT score needed for certain universities. Thirdly, you should ensure you have the most up-to-date information about UCAT scores needed for medicine in 2023 and apply to your strengths.