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The UCAT (with Free UCAT Questions)
What is the UCAT (UKCAT)?
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), which was previously known as the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is a multiple choice, timed, a computerised exam that candidates for medical or dental UK universities may be required to take, depending on the university’s requirements. The UCAT (UKCAT) is made up of five different sections and is designed to evaluate your cognitive abilities. It offers universities an insight into finding candidates that have the most appropriate mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviour required to be successful in a clinical career. Continue reading to explore our Free UCAT Questions.
The UCAT (UKCAT) does not contain any curriculum or science content. Therefore, no prior revision of sciences, such as Biology or Chemistry, is required. It focuses on exploring the cognitive powers of candidates and other attributes considered to be valuable for healthcare professionals. To get a good idea of the style and difficulty of the questions, try out our Free UCAT Questions below.
The UCAT (UKCAT) is provided by Pearson Vue and is taken at Pearson Vue’s centres. Score results are provided immediately upon completion of the exam. Scores are sent directly to the university or universities to which you are applying. More generalised information can be found on Pearson Vue’s website, https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
We have confirmation that the UCAT 2020 will go ahead as planned this year.
There will, however, be two major changes:
- Candidates will have the option of sitting the test at a Pearson Vue Test Centre (with the necessary infection-control and PPE) or can choose to sit the test at home. If you sit the test at home, you will be observed by an invigilator via webcam and microphone to ensure no cheating.
- Following a retraction of a previous statement, candidates WILL be allowed the use of a whiteboard and pen, similar to previous years. In addition, this year, you will be given an “online scratchpad” which is similar to an online notepad. This will be directly linked to their test screen, to ensure no cheating. More information on this will follow.
The UCAT (UKCAT) test assesses a range of cognitive and mental abilities identified important by Medical and Dental Schools. There is no curriculum content as the test examines innate skills. Despite this, we recommend thorough preparation and practice prior to the test. Each subtest is in a multiple-choice format and is separately timed.
Here is the breakdown of the UCAT (UKCAT) format based on the 2019 format:
• Verbal Reasoning – 22 minutes – 44 questions
• Quantitative Reasoning – 25 minutes 36 questions
• Abstract Reasoning – 14 minutes 55 questions
• Decision Making – 32 minutes 29 questions
• Situational Judgement – 27 minutes 69 questions
Format 2 hours
|VerbalReasoning||22 minutes||44 questions||900||567|
|DecisionMaking||32 minutes||29 questions||900||624|
|QuantitativeReasoning||25 minutes||36 questions||900||658|
|AbstractReasoning||14 minutes||55 questions||900||637|
|SituationalJudgement||27 minutes||69 questions||Band 1-4(1 = Best)||
25% = Band 145% = Band 2
20% = Band 3
10% = Band 4
Decile Scores (2018)
Top 10% = ~770
Top 20% = ~695 Top 50% = ~640
ALL UNIS ACCEPTING UKCAT: It is unlikely that we would consider an applicant that was placed in band 4 of the situational judgement part of the UKCAT.
Verbal Reasoning – assesses the ability to critically evaluate information that is presented in a written form
• You are given a short text to read followed by a statement. There are two types of questions on this test: The first type is based on the information provided in the text from which you must decide if the statement is true, false, or you cannot say. The second question type is based on reading a list of options and then determining the correct answer from that list. You are only allowed to use the information in the text and not your outside knowledge. The test contains 11 texts, with four questions on each of them.
• The Verbal Reasoning subtest assesses your ability to read and think carefully about the information presented in passages and to determine whether specific conclusions can be drawn from information presented. You are not expected to use prior knowledge to answer the questions. Here, you have 22 minutes (including 1 minute for instructions) to answer 44 questions. These questions are split into 11 passages.
• Why Verbal Reasoning?
Doctors and dentists need excellent verbal reasoning skills in dealing with patients and complex clinical situations. Understanding and reading the situation and then communicating clearly what needs to be said to both healthcare professionals and patients in a simple manner is critical. Medical practitioners must be able to interpret research papers and publications and try to integrate this into their clinical practice. This requires excellent verbal reasoning techniques.
