What is the UCAT?

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a test most universities will require as a part of your medical application. A testing two-hour computerised examination that judges the skills that you will employ as a doctor, including: verbal reasoning, decision making, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning and situational judgement. Though the questions may not be super challenging it is the time constraints and pressure that make the test especially tricky for all aspiring medics.

It is important to get to grips with the different components of the test and always remember that you definitely can practice and hone your approach to help boost your score. Our team have put together a number of resources to facilitate your progress through the UCAT including the UCAT Masterclass!


UCAT Masterclass Course Content

A comprehensive Medic Launch course delving into all the key areas needed to succeed in the UCAT exam for prospective Medical students. If you are looking to improve your grade, master difficult areas of the exam or simply wanting to benefit from our expert UCAT tips, then this is the course for you!

Advice from a UCAT Expert

Speed + Accuracy = Strong QR

How to Approach VR

Tips for Abstract Reasoning

How to Master DM

Tackling Situational Judgement

Register for an interactive workshop covering all your concerns related to the UCAT exam with a chance to put your skills to test.

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UCAT Masterclass Course

Sign up for our UCAT Masterclass Course which has been designed to cover all the essential learning points related to the UCAT assessment. Led by our very own UCAT expert who will guide you through every stage by providing in-depth tips and exam technique advice to help you prepare optimally for the exam. 

Finish off the day with practice mock questions whilst taking benefit from our interactive, entertaining and individualised teaching style. 


How to apply for the UCAT exam

In order to book your exam, you will have to head over to the official UCAT website where there is a step by step guide on registering. Please note that there is a small window during the academic year in which you can register for your exam. If you miss this timeframe, you will not be able to sit the exam that year, and the exam board do not make any exceptions for this. 

Before you pay and book, check out this list of criteria to see if you apply for the official UCAT bursary scheme. 


Abstract Reasoning

The abstract reasoning section consists of 55 questions based around shapes and pattern recognition. It is designed to assess how well candidates can recognise patterns and whether they are able to manipulate them to find other patterns that fit the sequence. Observational skills are an important aspect within medicine and careful consideration of patterns in the abstract reasoning section will allow you to score highly.  

There are four different types of questions in this section including:

  • > You are provided with a sequence and you have to decide which test shape comes next in the sequence.
  • > You are given two sets of shapes and each have their own common pattern (the pattern in set A will oppose the patterns seen in set B)
  • > Two more question types

The Medic Launch SCRANS Method:

      • > Shape
      • > Colour
      • > Rotation
      • > Arrangement/angles
      • > Number
      • > Size

Tips and Tricks:

      • > Detect the patterns first – Adopting this approach will help you answer the questions accurately.  
      • Practice in non-timed conditions – Timing is key but this section should be practiced first in non-timed conditions, so you are familiar with how you have to identify patterns.
      • Manage your time wisely – If you cannot spot the pattern then guesstimate, flag for review, move on and revisit later.
      • Avoid distractor shapes – Within the sets you will come across distractor shapes that can be quite off-putting to the naked eye. Stay focussed and systematic in your approach.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section of the exam consists of 44 questions. You will be given around a total of 11 passages of varying length with approximately four questions per passage. There are essentially two different types of questions that could come up including: 

> ‘True, false, can’t tell’ questions 

> ‘Comprehension style’ questions

Read online newspapers and journals: It is possible that you will have done little to no exams on a computer up till now so practicing to read from a desktop or laptop screen is a great way to prepare.

Practice speed reading: This will save lots of time if you can speed read attentively with full comprehension.

Never assume or use prior knowledge: Use simply what is in the text only.

Allocate time smartly: ‘True, false, can’t tell’ are generally easier compared to ‘comprehension’ questions and therefore prioritise and secure the marks for these first.

Understand what you are reading and do not be passive: Stay focussed or risk wasting your time by having to re-read something twice.


Quantitative Reasoning

The QR section of the UCAT assesses your mathematical skills looking at four main areas including algebra, statistics, number and geometry. Candidates will have the option to use the UCAT calculator to facilitate with problem solving of challenging mathematical scenarios but will also need to employ mental arithmetic techniques. 

Tips for Quantitative Reasoning:

> Work smart: If the answer options available are a range of values, estimate the answer and select the option closest to the estimated answer.

> Be smart with the whiteboard: There is no need to show your working out, so keep your working out to a minimum when working on your whiteboard.

> Mental arithmetic wins: The calculator will slow you down so do as much mental arithmetic as possible!


Decision Making

  • Critics will claim that this section of the UCAT assessment is strange and ‘quirky’ in nature whereas we feel it is an opportunity to really shine if you have put in the preparation. Candidates are given 29 questions and approximately 31 minutes to test your logical skills as well as your ability to evaluate and analyse statistical text. Decision making is indeed a key part of being a doctor and it is vital that your skills are sharp in order to perform your best!
  • In this section, questions will consist of texts, charts, tables, graphs and diagrams. You will be given four choices to select a correct answer from. Though questions can vary in this section, there are six main styles of questions you could be tested on. 


This includes:

      • > Logical puzzles 
      • > Syllogisms 
      • > Interpreting information 
      • > Probability reasoning 
      • > Venn diagrams 
      • > Evaluating arguments

Situational Judgement

Situational Judgement is an assessment employed throughout medical training at all levels to measure whether candidates can understand real-life situations through the lens of good ethics and moral values. 

The UCAT situational judgement test has been designed to assess several areas predominantly around principles outlined in the GMC Good Medical Practice document which we recommend reading up on.

This section of the assessment is marked using a banding system with a band 1 being the highest grade and a band 4 being the lowest grade.

The key areas assessed include: 

        • > Confidentiality
        • > Professionalism
        • > Team work
        • > Non compliance
        • > Distressed patients
        • > Miscommunication
        • > Coping with pressure