What You Need To Know About UCAT

What is UCAT?

UCAT stands for University Clinical Aptitude Test. It is used by most universities in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to select students for entry into medicine and dentistry.

The UCAT is a computer-based test in multiple-choice question format. The UCAT is administered by Pearson VUE on behalf of the UCAT Consortium of universities.

How important
is the UCAT?

The UCAT is an important part in determining entry into medicine. First Year and Graduate entry students applying to study medicine at the University of Auckland, will be selected on the basis of their UCAT ANZ score (15%) along with their GPA (60%), and Interview score (25%).

For the University of Otago First Year pathway, students applying for medicine and dentistry need to meet the threshold score (not published) in all five sections of the UCAT and pass all the papers prescribed for first year at first attempt, with a minimum of 70%, to be invited to interview. Final selection will be based on your academic score.


How hard is
the UCAT?

The UCAT is a very difficult test. The UCAT questions are completely different to those you will have encountered at school or university. The UCAT is highly time pressured, and the vast majority of students do not finish the test. The UCAT is a test requiring extreme concentration and quick thinking skills.

The good news? It is possible to prepare for and do well in the UCAT.

What is the format
of the UCAT?

The UCAT is a 2 hour, computer based test, which is very different to pen and paper exams that you are used to in school and university.

This video shows the key features of the UCAT platform, using MedEntry’s replica UCAT platform, which exactly simulates the live UCAT:

What will it be like sitting the UCAT?

If you have ever sat a driver’s licence theory exam, the UCAT environment will be similar. You will be in a room with other candidates, some of whom may be sitting tests other than the UCAT. You will be provided with a UCAT computer screen, keyboard and mouse. You can use headphones or earplugs to minimise distractions during the UCAT.

You will also have access to a UCAT Notebook and marker pen so you can make notes during the test. You will be provided with one when you attend a MedEntry UCAT Workshop so you can familiarise yourself with it.

There is a one minute timed instruction screen between each UCAT subtest. There are no scheduled breaks in the UCAT. If you need to go to the bathroom, the UCAT timer will keep ticking!

What are the
UCAT sections?

The UCAT is composed of five sections, known as UCAT subtests:

  • Verbal Reasoning: assesses your ability to critically evaluate information presented in a written form and draw logical conclusions
  • Decision Making: assesses your ability to problem solve and evaluate arguments
  • Quantitative Reasoning: assesses your ability to use numerical reasoning to draw valid conclusions
  • Abstract Reasoning: assesses your ability to identify patterns and relationships using non-verbal images
  • Situational Judgement: assesses your ability to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour when dealing with real life situations

The first four subtests are known as ‘cognitive subtests’ and Situational Judgement is classed as a ‘non-cognitive’ subtest.

What is the structure of the UCAT?

The UCAT is composed of 228 questions, to be answered in 120 minutes. This table below displays the timing for each UCAT subtest:

UCAT Subtest Questions Test Duration Time Per Question
Verbal Reasoning 44 21 minutes 28 seconds
Decision Making 29 31 minutes 60 seconds
Quantitative Reasoning 36 25 minutes 41 seconds
Abstract Reasoning 50 12 minutes 14 seconds
Situational Judgement 69 26 minutes 22 seconds

Do I need to sit the UCAT?

You will need to sit the UCAT if you are interested in applying to any of the following courses:


The University of Adelaide Medicine, Dental Surgery, Oral Health

Charles Sturt University Dental Science

Curtin University Medicine

Flinders University Clinical Sciences / Medicine

Monash University Medicine

The University of Newcastle Joint Medical Program

The University of New South Wales The University of Newcastle

The University of Queensland Medicine (provisional entry), Dental Science

The University of Western Australia Medicine (Direct Pathway), Dental Medicine (Direct Pathway)

Western Sydney University Medicine

Latrobe University Dental Science

The University of Auckland Medicine

Griffith University Dental Health Science

University of Tasmania Medicine

University of Otago Medicine, Dental Surgery

When is the UCAT?

The UCAT takes place over the months of July and August. You choose the time, date and location that you wish to sit the UCAT. This video provides advice on how to choose a UCAT testing date:

You can only sit the UCAT once per testing cycle. The UCAT results are valid for one year.

How do I register to sit
the UCAT?

To register for the UCAT, you should visit the Pearson VUE website. You will need to first create an account with Pearson VUE, and then book your desired testing date, time and location.

Further detailed instructions can be found on the official UCAT AUNZ website: https://www.ucat.edu.au/register/booking-a-test/

How should I prepare for
the UCAT?

Successful preparation for the UCAT can be summarised in four key steps:

U – Understand the UCAT

C – Create a bank of UCAT strategies that work for you

A – Assess your UCAT performance, and target weak areas

T – Train for the UCAT by attempting simulated practice exams

MedEntry provides you with all the tools required to effectively prepare for the UCAT:
  • Understand:

    MedEntry’s highly sought after workshops and online UCAT curriculum will cover everything you need to know about the UCAT, including inside knowledge about the UCAT testing process. By the end of our program, you too will be a UCAT expert!
  • Create:

    MedEntry’s workshops, guides and UCAT video instruction cover effective UCAT strategies for tackling each UCAT question type and subtest. This comprehensive program will allow you to easily develop a personalised approach to the UCAT that works for you.
  • Assess:

    MedEntry’s Personalised Adaptive Learning (PAL) technology analyses your responses and provides comprehensive UCAT feedback, allowing you to track your UCAT performance. It offers suggestions on where to focus your future efforts, allowing you to easily target weak areas and prepare for the UCAT efficiently.
  • Train:

    In addition to UCAT subtest mocks and drills, MedEntry provides 20+ full-length UCAT exams, delivered on a platform that exactly simulates the live UCAT. After undergoing MedEntry’s program, the live UCAT will just feel like another MedEntry practice exam!

From our decades of experience, we know that the best way to prepare for the UCAT is to do a little bit of practice on a regular basis. That’s why we allow unlimited access to all of our resources right up until the end of the UCAT testing period.

And it gets even better: you can access your resources anywhere, anytime, and any place – from your laptop, desktop, phone or tablet (via our exclusive, dedicated UCAT App).

It is important to choose the right UCAT preparation provider.

Look for an organisation which is run by leading doctors and academics, has helped tens of thousands of students become doctors, and which has hundreds of independent five star reviews.

Compare MedEntry.

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