Quantitative Reasoning – assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form
• You are given numerical data in a table, chart, or graph, and you are asked questions on the information provided. Solving the questions usually involves some form of basic calculation. The same set of information may be used for more than one question. The Quantitative Reasoning subtest assesses your ability to use numerical skills to solve problems. It assumes familiarity with numbers to the standard of a good pass at GCSE. However, items are less to do with numerical facility and more to do with problem-solving (i.e. knowing what information to use and how to manipulate it using simple calculations and ratios). The subtest measures reasoning using numbers as a vehicle rather than measuring a facility with numbers. Here you have 25 minutes (including one minute for instructions) to answer 36 questions that are associated with tables, charts and graphs.
• Why have quantitative reasoning in the UCAT (UKCAT)? Doctors and dentists are constantly required to look at data, review it and apply it to their own practice. On a practical level drug calculations based on patient weight, age and other factors have to be correct. At a more advanced level, medical and dental research requires an ability to interpret, critique and apply results presented in the form of complex statistics. Universities considering applicants need to know they have the aptitude to cope in these situations.
Abstract Reasoning – assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information
• You are asked to identify the correct shape in order to complete the question. There are four types of questions you may experience. This is a fast-paced test with less than 20 seconds to answer each question. It is a nonverbal test as it does not use words or numbers, and it is often considered to be like an IQ test.
• Abstract Reasoning assesses your ability to identify patterns amongst abstract shapes where irrelevant and distracting material may lead to incorrect conclusions. The test, therefore, measures your ability to change track, critically evaluate and generate hypotheses and requires you to query judgements as you go along. Here you have 14 minutes (including one minute instructions time) to answer 55 questions that are all based upon different sets of shapes.
• Why include abstract reasoning in the UCAT (UKCAT)? Quite often patients will present with a myriad of symptoms that a clinician must interpret. The clinician must take into account a number of different factors, some of which might be misleading, before deciphering which ones are pertinent. Making such judgements are akin to those in the UCAT (UKCAT) Abstract Reasoning. Research within medicine and dentistry also involves identifying patterns in results in order to generate further hypotheses.
Decision Making – assesses the ability to apply logic to reach a decision or conclusion, evaluate arguments and analyse statistical information
• Your ability to implement logic in order to assess arguments, evaluate statistical data, and make a decision will be assessed. This section replaced Decision Analysis back in 2016.
• The Decision-Making subtest assesses your ability to apply logic to reach a decision or conclusion, evaluate arguments and analyse statistical information. Here you have 32 minutes (including 1-minute instructions) to answer 29 questions.
• Why decision making? Many clinical situations require doctors and dentists to make complex decisions. This needs to happen in a wide range of scenarios and situations. Clinicians require a high level of problem-solving skills and need to have the ability to assess and manage risk and deal with uncertainty. This is a new section only introduced after 2016, which replaced the old decision analysis subsection.
Situational Judgement – measures capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.
• You are asked to identify the correct responses to a series of scenarios relating to the life of a medical or dentistry student. There are two types of scenario responses asked: the appropriateness of a behaviour and the importance of a set of options. You are given 19 scenarios; each one contains between two and five questions.
• The test measures your capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them. Here you have 27 minutes (including 1 minute of instructions) to answer 69 questions that are associated with 22 scenarios. Each of these scenarios contains 2 to 5 questions.
• Why include the Situational Judgement Test in the UCAT (UKCAT)? There are a number of different aspects of one’s thinking that the situational judgement test assesses. It assessed integrity, teamwork, resilience and adaptability. These are all key personality traits that the GMC believe all doctors should demonstrate to some extent. Situational Judgement Tests are widely used in medical and dental selection, as well as for foundation doctors, dentists and GPs.
The first four UCAT (UKCAT) sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning are marked depending on how many correct answers you give. Questions that have one correct answer are awarded a maximum of 1 mark and those that have multiple answers are worth 2 marks. Questions with multiple answers such as those in the Decision Making section, can be awarded 1 mark if you give a partially correct answer. Each UCAT (UKCAT) section does not have negative marking, and there is no influence between sections.
