Everything to know about UCAT: Registration and booking, Test Centres, Test Day Rules, Results, Preparation material and resources
What is UCAT?
The University Clinical Aptitude Test is an entrance test employed by a consortium of UK Universities for their medical as well as dental degree programmes.
UCAT is used in collaboration with other admission processes such as the UCAS application and academic qualifications.
UCAT is a computer-based test delivered in Pearson VUE test centres throughout the UK and worldwide.
You need to sit for the UCAT 2021 if you are applying for entry in 2022 or deferred entry in 2023 to a relevant course at a UK Consortium University or a non-
UCAT does not exempt candidates from taking the test. So, if you are concerned that illness, injury or personal circumstances means you will not be ‘fit to test’ throughout the 2021 test cycle, you should contact the UCAT Office for advice before sitting for a test.
List of UK Consortium Universities and Non-UK Associate Member Universities
It is compulsory to take the UCAT if you want to study in one of UK Consortium Universities or at the non-UK Associate Member Universities.
It is important to check the specific entry requirements for each course before booking the test. This is because some universities might have different requirements for overseas applicants.
Following is the list of UK Consortium Universities:
- University of Aberdeen
- Anglia Ruskin University
- Aston University
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bristol
- Brunel University London
- Cardiff University
- University of Dundee
- University of East Anglia
- Edge Hill University
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Exeter
- University of Glasgow
- Hull York Medical School
- Keele University
- Kent and Medway Medical School
- King’s College London
- University of Leicester
- University of Liverpool
- University of Manchester
- Newcastle University
- University of Nottingham
- University of Plymouth
- Queen Mary University of London
- Queen’s University Belfast
- University of Sheffield
- University of Southampton
- University of St Andrews
- St George’s, University of London
- University of Sunderland
- University of Warwick
Following is the List of Non-UK Associate Member Universities where UCAT is a compulsory requirement:
- American University of the Caribbean: Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program
- George’s University (Grenada): Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program
Steps to follow for UCAT 2021 Registration
- Register for the UCAT 2021
- Apply for a Bursary or Access arrangements, if applicable
- Booking the UCAT
We will go into detail about each of these steps in this article:
STEP 1: Register for the UCAT 2021
Candidates must register (create a web account) between 2 June and 22 September 2021 if they want to appear for UCAT 2021.
- Until registration opens the following message will be displayed on the website of UCAT “The feature that you are trying to access is blocked. Please try again later.”
- Registration for the test has to be done personally. It cannot be done by the school or college.
- Each student is allowed to create only one account. If you had appeared for UCAT previously, use the existing account.
- The candidate has to register with their legal name, exactly as it appears on the Photo ID that they intend to present before the test. If there is not an exact match, the candidate may be unable to test and lose their test fee.
- If the candidate is registering for UCAS, their name should be the same as used for UCAT, so that the results can be matched to their application. Changes to the name on the UCAT account can be made by the Pearson VUE Customer Services after checking the supporting ID.
- During registration, the candidates will have to provide the information requested in the sample questionnaire on UCAT’s website.
- Once the account creation is done, a registration email will be sent within 24 hours. This will contain the password required to login to the Pearson VUE account to book the test after 28 June 2021.
- If the email doesn’t arrive even after 36 hours, and you have checked the junk or spam folder too, please contact the Pearson VUE Customer Services.
Step 2: Apply for a Bursary or Access Arrangements (If applicable)
- UK Candidates in need of financial aid can apply for UCAT Bursary to cover the full test fee. Once the Bursary Application is approved, a voucher code will be provided that has to be used while booking the test.
- Candidates with special educational needs, disabilities or medical conditions who require Access Arrangements to sit the test must apply and be approved for these beforebooking their test.
Step 3: Booking the UCAT
- The booking for UCAT will open on 28 June 2021
- The test can be booked either through the web account or by calling Pearson VUE Customer Services.
- The UCAT can be sat (subject to availability) between 26 July – 29 September 2021 at one of our Pearson VUE test centres.
About Test Centres
The UCAT is delivered in Pearson VUE test centres throughout the UK and in many other countries. Some candidates may have to travel to another country to take the test, if a centre is not available in their home country.
If travel to a test centre is difficult because of distance, pandemic, war, civil unrest or natural disaster, candidates should contact the UCAT Office for advice before booking a test.
Test Centre Locator
The Test Centre Locator on UCAT’s website shows a list of authorised test centres where the candidates can appear for UCAT 2021.
UCAT’s Test Centre Locator shows the test centres which are authorised to deliver the UCAT in 2021 but it does not show availability of test slots.
