Tip 01: What is the UKCAT?

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test is a computer-based two-hour examination used by the majority of UK medical and dental schools.

It tests your aptitude, rather than academic ability. Questions examine your cognitive abilities, attitudes and behaviour, not school curriculum or science content, though maths plays an important part.

The UKCAT aims to increase fairness in the selection of students, and attract applicants from a wider background, including under-represented social groups.

Does my school use the UKCAT?

Check the UCAS website.

When do I need to take the UKCAT?

Before you apply to your medical or dental school/university.

We recommend booking as early as possible, because spaces fill up fast. Testing runs from July to October, and you can book up to 90 days in advance.

There are around 150 test centres, so hopefully there’s one close to you. Book early to get a spot in your preferred test centre. Avoiding a long journey to your test reduces the risk of being late and missing your appointment, resulting in expensive re-booking or missing out on your chosen courses this year.

Rebooking is an important consideration: unexpected circumstances such as family emergencies may need you to change your exam date. If you took an appointment at the end of the testing period, it’s highly unlikely that any places will be left.

If you’re reading this well in advance of applying for medicine, and have the available funds, consider taking the UKCAT a year early as a mock exam. The experience will help you prepare and know exactly what to expect in the year of your application. To get the most out of this, try to prepare for it as if it were the real thing.

Can I re-sit?

You can take the UKCAT once per year.

Do I need to practise?

Yes! You need to be familiar with the style, format and nature of the questions, so that you aren’t surprised on the day.
In addition to these free tips, we offer a popular UKCAT online course providing practice questions, mock exams, all with question timing and performance feedback.

Free UKCAT Tips

  • Tip 01: What is the UKCAT?
  • Tip 02: What to do if you experience problems during a test
  • Tip 03: How to appeal against the result of an investigation
  • Tip 04: Visualise and mentally rehearse
  • Tip 05: Apply for a bursary as soon as possible
  • UKCAT Tip 02: UKCAT Registration Book your UKCAT Now!
  • UKCAT Tip 03: If you can, take the UKCAT test one year earlier
  • UKCAT Tip 04: Your UKCAT test day should not be the first time you locate the Pearson Vue UKCAT test centre
  • UKCAT Tip 05: Try not to book the UKCAT test day during school/university term-time
  • UKCAT Tip 06: Do not put off the UKCAT test
  • UKCAT Tip 07: Take the UKCAT test in the afternoon, not the morning
  • UKCAT Tip 08: Register for UKCAT Bursary early
  • UKCAT Tip 09: UKCAT test only lasts one medical school application cycle
  • UKCAT Tip 10: Prepare your materials the night before your UKCAT test day
  • UKCAT Tip 11: Pre-UKCAT test jitters
  • UKCAT Tip 12: Admittance to medical school is not solely based on this UKCAT test
  • UKCAT Tip 13: Eat breakfast on UKCAT test day
  • UKCAT Tip 14: The Pearson Vue UKCAT test room
  • UKCAT Tip 15: Not allowed to eat or drink in the UKCAT test room
  • UKCAT Tip 16: Rest yourself between UKCAT subtests
  • UKCAT Tip 17: That two-sided sheet of paper is all you've got (sort of)
  • UKCAT Tip 18: Every question is equally weighted
  • UKCAT Tip 19: There is one (and only one) correct answer
  • UKCAT Tip 20: The UKCAT is not a race
  • UKCAT Tip 21: Just because you didn't answer one or two questions does not mean you will get a poor score
  • UKCAT Tip 22: Plan each day for the two weeks prior to your UKCAT test
  • UKCAT Tip 23: Incorporate exercise into your UKCAT routine
  • UKCAT Tip 24: Keep focused
  • UKCAT Tip 25: Practise regularly at the time of the day that you will be take the UKCAT test
  • UKCAT Tip 26: Don't peak too soon in your UKCAT practice
  • UKCAT Tip 27: Why UKCAT Practice is Important
  • UKCAT Tip 28: Why is reading comprehension important for Medicine?
  • UKCAT Tip 29: Attempt shorter passages first, flag longer passages
  • UKCAT Tip 30: Put simply, a 'true' statement can co-exist inside the passage
  • UKCAT Tip 31: Put simply, a 'false' statement contradicts the passage
  • UKCAT Tip 32: Put simply, a Cannot Tell statement requires more information than the passage
  • UKCAT Tip 33: Look out for extreme qualifiers
  • UKCAT Tip 34: Just because the words in the question statement are not in the passage does not mean the correct response is cannot tell
  • UKCAT Tip 35: Practise by reading broadsheets
  • UKCAT Tip 36: Why is mathematics important for medicine?
  • UKCAT Tip 37: Practise your simple mathematics - quick and accurately
  • UKCAT Tip 38: Practise your speed with the simple, not scientific, calculator
  • UKCAT Tip 39: Know your GCSE Maths
  • UKCAT Tip 40: Beware of Percentages
  • UKCAT Tip 41: Why is pattern recognition important for medicine?
  • UKCAT Tip 42: Learn the simple/advanced mnemonics
  • UKCAT Tip 43: Practise the Patterns
  • UKCAT Tip 44: First Order and Second Order Rules
  • UKCAT Tip 45: Beware of common distractors
  • UKCAT Tip 46: Why is cryptography important for medicine?
  • UKCAT Tip 47: Diligence in Decision Analysis
  • UKCAT Tip 48: Shorthand shortcuts in Decision Analysis
  • UKCAT Tip 49: Only three types of questions in Decision Analysis
  • UKCAT Tip 50: Eliminating the incorrect responses
  • UKCAT Tip 51: Moving on from UKCAT Results
  • UKCAT Tip 52: What does my UKCAT score mean?