Marking each UCAT (UKCAT) Section
Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning have a different number of questions. Hence, there is no direct link to the number of correct answers and a score. Therefore the UCAT (UKCAT) convert your raw score into a scale between 300 and 900. Once your UCAT (UKCAT) exam is complete, you will receive a score per UCAT (UKCAT) section. Your overall score will be the total score of all 4 UCAT (UKCAT) section hence ranging from 1200 to 3600.
For example, your scaled score may be: Verbal Reasoning: 500, Decision Making: 600, Quantitative Reasoning: 700 and Abstract Reasoning: 800. Your total score will be the total of all 4 sections: 500 + 600 + 700 + 800 = 2600. Your average UCAT (UKCAT) score will be your total score divided by 4. Using the example: 2600/4 = 650.
Marking the Situational Judgement Test
Here, the marking system is different. The Situational Judgement section uses a banding system depending on how correct your response is. Full marks are given if you answer correctly, and partial marks may be given if you are close to the correct answer. There are 4 bands ranging from Band 1 to Band 4 where per question, you will be awarded Band 1 if you choose the correct answer, band 2 or 3 if you are further from the answer and band 4 if you have incorrectly chosen the answer. After all SJT questions are complete, you will be given an average Band which will be your SJT score.
A guide to the UCAT (UKCAT) SJT Banding System is below:
Band 1: The candidate has demonstrated an excellent level of performance, a level that is similar to the panel of experts
Band 2: The candidate has demonstrated a good level of performance, frequently matching the answers similar to an expert level
Band 3: The candidate has demonstrated a modest level of performance, with many appropriate answers but several answers different to the panel of experts.
Band 4: The candidate has a demonstrated a low level of performance with most answers differing from the ideal answer.
It is likely that the SJT will be considered in a different manner to the other cognitive subtests, with most universities rejecting any candidates who score an overall Band 4 in this section.
When do I receive my UCAT results?
After finishing your UCAT (UKCAT) exam, you will be given a sheet with your UCAT (UKCAT) scores at the test centre. The exam result will involve a score per UCAT (UKCAT) Section as well as your SJT band. Your UCAT (UKCAT) result will be valid for one year. Additional copies can be requested at a fee of £25 GBP. You can order additional copies by contacting Pearson VUE.
How do I use my UCAT (UKCAT) Result?
Your UCAT (UKCAT) result can help guide you into choosing your universities. Your UCAT (UKCAT) result will be given before the UCAS deadline, giving you time to decide which university you want to apply to. By going onto each university’s admission criteria page on their website, more insight will be given as to how they use the UCAT (UKCAT) in selecting candidates.
For some universities, the UCAT (UKCAT) plays a big factor in the candidate’s application and for others it plays a less significant part. Some universities provide information involving a rough UCAT (UKCAT) score they would prefer based on previous years results as well as if they even consider UCAT (UKCAT) in their application process. Some consider the total score and some look at the individual sections with a cut-off score per UCAT (UKCAT) section. For those that do not look at the UCAT (UKCAT) or consider the UCAT (UKCAT) to be a less significant part of the UCAS application, other parts of your UCAS application: academics, personal statement or interview are considered to play a bigger part. Hence by going onto the university’s website / open day more information can be received, and by reviewing our Universities Section, you have full access to each university’s exact requirements.
Many universities use the UCAT (UKCAT) as a way to discriminate between candidates who are ranked equally in terms of other parts of the UCAS application (personal statement, academics etc) whereas other universities use the UCAT (UKCAT) as a way to boost your UCAS application if other parts of your UCAS application are not as beneficial, such as performing weaker in GCSEs. Each university considers the UCAT (UKCAT) differently by some considering the UCAT to play a significant part in the candidate’s application and some to not consider it at all. Use your UCAT (UKCAT) score as a way of deciding which university you want to apply to by finding out more information about each potential university in our Universities Section.
