UCAT PREPARATION

UCAT Practice Test

WRITTEN BY
Medistudents Team
Apr 18, 2021

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Free UCAT Practice Tests 2021

The following are free UCAT practice questions, with examples of the types of questions you’ll receive in each of the subtests, for you to have a go at.

For more UCAT practice questions like these, sign up for our adaptive question bank. Powered by artificial intelligence, it offers personalised learning by adapting the questions to reflect your strengths and weaknesses, and ensuring that you focus on areas that are likely to have the biggest impact on the UCAT score you achieve.

If you’re planning to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), our guide below will provide you with some key information.

The UCAT is the most widely used admissions test for applicants applying to UK medical schools and is used in the selection process for a growing number of international universities; therefore, it’s likely that you’ll be required to complete the UCAT as part of your application to study medicine.

What is the UCAT test?

The UCAT assesses an applicant’s mental abilities, characteristics, attitudes and professional behaviour and is used in the selection process by some medical schools to ensure candidates' suitability for studying medicine.

Delivered in Pearson VUE test centres throughout the UK and internationally, the UCAT is a 2 hour multiple choice, computer-based exam, which is separated into 5 timed subtests. The subtests are:

  1. Verbal Reasoning
  2. Decision Making
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Abstract Reasoning
  5. Situational Judgement

You can find more information about each of the subtests under the relevant subheading below.

When is the UCAT 2021?

UCAT dates

For applicants applying to study medicine in 2022, the UCAT assessment period will run from 26 July 2021 to 29 September 2021.

For more information about the dates for registration, booking, bursary scheme and access arrangement applications visit our UCAT 2021 – Complete Guide.

How to prepare for the UCAT test?

Given that you can only undertake the UCAT once per year, it’s crucial that you achieve a score which enables you to apply to the medical school/s of your choice; therefore, it’s important that you prepare effectively as this will be essential to ensuring that you perform well during the exam.

Our UCAT Preparation blog offers tips on how you can prepare well for your UCAT test, but the key is to ensure that you allow adequate time to revise. The UCAT website advises that you allow six weeks to prepare for the exam, dedicating approximately one hour per day to your UCAT revision, as the highest scoring candidates spend approximately 25 – 30 hours preparing. You may find that you need more or less time than this, or that you prefer to study for longer periods each session; by ensuring that you plan for the UCAT early you’ll give yourself the opportunity to adapt your revision plan accordingly and ensure that you revise as much as you need to before undertaking the exam.

You’ll undoubtedly need to complete practice questions and tests during your UCAT preparations – you can find more information about these below – but the UCAT website also provides additional advice and resources which will help you to prepare well for the exam. For example, they offer a tour tutorial, which allows you to familiarise yourself with the test format and the computer functions, and a question tutorial, which provides advice on how to approach each section of the exam; both of which will support you to understand and navigate the exam more easily. Similarly, the guidance provided which outlines what will happen on the test day will ensure that you feel relaxed and prepared on the day of the exam.

If you’re looking for UCAT practice questions, our artificial intelligence powered, adaptive question bank offers personalised learning to ensure effective UCAT preparation.

UCAT subtests

As mentioned above, the UCAT test is separated into the following 5 timed subtests, each aimed at assessing different skills and attributes required for studying medicine:

UCAT Practice Test – Verbal Reasoning

Within the verbal reasoning subtest, you’ll be given a short passage to read, from which you’ll be expected to critically evaluate the information and draw conclusions based on this. Following each passage, you’ll be required to answer four questions, using the information in the text only.

You can find more information in our Verbal Reasoning blog.

UCAT Practice Test – Decision Making

The decision making subtest focuses on questions which assess your ability to analyse information and make informed decisions or judgments. The information may be presented in text, charts, tables, graphs or diagrams, with related questions.

You can find more information in our Decision Making blog.

UCAT Practice Test – Quantitative Reasoning

The quantitative reasoning subtest focuses on your problem solving abilities in relation to numerical information. The information will be presented in tables, charts and/or graphs and you’ll be required to solve problems and answer questions in relation to the data given.

You can find more information in our Quantitative Reasoning blog.

UCAT Practice Test – Abstract Reasoning

The abstract reasoning subtest requires you to identify relationships and patterns within information which includes irrelevant and distracting elements; therefore, using your critical analysis skills and adapting your judgements as you go. The information will be presented as abstract shapes with one of four different question types to answer in relation to them.

You can find more information in our Abstract Reasoning blog.

UCAT Practice Test – Situational Judgement

The situational judgement subtest assesses your ability to identify critical factors and respond appropriately to real world situations. You’ll be required to demonstrate that you possess the required personal attributes, including qualities such as integrity, resilience and adaptability. Within the subtest, you’ll be presented with scenarios, each with up to six related questions which you’ll be required to respond to.

You can find more information in our Situational Judgement blog.

UCAT scoring

When you undertake the UCAT you’ll receive two separate marks: one will be a score for the ‘cognitive subtests’ – made up for the verbal reasoning, decision making, quantitative reasoning and abstract reasoning subtests – and the other for the situational judgement test.

Cognitive subtests scoring

Within each of the four cognitive subtests, you’ll receive one mark for each correct answer you give; and, as there’s no negative marking, you don’t need to worry about being penalised for incorrect answers.

