UCAT Preparation: A Step-By-Step Guide

Medistudents Team
Jan 26, 2024

Maximise your UCAT score using the power of artificial intelligence.

The Medibuddy AI-powered UCAT question bank is the only one on the market that uses AI algorithms to deeply analyse your ability levels and create a personalised learning journey specifically tailored to boost your UCAT score.

"The question bank really mirrored the real UCAT exam style. It was very comprehensive and helpful. I have used many other ones where they used almost the same questions but your question bank was completely unique"

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Does any of this sound like you?

  • I keep answering UCAT questions but don’t seem to be improving.
  • I need to score well in the UCAT but don’t have time to answer thousands of questions.
  • I don’t know which areas of the UCAT to focus on.

What if you could...

  • Have questions hand-picked for you based on your individual strengths and weaknesses.
  • Save countless hours by not wasting time on topics that won’t improve your exam score.
  • See a sophisticated analysis of your skill level for each area of the UCAT.

The Medibuddy AI-powered UCAT question bank provides this and more.


The free state-of-the-art, Medibuddy AI-Powered adaptive UCAT question bank

Desktop and mobile screenshot of the adaptive UCAT question bank

“The new [Medibuddy] adaptive UCAT question bank made my revision much more efficient and it helped me get better and quicker at answering questions”

“I used the Abstract Reasoning section as I found the website the night before my test and I was pretty bad at AR. In my official exam my AR was my 2nd best section at 860! Overall, I thought the website was a very useful resource from what I saw and I liked the algorithm that showed skill in particular question types.”

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Why use the Medibuddy adaptive UCAT question bank?

Did you know that if you spend an average of 2 minutes answering and absorbing the explanation of each question in a question bank, it will take you 333 hours to get through 10k questions!?

No wonder the vast majority of people don’t answer anywhere near 10k questions before their exam!

We surveyed 100s of medical students and asked them what their biggest issue was when preparing for the UCAT.

Over 90% said that because the UCAT wasn’t a knowledge-based exam, they could answer thousands of questions but never feel like they were getting anywhere.

The trouble with standard question banks is that everyone is given the same questions to prepare with, with no consideration of what skills or topics each person is actually struggling with.

However, everyone has a different baseline ability. You might struggle with quantitative reasoning, whereas your friend might be a maths wizard. With a standard question bank, you’ll both answer the same QR questions, in the same order, meaning you’ll be left struggling while your friend doesn’t feel stretched.

No wonder so many people can find preparing for the UCAT frustrating!

The Medibuddy adaptive UCAT question bank is here to change all that.

We recognise that the vast majority of students don’t complete all 10,000 questions in a question bank.

It’s therefore vitally important that the questions you do answer are relevant to your skill and ability level.

We’ll ensure that in the areas you’re struggling, you’ll master the basics first. Whereas in your stronger areas, you’ll be immediately pushed.

This will mean that every minute of your revision is turbo charged to maximise your UCAT score.

More than a just question bank that tells you the correct answers

As you progress through the question bank, you’ll be able to see a sophisticated estimate of your current skill level for each subsection of the UCAT. When other question banks give you a performance review, they are simply telling you how many questions you’ve got right or wrong. 

We do things differently.

Our algorithm will tell you exactly what your ability level is for each area of the UCAT. We calculate this based on the actual difficulty of the questions you are answering and it’s done in real time, so you can be sure that the work you’re putting in is actually translating into real gains in your UCAT score.

The Medibuddy UCAT question bank is the only one available which shows you if you’re actually getting better at answering harder questions.

If you’re applying to medical school for September 2025 it’s likely that you’ll need to undertake The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) before submitting your application, and therefore you may be starting to think about UCAT preparation. The majority of UK Universities include UCAT as part of their selection process for prospective medical students; our Medicine Entry Requirements blog shows you at a glance which medical schools include UCAT or alternative admissions exams (BMAT or GAMSAT) in their entry criteria.

What is the UCAT?

The UCAT is a 2 hour computer-based test which assesses your mental ability, characteristics, attitudes and professional behaviours required for the medical profession. The test format is multiple choice questions and is separated into five timed subtests. The test can only be taken once per year, so the score you obtain will be used on your UCAS application, therefore sufficient preparation is advised before undertaking the exam.

How to prepare for the UCAT

Once you’ve identified if your chosen universities require you to complete the UCAT as part of the application process, you need to plan when you will take the exam and how you will prepare for it. Make sure you are aware of the deadlines for registering, booking and completing the UCAT; more information about the UCAT deadline dates for 2024 are included under the ‘UCAT Test Dates’ section below. For some quick tips on preparing for the UCAT, we’ve condensed this information into six simple tips, which can be found in our How to Prepare guide.