For more information about your UCAT (UKCAT) score in relation to others, statistics from previous test cycles are available below:
The mean scaled scores of the cognitive subtests are below:
|Number of candidates||27,466||24,844||23,359|
|Total Cognitive Mean Scaled Score||2485||2540||1893|
Arriving on the day
The UCAT (UKCAT) consortium recommend that you arrive to the test centre 15 minutes before your test time so that you can complete all of the check in procedures. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to sit your test – irrespective of the reason.
What do you need to bring with you to your UCAT (UKCAT) exam?
• A print out confirmation of your booking from Pearson Vue
• One piece of photographic identification from the approved list which meets requirements stated on the Pearson Vue website.
• You cannot take any personal belongings into the UCAT (UKCAT), nor can you take any food or drink. Anything that you do bring will need to be stored in a locker at the test centre.
• You may not bring a calculator into the exam – there is one provided online for you.
What does the exam venue look like?
• You will get a desk space with a PC, keyboard and space for a whiteboard and pen. There will be other people doing different tests in the same venue, you may request earplugs or headphones if you think you might require them.
• You will be given a laminated note board and permanent marker pen to make notes on during the test. If you need another pen or board, raise your arm and an invigilator will give you a new one
Please check the pen is working before you begin
Other things you must know about the UCAT (UKCAT)
Please note that you cannot take any breaks during the exam. Any breaks that you do take, will still have the timer running – please note this! The test is two hours long.
Which Universities look at UCAT?
Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, Glasgow, King’s, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary’s (Barts and the London), Queen’s Belfast and Sheffield. As previously mentioned, each university uses the UCAT score in a different way, so please refer to our Universities guide for further assistance for your specific chosen dental school.
When can I register for the UCAT (UKCAT)?
You can register for the UCAT (UKCAT) exam between the dates: 1 May – 22 September of each year. The last date to sit the exam is 5th October.
Where can I do the UCAT (UKCAT) exam?
During the registration process, you will be able to choose the closest test centre most convenient to you. There are many Pearson VUE test centres located for you to take your however it is advised you register as soon as possible as test dates fill very quickly. Examples of locations: Watford, Kingston Upon Thames, Northampton, Oxford, Eastbourne, Guildford and many more.
How can I prepare for the UCAT (UKCAT)?
Over 80,000 people are applying for under 8000 places – preparing for the UCAT (UKCAT) is essential! You should refer to our full in-depth guide below, along with example questions, model answers and a library of practice questions, specifically designed by experts.
How is the UCAT (UKCAT) scored?
Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Decision Making – each is out of 900. The score is not related to your percentage score, rather it is standardised so that the average for each section is around 600. The Situational Judgement section is marked in bands, 1 is the highest, 4 is the lowest. Is there a fee for taking the UCAT (UKCAT)? UK/EU Residents = £65 up till 21/08, £80 from 01/09 Outside of the EU = £100.
Can I resit the UCAT (UKCAT)?
No – you can only take the UCAT (UKCAT) once a year.
Can I postpone my exam?
Yes, you are able to postpone your exam so if you feel unwell or unprepared the best thing to do is to reschedule your UCAT (UKCAT) exam. However, if you postpone the exam too late then you may not be refunded your fee, so make sure you reschedule in advance.
DECISION ANALYSIS QUESTIONS
A group of 5 friends live on the same road in a row of houses running parallel to the road. Austin lives the furthest from Mark. Steve lives two houses down from Austin. David lives next to Mark. Answer True or False for each of the following statements:
- Steve lives equidistant from Austin and Mark.
- The five live in a small town.
- Peter lives next to Austin.
- Peter and David are neighbours.
A group of scientists investigate male pattern baldness for a popular shampoo producer that aims to release a product for that market. They find that male pattern baldness is becoming increasingly common in men aged between 30 – 60 and that it sometimes is associated with the use of anabolic steroids or type 2 diabetes. They also find that in the majority of cases there seems to be a genetic predisposition of unknown origin, but independent of external factors. Answer True or False for each of the following statements:
- Baldness is not exclusive to men.
- There is a connection between life-style choices and hair loss
- A hair loss treatment in shampoo form promises to help for the majority of cases.