The number of questions, and therefore the number of available marks, varies between the four subtests, making a comparison between the raw marks impossible. Therefore, raw marks for each of the subsets are converted into a ‘scale score’, allowing them to share a common range (from 300 – 900) and subsequently generate a total scale score for the cognitive subtests.

The following table shows how the cognitive subtests are scored, according to the UCAT website:

Cognitive Subtests Number of questions Scale Score Range
Verbal Reasoning 44 300 – 900
Decision Making 29 300 – 900
Quantitative Reasoning 36 300 – 900
Verbal Reasoning 55 300 – 900
Total Scale Score Range 1,200 – 3,600

Situational judgement subtest scoring

The situational judgement subtest is scored differently to the others, with the opportunity to score partial marks if you answer close to the correct answer, and of course full marks for the correct answer.

Within the situationals judgement subtest, the raw score (i.e. the number of marks that you achieve) is expressed as a band, graded band 1 – 4, with band 1 being the highest score.

The UCAT website provides the following ‘interpretation’ of performance in relation to each of the available bands:

Band 1 Those in Band 1 demonstrated an excellent level of performance, showing similar judgement in most cases to the panel of experts.
Band 2 Those in Band 2 demonstrated a good, solid level of performance, showing appropriate judgement frequently, with many responses matching model answers.
Band 3 Those in Band 3 demonstrated a modest level of performance, with appropriate judgement shown for some questions and substantial differences from ideal responses for others.
Band 4 The performance of those in Band 4 was low, with judgement tending to differ substantially from ideal responses in many cases.

As well as being scored differently, your situational judgement subtest will also be considered separately to your performance in the cognitive subtests within your medical school application. Make sure you're familiar with the entry requirements of your chosen medical school before you apply; remember, you’ll have your UCAT results before you submit your application, so ensure that you meet the requirements given for both the cognitive subtests and the situational judgement section.

What is a good UCAT score for 2020?

Each year, what is considered a ‘good’ UCAT score will vary, depending on the overall performance during that year’s exam. As a general rule, scoring approximately 20 – 30 marks above the average score for each of the cognitive subtests will be a ‘good’ score; however, this changes depending on the calibre of students and therefore the average score as a result.

To give you an idea of the average score, the following are the UCAT ‘mean scores’ for 2020, up to 25 October 2020:

Cognitive Subtest Mean Score
Verbal Reasoning 570
Decision Making 625
Quantitative Reasoning 664
Abstract Reasoning 653
Total Mean Score 2,511

Remember all cognitive subtests have a scale score range of 300 – 900 and a total range of 1,200 – 3,600.

The UCAT website also provides details of the percentage of candidates in each band for the situational judgement subtest for 2020 (up to 25 October 2020):

Band Percentage of candidates
Band 1 30%
Band 2 34%
Band 3 24%
Band 4 9%

You can find more information about the UCAT statistics for 2020, including the decile ranking, on their website.

Is the UCAT test hard?

The UCAT is designed as a tool to assist medical schools in ensuring that prospective candidates have the required characteristics to make them a good doctor. The exam is challenging, and understandably can be intimidating, as it can be an important element of your medical school application; remember this won’t be the case for all medical schools though, the emphasis placed on the exam and the required score will vary, and some medical schools don’t include an admissions exam in their entry requirements (this is usually for ‘medicine with a gateway year’ programmes).

Despite the challenging nature of the exam, by preparing well and undertaking plenty of practice questions, you’ll become familiar with the exam and what’s expected in each subtest, making the whole process less daunting and ensuring that you perform well.

Taking a UCAT Practice Test

How should I study for UCAT?

As mentioned earlier, tools such as the UCAT’s tour tutorial and question tutorial are useful for familiarising yourself with the test format, computer functions and the subtest sections. Similarly, having an understanding of what questions you’ll face and what will be tested in each subtest, will support you to prepare well for the UCAT. The most useful resources, however, will be UCAT practice questions and practice tests, while studying for the exam.

How many UCAT Questions do I need to do?

Generally, the more questions you can do while studying for the UCAT the better. It’ll help you to become more familiar with the questions and accustomed to the time pressures of the exam and how quickly you need to respond, as time is a crucial factor in the UCAT exam.

While it’s important to get as much practice as you can, you should focus on identifying the areas which you need to practice the most and dedicate more time to these, rather than completing an equal amount of practice questions for each subtest. This way you can work on the areas which you need to improve and ensure that you score well across all subtests of the UCAT. Our adaptive question bank will work out your strengths and weaknesses for you and ensure that you spend time practising areas which are likely to have the biggest impact on your UCAT score.  

Finally, remember that the level of practice required will vary depending on your strengths and weakness, so try to focus on giving yourself adequate time so that you feel prepared and confident for the exam, without worrying about how much revision time others are undertaking.

Final tips to do well in UCAT Practice Tests

To help you to get the most out of your preparations and UCAT practice tests, our UCAT Preparation blog will provide you with more information on how best to prepare and plan your revision. We also have information for the individual subtests – Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement Test – with tips for each area of the exam.

For more general information about the UCAT, visit our UCAT 2021 – Complete Guide and the UCAT website.

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