It’s tempting when beginning your preparation for any exam to jump straight into practice questions and tests, but focusing on the following first will help you to build a solid foundation for your UCAT practice:

Take time to get familiar with the test functions

Understanding how to navigate the online test system will save you valuable time during the UCAT, so it’s worth investing time at the beginning of your UCAT preparations to become familiar with its functions. The UCAT website has a ‘Tour Tutorial’ which allows you to explore the exam functions, including how to answer and review questions on the system.

Make sure you understand the requirements of each subtest

The UCAT is an aptitude based exam developed to assess different skills required for the medical profession. It does not require you to learn new theory or to demonstrate your academic ability; UCAT preparation should focus on developing techniques to answer the varying questions in each subtest.

The UCAT is separated into the following five subtests:

  1. Verbal Reasoning
    The UCAT Verbal Reasoning subtest assesses your ability to interpret passages of text and draw specific conclusions from the information presented.
  2. Decision Making
    The UCAT Decision Making subtest assesses your problem-solving skills and your ability to make decisions within complex situations.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
    The UCAT Quantitative Reasoning subtest assesses your ability to apply mathematical skills in order to solve problems.
  4. Abstract Reasoning
    The UCAT Abstract Reasoning subtest assesses your ability to identify patterns and relationships to identify which information is reliable and relevant and make judgements based on this.
  5. Situational Judgement
    The UCAT Situational Judgement subtest assesses your capacity to understand real world situations and respond appropriately.

Understanding what is required in each of the five subtests within the UCAT will allow you to prepare for the questions and develop strategies to support you. Our UCAT Practice Test has a full breakdown of each subtest, including the types of questions you will be given and the timings for each.

Developing an understanding of the best strategies for each subtest, before throwing yourself into practice tests, will help you to answer the questions more effectively and prevent you from forming inefficient methods.

Make a comprehensive study plan

Creating a UCAT study plan on a laptop

Before starting your UCAT studying it’s worth spending some time creating a detailed study plan, outlining when and what you will study during each session, to ensure you not only plan an adequate amount of time to revise but that your sessions are also focused, therefore making them more productive.

There is more information on how to revise for the UCAT in the ‘UCAT Revision’ section below, but when creating your study plan it is advised that you timetable regular study time for your UCAT preparations and only focus on one subtest during each study session, to enable you to cover it fully.

How long to prepare for UCAT

The UCAT website states that the highest scoring candidates dedicated approximately 25 - 30 hours to preparing for the UCAT; therefore they advise allowing six weeks to fully prepare for the exam, with approximately one hour per day study time. However, this is just one opinion and there is varying advice from former applicants with some stating that as little as four weeks is sufficient to prepare for the UCAT. It is worth noting that those students who studied for fewer weeks dedicated more time per day to their preparations, so if you intend to undertake your studying over four weeks you’ll need to commit to studying for longer periods each day (approximately two hours per day during this time).

You should use advice regarding recommended preparation time for the UCAT as a guide to support you to plan an effective timetable of study but remember to adapt them to suit your preferred way of studying. Consider how frequently you will study and how long you’re most productive for (are you better studying in short bursts or do you need longer to immerse yourself in it?) to support you to plan a timetable which will work for you and your study needs.

Crucially, you need to create a study plan which will be most effective for you, ensuring that you dedicate enough time to preparing well for the UCAT.

UCAT test dates 2024

The UCAT testing window for 2024 is 08 July – 26 September 2024.

Consider when you’d prefer to take the exam and plan your UCAT revision timetable around this.

You can find a full breakdown of the UCAT dates for 2024 in our UCAT Complete Guide, along with more information on UCAT fees, bursary and access arrangements.

UCAT revision

Once you’re familiar with the test functions and different subtests, you can begin to put your study plan into action and start practising for the exam. During your UCAT revision you should focus on gaining experience of answering the different questions in each subtest and developing techniques and speed when answering questions.

How to revise for UCAT

The most useful resources for supporting your UCAT preparations are UCAT practice questions. These give you the opportunity to:

✔️ become familiar with the five subtests

✔️ develop your responses to different types of questions

✔️ explore how you can improve your answers or correct any mistakes

✔️ identify types of questions or subtests that you find more challenging

This will support you to continue to improve during your UCAT preparations. For more information, read our UCAT Practice blog.

The free, adaptive, Medibuddy UCAT question bank does the hard work for you. While you complete practice questions across each of the subtest areas, our artificial intelligence will automatically identify your strengths and weaknesses, and tailor your learning to suit these. By identifying areas for development and personalising your learning to meet this, you’ll be directed to focus on the areas which are likely to have the biggest impact on your UCAT score. You can find out more about the free Medibuddy question bank here.

