The UK clinical aptitude test (UKCAT)

Article _university (MML)

Thinking about studying medicine at university?

Keen to apply to study medicine? Potential medics need to check out the additional university admissions tests required generally and by specific universities.

What is the UK clinical aptitude test (UKCAT) used for?

Success as a doctor or a veterinarian depends on much more than just academic ability. The UK clinical aptitude test assesses whether you have the mental abilities, attitudes and behaviours needed to succeed as a medical practitioner.

The UKCAT is used alongside A-Level grades and UCAS personal statements, to help universities to identify the candidates most likely to do well and benefit from their chosen course.

What courses require the UK clinical aptitude test?

The UKCAT is used by 26 of the 33 UK medical schools and universities, from St Andrews to Brighton and Sussex, so chances are you will be required to sit the test. Even if you are not required to sit the test by your university, it could be in your interest to take it anyway, as a good grade will enhance your application.

Check out this full list of universities using the UKCAT.

What is the format of the UK clinical aptitude test?

The UKCAT is taken online, and takes 2 hours to complete. It does not test your knowledge or your understanding of science, but rather tests your attitudes and mental abilities.

There are five multiple choice sections to the test, which are:

  • Verbal Reasoning – 44 questions / 22 minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning – 36 questions / 23 minutes
  • Abstract Reasoning – 55 questions / 14 minutes
  • Decision Analysis – 28 questions / 34 minutes
  • Situational Judgment – 71 questions / 27 minutes

It is very important to pace yourself through the test to ensure you have enough time to reach the end. The test is all multiple choice and there is no penalty for a wrong answer, so you should always have a guess rather than leave a blank.

How and when do you take the UK clinical aptitude test?

Since the UKCAT is available only online, you can take it anytime up to the deadline, which for 2014 university entry is 4th October 2013. However, you can only take the test once each year, so you should make sure that you are fit and well and fully prepared. If you are unsuccessful in gaining a university place, you will need to resit the UKCAT when you reapply the following year.

UKCATs are taken at official test centres across the UK. Results are available online straight after you have completed your test.

What does the UK clinical aptitude test cost?

It costs £65 to sit the UKCAT before 31st August 2013, and £80 if you leave it late and take the test between 1st September and the deadline of 4th October.

Bursaries are available to cover your test fees under a range of circumstances.

How to prepare for the UK clinical aptitude test

Since the UKCAT is an assessment of attitudes and abilities, rather than knowledge, you can’t really revise for it. However, candidates are encouraged to spend some time practicing for the test. There are a number of ways to practice, including official practice tests online and even a UKCAT practice app available at the iTunes store.

A toolkit containing further assistance is available, including the Official UKCAT Guide.