- Anabolic steroids can cause hair loss.
Penguins live in large colonies in various climates of the Southern hemisphere. These colonies provide protection for the individual as well as offering companionship and breeding partners. Penguins are flightless but are excellent swimmers and spend about half of their life in the ocean. They live mostly off sea animals such as fish, krill and squid. Which of the conclusions are false?
- Penguins spend 50% of their life on land.
- Penguins are herd animals.
- Penguins live mostly by eating seafood
- Penguins live exclusively on ice
Should people stop burning fossil fuels immediately? Select the strongest argument from the statements below.
- Yes, because they represent old technology that has since been overcome.
- Yes, there is little oil and coal in the UK and therefore fossil fuels are economically unsound.
- No, fossil fuels represent a safe and plentiful source of energy.
- No, we are too dependent on energy to be able to source adequate supply from non-fossil sources.
DECISION ANALYSIS ANSWERS
D is false, there is no mention of ice
D: due to our huge energy demand, an immediate switch to non-fossil fuels is difficult. Also, there are less developed countries that use fossil fuels as their only source of energy due to technological or political constraints, rendering it almost impossible to source adequate supplies elsewhere.
VERBAL REASONING QUESTIONS
PASSAGE 1: Australia
The first European contact with Australia was apparently with Dutch explorers in the 17th century, but the English were the first to explore and colonise the enourmous island. English settles arrives in Australia in 1770 and soon, English became the dominant language, as opposed to the roughly 250 language groups found in the country before this immigration, and Christianity the dominant religion. Initial settling was through penal transportation, the moving of criminals to the Oceanian land. This practice was also used in the Victorian era, and the fictional character of Sweeney Todd is said to have been sent to this land “on a trumped up charge”.
The 19th Century saw the development of the territory into a modern economic and political force, making it an important part of the British Empire. During the 20th Century, Australia gained independence from Great Britain and became a major world power.
Most Australians now have European ancestry and Native Australians, also known as Aboriginal Australians, currently make up just a small fraction of the Australian population. Australian society saw little variation for millennia, as the Aborigines inhabited it for at least 40,000 years, but in the last 250 years has undergone sweeping changes.
- Australians of European descent may well be able to trace their ancestry back to an 18th Century criminal.
- True b. False c. Cannot Tell
- Dutch is not the dominant language in Australia because:
- The English stole the land from them
- English is easier to learn than Dutch
- The Dutch had the first European contact with Australia, but did not settle there
- The natives hated the Dutch
- According to the passage, Australian independence:
- Improved the conditions of the Aboriginals
- Decreased the wealth of Great Britain
- Embarrassed the English
- Resulted in the creation of a new major world power
- Which of the following is true:
- Many were sent to Australia on “trumped up charges”
- Natives have reproduced less since the advent of English immigration to Australia
- Immigrants to Australia have all reproduced to a great extent
- A quarter of a millennium can be enough time to change a country’s demographic.
PASSAGE 2: Agricultural Reform
The 18th century saw many advances in agriculture, which spurred Europe into the Industrial Revolution and spawned the modern societies now known by most of the world. Farming had been common in Europe for thousands of years, but few innovations had taken hold. When crops grow in a field, they remove the nutrients and fertilisers from the land. Ancient and Medieval farmers knew to leave fields fallow for a growing season or two to allow the soil to regain its fertility, and this practice remained largely unchanged. In the 1700s, however, British farmers found that if they grew other crops on their unused fields, nutrients returned to the soil faster than if the fields were left fallow.
Clover restores fields well; after growing clover in a field for a season, farmers could replant and grow on that field the next season with success. We now know that this is because clover absorbs nitrogen from the atmosphere and returns it to the soil as a natural fertilizer. Turnips were commonly planted in hitherto unused fields because they would also return fields to fertility. We now know that this is because the deep roots of turnips collect nutrients and bring them to the topsoil where they can be reached by the roots of other crops when the fields are replanted.
- For thousands of years, farming in Europe was done in roughly the same way
- True b. False c. Cannot Tell
- There was a link between agriculture and industry in Europe in the 1700s.
