What is the UKCAT?
The UKCAT, or UK Clinical Aptitude Test is used to aid the selection process in medicine and dentistry in the United Kingdom. In this blog we will be looking at the UKCAT registration process, what the test is made up of, how it is assessed and UKCAT preparation and revision tips.
UKCAT are a charity who are looked after by a consortium of universities who use the tests to differentiate between students who wish to gain a place on a medicine or dentistry course with them.
The group was set up in response to growing difficulties in being able to select from high numbers of top achieving students.
The UKCAT say they are committed to fairness and making sure that under represented social groups have a fair chance of embarking on a medicine or dentistry course.
It aims to test certain behaviours and characteristics in students which make them well suited to these industries long term. These are the kind of things that are not tested in academic examinations. It therefore gives these universities an extra insight into which students would be better suited to their highly popular courses when they have a large volume of applicants with top grades.
How and when do I register for the UKCAT?
UCKAT registration 2017 opens on the 2nd May and closes on the 19th September. Candidates can book their tests up to midday on the 2nd of October. The UKCAT test will take place between the 3rd of July and the 3rd of October 2017.
The test is delivered by Pearson VUE; you can go to their site in order to register for the UKCAT.
Candidates will also need to fill out a UKCAT registration questionnaire. Once you have done this, you will receive an e-mail containing a link to book your UKCAT test. You will be able to choose from a selection of UKCAT test centres.
You will need to book either the standard test or the UKCATSEN (UK Clinical Aptitude Test for Special Educational Needs). If you book the UKCATSEN you will be allowed extra time in relation to your medical condition or disability.
People wishing to take the UKCAT are recommended to register and book the test as soon as possible to make sure they get a place at a local test centre.
What is involved in the UKCAT?
The standard UKCAT test is two hours long, and the UKCATSEN is 150 minutes. It is taken on a computer in a multiple choice format. It is made up of five tests, which are split down as follows:
- Verbal Reasoning (22 minutes, SEN 27.5 minutes)
- Decision Making (32 minutes, SEN 40 minutes)
- Quantitative Reasoning (25 minutes, SEN 31.25 minutes)
- Abstract Reasoning (14 minutes, SEN 17.5 minutes)
- Situational Judgement (27 minutes, SEN 33.75 minutes)
These tests are designed to test a whole range of mental abilities that medical and dental colleges place value on.
How is the UKCAT assessed?
The verbal reasoning, decision making, quantitative reasoning and abstract reasoning sections are all marked in the same way. The number of correct answers a candidate gives are counted, with no marks deducted for incorrect answers.
With the situational judgement test, you are awarded full marks if your response matches the correct answer and some marks if you are partly correct. There are also no marks deducted for incorrect answers.
A total score is calculated by summing the individual scores together for the first four sections.
The situational judgement test results will be given in bands, with band 1 being the highest.
Candidates will receive their results at the end of the test.
How to Prepare for the UKCAT
On the UKCAT website you can find a UKCAT plan which gives advice and tips for how to prepare from 4 weeks before right up to the day of the exam itself.
There is also some interactive tutorials and questions on the website to help you get some UKCAT revision and practice.
You could also check out our blog on critical thinking test tips, which will give advice on the type of reasoning that will be required of you in the UKCAT tests.
Top Tips for UKCAT revision
- Use the practice tests to get an idea of the kind of pace you should be working at, as many people do not manage to complete all the questions in the allotted time. Make sure you answer every question.
- For the verbal reasoning tests, you will likely not be familiar with the content that is shown to you. It is a good idea to practice the types of questions (like those we have recommended above) however be prepared to have to interpret new information.
- Brush up on your mathematical skills to help you with the exam in general. You are very likely to be required to make use of your numerical abilities at some point.
- If you are finding a question difficult to answer, try to eliminate answers you know to be wrong or you think are very likely to be wrong. This will increase your chance of being able to find the correct answer.
We wish you the best of luck in your UKCAT or UKCATSEN exams!