UCAT PREPARATION

UCAT Score

WRITTEN BY
Medistudents Team
Feb 21, 2022

Maximise your UCAT score using the power of artificial intelligence.

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

Introducing

The brand new, state-of-the-art, Medistudents AI-Powered adaptive UCAT question bank

Desktop and mobile screenshot of the adaptive UCAT question bank

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

As the most widely used admissions exam for UK medical schools – for Standard Entry Medicine, Medicine with a Gateway Year and Medicine with a Preliminary Year – it’s likely that you’ll need to undertake the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), and consider how your UCAT score will determine which medical schools you can apply to.

This guide will help you to understand how the UCAT is scored, what’s considered a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ UCAT score, and where to apply if you achieve a lower UCAT score.

For more information on the UCAT, including the format, key details relating to booking and undertaking the exam, and how to prepare effectively, visit our UCAT 2022 – Complete Guide.

Within the UCAT section of our website you’ll also find tips and advice on preparing for the UCAT, practice questions and our adaptive UCAT question bank. Unlike traditional question banks, our UCAT question bank uses artificial intelligence to adapt to your strengths and weaknesses, and provide a personalised learning experience. By using a question bank such as this, which is tailored to your needs, you’ll ensure your UCAT preparations are more focused and effective.

UCAT score calculator

The UCAT is marked on the number of correct answers you give, with no negative marking, meaning you will not be penalised for providing incorrect answers.

For the purpose of scoring, the UCAT is separated into ‘cognitive subtests’ – this includes the Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning subtests – and the Situational Judgement subtest.

Cognitive subtest scoring

For the cognitive subtests you’ll receive an individual mark for each section – Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning – and a total score.

As there are different raw marks available for each subtest, these are converted into ‘scale scores’, to give the sections equal weighting.

Each subtest has a common scale score range of 300 – 900. Your total scale score is generated by combining your individual scale scores for each section. Therefore, the total scale score range you can achieve is between 1,200 – 3,600.

The UCAT website provides the following information regarding the UCAT scoring for the cognitive subtests:

UCAT Subtest Number of Questions Scale Score Range Marking
Verbal Reasoning 44 300 – 900 Questions are worth 1 mark each.
Decision Making 29 300 – 900 Questions with one correct answer are worth 1 mark.
Questions with multiple statements are worth 2 marks (1 mark awarded for partially correct answers).
Quantitative Reasoning 36 300 – 900 Questions are worth 1 mark each.
Abstract Reasoning 50 300 – 900 Questions are worth 1 mark each.

Situational Judgement scoring

For the Situational Judgement section, full marks are awarded for responses which match the correct answer, while partial marks are awarded for responses that are close to the correct answer.

Rather than a scale score range, as with the cognitive subtests, the raw scores awarded in the Situational Judgement subtest are expressed as a band. These are graded band 1 – 4 with band 1 being the highest score.

The UCAT website provides the following information regarding the UCAT scoring for the Situational Judgement subtest:

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 cognitive subtests and Situational Judgement subtest scores will be considered separately by medical schools during the selection process. To check how each is used by your chosen medical school, visit their website, or follow the link provided on the UCAT website.

What is a good UCAT score?

Your UCAT score will be considered in relation to your fellow candidates; therefore, what is considered a ‘good’ UCAT score will vary depending on the calibre of students within your examination and application year.

A general rule, however, is that scoring 20 – 30 marks above the average score for each cognitive subtest is a good UCAT score. The most recent average UCAT scores and an example of a good UCAT score can be found in the section below.

For the Situational Judgement subtest, it’s worth noting that some medical schools will not consider applicants who score a band 4. Generally, a band 2 or above is considered a good score for the Situational Judgement section of the UCAT.

The UCAT website shows the percentage of candidates who achieved each band during the 2021 examination period (up to 29 September 2021) as follows:

Band Percentage of candidates
Band 1 14%
Band 2 36%
Band 3 33%
Band 4 16%
Total number of candidates 37,230

Average UCAT scores

The following is the mean scale scores for each of the cognitive subtests during the 2021 examination period, up to 29 September 2021, according to the statistics provided on the UCAT website:

UCAT Subtest Average Scale Score
Verbal Reasoning 572
Decision Making 610
Quantitative Reasoning 665
Abstract Reasoning 651
Total Average for Cognitive Subtests 2,499

Remember: each subtest has a scale score range of 300 – 900 and therefore the total scale score range is 1,200 – 3,600.

A total of 37,230 UCAT examinations were taken during this period.

An example, therefore, of a good UCAT score for the Verbal Reasoning subtests within the 2021 examination year, where the average scale score for this subtest was 572, would be 592 – 602.

What is a bad UCAT score?

As with a good UCAT score, a bad score is considered in relation to the average score, and therefore how others perform during the exam. Scoring 20 – 30 marks below the average score for each subtest would be significantly below average and therefore considered a less competitive score for the UCAT.

Many medical schools include a threshold score for the UCAT within their entry requirements, meaning you must achieve a certain score to progress in the application process. The threshold score often changes each year but you can usually find the previous year’s score on the university’s website. Or alternatively, medical schools will rank applicants, who meet the eligibility criteria, based on their UCAT score.

In cases such as this, where the UCAT score is an important element of the selection process, it’s unlikely that a low UCAT score will be sufficient. Therefore, effective preparation, using high quality practice resources, such as our adaptive UCAT question bank, is key.

Where to apply with a low UCAT score?

If you do achieve a below average UCAT score, don’t panic.

UCAT scores are used differently by medical school. While some will rank applicants or set a threshold UCAT score, for others your UCAT score will be a less significant factor, and may simply be considered alongside your academic achievement, personal statement and interview performance, without a required threshold score.

Some examples of medical schools which do not set a minimum UCAT score and therefore may be a good option if you achieve a low mark are:

  • Aston University
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh – no minimum score for the cognitive subtests, however, applicants who score Band 4 in the Situational Judgement subtest will not be considered.

You should always check specific entry requirements for individual medical schools before applying. You can find more information on how each medical school uses the UCAT score on their websites. The UCAT website provides a link to each one here.

An alternative option is applying to a medical school which does not include the UCAT as part of their entry criteria. The following do not include any admissions exams within their entry requirements:

  • University of Buckingham
  • University of Central Lancashire

However, the majority of universities which do not require the UCAT include a different admissions exam within their entry criteria, which you would then need to complete (for example: BMAT).

It’s worth noting that you will be aware of your UCAT score prior to submitting your UCAS application. So, as long as you consult the medical school’s entry requirements, you’ll be able to use this to inform your decision making and help you select the most suitable medical school/s.

With a low UCAT score you will still have options, albeit more limited, so don’t worry if you don’t achieve the score you hoped for. However, as mentioned previously, preparing effectively for the UCAT will give you the best chance of achieving the score you deserve and ensuring you can apply to your chosen medical school.

Don’t forget to check out our UCAT page for more information on the UCAT and how to prepare effectively, including our UCAT question bank to support you to achieve the best UCAT score you can.

Contents

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

The Medistudents 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.

COMING SOON

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 Medistudents 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 Medistudents 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.

Earn back the cost of your subscription and more with our referral scheme

We know that once you’ve tried our adaptive UCAT question bank, you’ll want to tell your friends about it.

To make this easier, we’re giving every student who signs up a unique referral code to give to their friends.

Your friends will benefit with an exclusive discount and you’ll earn money every time someone signs up using your code.

A resource you can trust

The Medistudents 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.

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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 Medistudents 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.

What if my exam gets delayed by COVID?

If your exam gets delayed by COVID, we’ll extend your subscription for free until the new date of your exam.