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The UK clinical aptitude test (UKCAT)

This page introduces and describes the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT).

Introduction

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is used in the selection process by a consortium of UK university medical and dental schools

The test helps universities to make more informed choices from amongst the many highly qualified applicants who apply for their medical and dental degree programmes. The test does not contain any curriculum nor any science content; nor can it be revised for. It focuses on exploring the cognitive powers of candidates and other attributes considered to be valuable for health care professionals. It ensures that the candidates selected have the most appropriate mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviours required for new doctors and dentists to be successful in their careers. The test has been developed in partnership with Pearson VUE, a global leader in computer based training and part of Pearson plc. It is delivered on computer on a worldwide basis through Pearson VUE's high street test centres

The UKCAT is designed to be a test of aptitude rather than strictly academic acheivement, as evidenced by GCSE's, A levels, Scottish Highers, or undergraduate degrees. The test will assess a wide range of mental abilities and behavioural attributes identified by university medical and dental schools as important.

Who must take the UKCAT?

The UKCAT must be taken by all applicants applying to study medicine or dentistry, at most university medical and dental schools. Candidates will need to refer to university websites, Prospectuses and the UCAS handbook for the specific entry requirements of each university and course.

What does the UKCAT consist of?

For candidates sitting the examination, the UKCAT will consist of four subtests:

  • Verbal reasoning- assesses candidates' ability to think logically about written information and arrive at a reasoned conclusion.
  • Quantitative reasoning- assesses candidates' ability to to solve numerical problems.
  • Abstract reasoning - assesses candidates' ability to infer relationships from information by convergent and divergent thinking.
  • Problem solving - assesses candidates' ability to deal with various forms of information, to infer relationships, to make informed judgements, and decide upon an appropriate response.

Computer based testing

The UKCAT is delivered by computer. There are many advantages in delivering tests via a computer. Tests can be delivered on demand at a time convienient to the candidate. The ability to create a bank of questions which can be developed into different tests cuts out the need to test all candidates on the same day, at the same time, and it eliminates the complex logistics of distributing, storing and tracking test papers and answer scripts. All the questions can be marked automatically so it improves accuracy and reduces the time consuming process of scoring results.

Registering for the UKCAT

Registering to take the UKCAT does not constitute an application for admission to any of the participating universities. In addition to registering to take the UKCAT candidates will need to submit an application to  UCAS in the normal manner.

Registration and test dates

Registration for the UKCAT is only available online, via the UKCAT website, where further details are available.

Registration fees

There is a cost to sit the UKCAT. Details can be found on the UKCAT website The registration fee is payable online at the time of booking by using a major credit card.

Bursaries

It is intended to provide bursaries under which the UKCAT test fee is waived for cases of real hardship. Candidates will need to apply online for a bursary before registering for the UKCAT. Further information will be available on the UKCAT website.

Preparing to take the UKCAT

The university medical and dental schools participating in UKCAT do not endorse any commercially available preparation for the UKCAT. Preparation is neither necessary nor desirable.

The test is designed to be a test of aptitude rather than academic achievement, therefore the test does not draw on any particular body of knowledge nor curriculum, which a candidate can learn in advance.

However candidates should practice answering the types of questions that will be presented in the UKCAT, to familiarise themselves with question styles, multiple choice format and varying requirements of each subset.

Candidates are advised that a range of practice questions will be available on the UKCAT website

Sitting the UKCAT

UK candidates will be able to choose a location to sit the exam from a choice over over 150 test centres near their home, school or college. During the registration process candidates will be able to find their nearest test centre and book a test sitting at a date and time of their choice.

Where do I go for more information?

Further information about the UKCAT is available on the UKCAT website Candidates will need to refer to university websites and prospectuses for the specific entry requirements of each university and course.

Use our coursefinder to search for universities/medical schools running degrees in medicine.

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