UKCAT – All you need to know!

The UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test) is an admission test used by certain universities to select the students with the “most appropriate mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviours required to be successful in their clinical careers and is committed to fairness in selection to medicine and dentistry and to the widening participation in medical and dental training of under-represented social groups” (www.ukcat.ac.uk).

It is a 2 hour computer-based test that is delivered in Pearson Vue test centres around the UK and does not contain any curriculum or science content. It is made up of five individually timed subtests which look at a range of mental abilities identified by university medical and dental schools as important.  Each subtest contains a number of items in a multiple-choice format.

Subtests: Verbal Reasoning (22 mins), Decision Making (32 mins), Quantitative Reasoning (25 mins), Abstract Reasoning (14 mins) and Situational Judgement (27 mins) including 1 minute instruction time for each subtest. These individual areas look at your ability to critically evaluate information whether numerical or written, your ability to make sound  decisions and judgements as well as identifying relationships and looking at your ability to understand real-life situations and identify important information.

Section Questions Timing Scoring
Verbal Reasoning 44 22 minutes 300-900
Decision Making* 29 32 minutes 300-900
Quantitative Reasoning 36 25 minutes 300-900
Abstract Reasoning 55 14 minutes 300-900
Situational Judgement 69 27 minutes Band 1- 4

The UKCAT is necessary for those applying for Medicine or Dentistry at universities which use it as part of their admission process alongside UCAS applications, academic qualifications and interviews.

Although it is not entirely possible to revise for the UKCAT you sure can practise. So I have gathered some of the best tips that have been used.

  • Start 3-6 weeks in advance of your test 
  • Practise little and often to help develop consistency in timing (2-3 hrs a day)
  • Use Medify https://www.medify.co.uk/ukcat
  • Use Kaplan books and 600 questions book (or borrow some old ukcat books from a library)Image result for ukcat 600 questions
  • Identify your weakest areas early on and give yourself time to really concentrate on them when practising
  • Initially do not place yourself under time constraints just to get a feel of the questions and then Practise under time constraints 
  • Use the UKCAT candidate toolkit on the UKCAT website
  • Try and do all the mock tests before your test date
  • Set yourself a target
  • Be patient 
  • Do not plunge straight into trying the question, try and attempt practise questions after developing an understanding of how to approach them (technique). 
  • Do not spend too much time on a question (if you don’t know how to answer them within 20 seconds move on)
  • Never leave a question blank (i.e. guess if you have to or flag the questions and go back to it after)
  • Do not feel compelled to attend courses, may people have done fine without them but it is at your discretion 
  • Try and take the test early so you can adjust the med schools you want to apply to if need be (I would recommend taking it in the summer holidays)
  • Don’t do more than one mock a day
  • Try and practise using keyboard shortcuts (Alt-N for next and Alt-F for flag, (numlock))

Verbal Reasoning Question– read the question first and pay attention to the wording, try and improve your reading speed and comprehension, 

Situational Judgement – read Good medical practise by the GMC. Remember to use common sense. Only deal with the situation provided in that specific question

Abstract Reasoning – look at the simplest box first. At the start of each set of questions, take a look at Set A and Set B for links between the two groups. This will help you answer all the questions in this section of the test. Consider what the shapes have in common; this can include size, shape, number of items, shading, colour, direction, position, etc.

Quantitative reasoning – practise using an online calculator early on and brush up on basic maths skills e.g. Ratios, percentages, speed equations, conversions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) as well as fractions. Use your notepad during the test to help you work out answers. You can skip difficult questions and return to them later. 

Decision Making was previously included in 2016 as a piloted subtest however now will contribute to your final score if sat in 2017.

Advice for the day – get a good nights sleep, flag questions if you’re not sure, prepare everything you need the night before, try to remain calm, arrive early, use the toilet before, keep an eye on the clock, be comfortable 

2016 Average Scores:

Verbal reasoning: 573
Quantitative reasoning: 690
Abstract reasoning: 630
Situational Judgement: N/A

Total scaled score: 1893

UKCAT Universities

UKCAT is weighed differently in many universities so know what you’re aiming for. The universities that currently use the UKCAT as part of their admissions processes are:  Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, East Anglia, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull York Medical School, Keele, King’s College London, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Queen Mary- University of London, Queen’s University Belfast, Sheffield, Southampton, St. Andrew’s, St. George’s London and Warwick (grad only).

Important Dates for the UKCAT in 2017.:

Registration opens: 2nd May 2017
Testing begins: 3rd July 2017
Registration deadline: 19th September 2017
Bursary application deadline:  19 September 2017
Last test date:  3rd October 2017
UCAS application deadline: 15 October 2017

Cost:

£65 before 31st August 2017
£85 from 1st September 2017 onwards
£115 for Non-EU test-takers

Bursaries are available to cover the cost of the test. See https://www.ukcat.ac.uk/ukcat-test/bursary-scheme/ for application details.

For further information about the UKCAT test and to register* please visit www.ukcat.ac.uk.

Useful Websites:

http://www.kaptest.co.uk/ukcat/what-is-ukcat

https://www.ukcat.ac.uk/

https://www.ukcat.ac.uk/media/1062/using-my-2016-ukcat-result.pdf (UKCAT thresholds)

If you have any questions or know any successful tips, please leave a comment or email us: melaninmedics@gmail.com

 

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