- True b. False c. Cannot Tell
- The key information that 18th Century British farmers knew that Medieval farmers did not, was:
- The crops sap nutrients from the land
- The crops sap fertiliser from the land
- Certain plants replenish nutrients
- Leaving fields fallow allows them to recover
- According to the passage, turnips and clovers
- Improve topsoil
- Collect nutrients from the atmosphere
- Collect nutrients from the earth
- Provide an alternative to leaving land fallow
PASSAGE 3: The Ice Age
For most of the last 100,000 years, Earth’s climate was colder than it is now and enormous ice sheets covered large parts of North America, Europe and Asia. The Scandinavian Ice Sheet covered what is now Scotland and northern England, as well as what are now Scandinavia and northern Russia. What are now Canada and the northern United States were covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Humans inhabited many of these areas before the ice sheets formed, but were forced out by the cooling climate. By around 12,000 years ago, much of this ice had melted and seal levels had risen to their present state.
As the Earth warmed, the ice sheets slowly receded, creating many of the landforms now present in North America, Europe and Asia. Sand, gravel and rocks of various sizes were all carries northward with the receding ice, and were redeposited as melting ice formed new rivers and lakes. When melting ice flowed heavily from an ice sheet, a new river could be formed as the flowing water dug a trench through the earth. When a large piece of ice broke off from an ice sheet and was left behind to melt, a lake or pond could be formed. This is how many of the lakes in northern Europe and Canada were created, such as Osterseen in Germany, Loch Fergus in Scotland and Wilcox Lake in Canada.
As the ice sheets shrank, humans moved back into the newly inhabitable areas of the arctic. Asians crossed into the Americas, and sea levels rose to separate Siberia from Alaska and the British Isles from Europe.
- For the last 100,000 years, Earth’s climate was colder than it is now.
- True b. False c. Cannot Tell
- Which of the following is not true:
- Scotland is covered by the Scandinavian Ice Sheet
- The same ice sheet covered what were northern Russia and Scotland
- Multiple ice sheets existed
- Ice sheets were very large
- Loch Fergus was created:
- By heavy-flowing melting ice.
- By sand, gravel and rocks being deposited by melting ice
- By non-flowing melting ice
- By medium-flowing melting ice
- The British Isles was once part of mainland Europe:
- True b. False c. Cannot Tell
VERBAL REASONING ANSWERS
PASSAGE 1 ANSWERS:
ANSWER 1: TRUE. We are told original settlers were criminals. If they had reproduced, there is the possibility that “European Australians” could trace their ancestry back to them. The answer is True rather than Cannot Tell, because “may well be able to” is not a contradictory qualifier.
ANSWER 2: C. The English settled and so their language spread. The Dutch did not settle, so their language could not spread.
ANSWER 3: D.
ANSWER 4: D – we are told “in the last 250 years, it has undergone sweeping changes” in terms of the inhabitants. 250 years is a quarter of a millennium.
PASSAGE 2 ANSWERS:
ANSWER 1: TRUE. The passage tells us that although farming had been common in Europe for thousands of years, there had been “few innovations”, meaning it mainly stayed the same.
ANSWER 2: TRUE. The passage tells us that advances in agriculture spurred Europe into the Industrial Revolution, so they are clearly linked.
ANSWER 3: C. Medieval farmers knew crops sap nutrients and fertilizer, which was why they left the fields fallow for “a season or two”. This rules out answers A, B and D. We are also told that it was not until the 1700s that British farmers grew other crops on their fields to return nutrients to the soil faster.
ANSWER 4: D.
PASSAGE 3 ANSWERS:
ANSWER 1: FALSE. We are told that “for most of the last 100,000 years” – the qualifiers do not match and they contradict.
ANSWER 2: A. We are told Scotland used to be covered by the Scandinavian Ice Sheet, but it is not now in the present.
ANSWER 3: C – a piece of ice that was left behind to melt formed the Loch Fergus
ANSWER 4: TRUE. We are told “sea levels rose to separate…the British Isles from Europe”, which means that it must have been part of Europe at one point.
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