UCAT tips

Finally, some useful tips and advice for preparing for the UCAT:

  1. Use your revision time wisely
    Create an effective study plan and use it to stay focused on revising for the individual subtests. Things such as UCAT books are great for learning strategies for tackling each of the subtests, but avoid flicking aimlessly through a book and make sure this doesn’t replace your dedicated study time.
  2. Take the UCAT in the summer
    The benefit of undertaking the UCAT during the summer, if possible, is that you’re likely to have a break from your usual term-time commitments, eliminating these distractions and providing additional time to dedicate to your UCAT revision, which may allow you to prepare more effectively.
  3. Reflect on each revision session
    Try to spend a few minutes after each revision session to identify areas for development. Making a note of particular questions or subtests that you’re finding more difficult will help you to identify areas which you need to focus on more, so you can adapt your study plan to include more time for these. Remember, the adaptive Medibuddy question bank does this for you automatically, by identifying your areas for development and providing tailored questions to further your learning.
  4. Brush up on your maths skills
    While the UCAT does not aim to test your academic ability, strong maths skills will support you with several areas within the exam, including the decision making and quantitative reasoning subtests. Quick mental arithmetic will also save you valuable time during the test, so it’s well worth making time to practise your maths skills if you need to.

Thousands of questions and comprehensive answers written specifically for UCAT preparation, with more getting added.

The Medibuddy platform has been designed to replicate the actual exam, so you won’t get any surprises on the day.

Each question and explanation you receive will be chosen by our AI algorithm, specifically for you.

The only question bank available that tells you if you’re actually getting better and not just how many questions you’ve answered correctly.

We don’t just pick the questions for our mock exams at random, we follow a similar process to the actual exam board by calibrating every question for difficulty, based on the abilities of 100s of medical students. This means your score will be a much more accurate reflection of the real thing.


You can access our platform anywhere and it works on desktops, tablets and phones. This means you can revise at home or on the go.

When the Medibuddy team were preparing for the UCAT, working out where to start was quite overwhelming. The online resources offered thousands of practice questions and lots of generic advice. However, the only way of getting help that was specifically targeted at you was by paying for expensive tutoring.

This didn’t seem right to us. The personalised learning you get with a tutor has been shown to improve exam results across all fields of education. So why when it came to the UCAT, an exam that is vital for medical school, should it only be available to those who could afford a tutor?

The good news is artificial intelligence has changed everything! Super smart algorithms can now identify exactly where your strengths and weaknesses lie, ensuring that every minute of your revision is focused on areas that will have the biggest impact on your exam score.

Here at Medibuddy we’ve used the latest educational technology and combined it with our deep understanding of the UCAT, to produce the first ever AI-powered, adaptive UCAT question bank.

Our sophisticated question bank platform will adapt seamlessly with every question you answer. As you improve, the type and difficulty of the questions you receive will change with you, ensuring that at all times, you only receive the most relevant questions.

A resource you can trust

The Medibuddy team has been creating educational resources for medical students and doctors for years. We’ve helped thousands of students pass their exams and we’ve put all of that experience into our UCAT question bank.

We stay up to date on all the latest educational science, so you can be sure that the techniques we use are state of the art.

How is our UCAT Question Bank free?

We know how expensive applying to medicine can be, so we do our bit by keeping our UCAT question bank FREE.

We’re able to do this by charging a little more on our educational courses and question banks for qualified doctors. We strongly believe that no one should be priced out of medicine. Our doctors agree and are happy to subsidise our educational resources for students.


UCAT Question Bank

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the algorithm work out what my ability level is?

As you progress through the question bank, our algorithm will be performing complicated statistical analyses of the way you answer questions. All of our questions have been tested on hundreds of 1st year medical students so the algorithm knows exactly how difficult each question is.

The algorithm looks at how you answer questions across a range of different difficulties to work out what your current ability level is.

How does the algorithm know what questions to give me?

Every question in our database has been tagged based on the skills required to answer it and its difficulty level. Once the algorithm has worked out what your ability level is and the areas you need to target, it ensures that the questions you receive focus on these areas. As you get better, the algorithm adapts with you, moving you onto new areas based on your needs.

How similar to the UCAT are the Medibuddy questions and explanations?

Every single question in our question bank is written specifically for UCAT preparation and is reviewed by our editorial team to ensure it is as close a match as possible to the UCAT standard. We don’t borrow questions that have been written to prepare for other exams. In addition to this, all of our questions are calibrated by 100s of first year medical students who have recently taken the UCAT, which allows us to remove any outliers and ensure consistency.