The easiest way to check test centre availability is by following the steps to book a test through the web account once the booking opens on 28 June.
As UCAT maintains a live booking system, test centre availability cannot be checked prior to 28 June as availability may change between now and the test cycle opening.
Once the candidates schedules the test, a confirmation email along with all important details about the appointment will be sent. Please note that is important to keep this email safe.
- It is the responsibility of the candidate to book the correct version of the test. The candidate should book the standard UCAT unless they are eligible for extra time in public exams. They must apply for approval to sit the UCATSEN, UCATSA, UCATSENSA or UCATSEN50 before booking a slot.
- In a test cycle, you can take only one test. Any instances of multiple testing in the same year will be treated as misconduct and all results withdrawn.
The test fee is payable at the time of booking by a major credit card or UCAT bursary voucher.
- Tests taken in the UK: £75
- Tests taken outside the UK: £120
Registration and web booking will close at 12 noon BST on 22 September.
After the web booking closes, registered candidates may phone Pearson VUE Customer Services (+44 (0)208 616 5106) to book, cancel or reschedule a test up to the booking deadline (28 September).
However, the availability of appointments will be extremely limited in the last weeks of testing and it may happen that Customer Services might not be able to find a suitable appointment. Booking a test by email is not possible.
It is important to know what to expect on the Test Day so that everything runs smoothly. Below are some of the important things to keep in mind on the main day:
UCAT ‘Fit to Test’ Policy
Candidates who appear for the test are declaring themselves fit to take the test:
- If the candidate is aware of anything that might affect your performance on the day, they should not sit the test, even if the issue happens on the day of the test.
- If the candidate is not fit, they must reschedule the appointment to a later date, even if this means losing the test fee.
- The candidate should not attend a Pearson VUE Test Centre if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. Follow the government guidelines and reschedule the test on a later date after completing any mandatory self-isolation period.
- If the candidate is concerned that any illness, injury or personal circumstances means they will not be ‘fit to test’ throughout the 2021 test cycle, they should contact the UCAT Office for advice before sitting a test.
- If the candidate chooses to sit the test against this advice, UCAT will not accept this as a mitigating circumstance.
UCAT Exam Rules
The candidate should familiarise themselves with the UCAT Test Centre Exam Rules before their appointment.
The rules can be found on the UCAT website or by using this link: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/media/1476/ucat-test-centre-exam-rules-2021.pdf
These rules explain what the candidate should and should not do during the test, as well as what to do in case of any issues during testing.
Test centre safety
Pearson VUE and the UCAT consortium have taken many steps to ensure full safety of all candidates sitting the test. All Pearson VUE company-owned test centres follow CDC and WHO recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the candidates and staff.
Candidates are also expected to comply with latest and updates health and safety guidelines of Pearson VUE, which can be found on the UCAT website.
Test centre check-in process
The candidates are advised to arrive 15 minutes prior to their appointment time to complete the check-in process without wasting any time for the exam:
They are also supposed to carry the following:
- Official photographic ID that meets the Photo ID Policy of UCAT
- Appointment confirmation email from Pearson VUE (electronic or printed)
If the candidate arrives late, they may not be allowed to take the test and would be required to book and pay for a new test slot on another date. Necessary precautions should be taken and candidates, advisably, should plan for arriving quite early as the above mentioned rule applies even in cases of family emergency, accident, arrest, transport problems and security alert as well as forgetfulness and lateness. The centre will, thus, not accept any excuses in regards to lateness.
During the check-in process:
- The candidates will be asked to comply with the latest Pearson VUE health and safety guidelines.
- Photo ID will be checked and the staff will take a digital photograph of the candidate
- Then, the candidate will be asked to read the UCAT Test Centre Exam Rules and sign to confirm you understand them.
- All personal belongings (including bags, coats, hats or head coverings, papers, books, pens, watches, wallets, keys, IDs, mobile phones, food/water/drinks) must be placed in the lockers provided before entering the test room. The only exceptions permitted are religious apparel, headwear worn for medical reasons and small hair clips/bands (less than 1cm wide). For clarity, nothing is allowed into the testing room apart from the indoor clothes worn and any permitted comfort aids.
- If the candidate needs to access medication or food/drink during the test, they should refer to the Access Arrangements page for more details on the same.
- The staff will conduct a routine visual inspection of the candidate’s clothing, hands/arms and any comfort aids.
If you have any concerns over the check-in process or have a medical condition/disability that you think our test centre staff should be made aware of please contact Pearson VUE Customer Services at least 5 working days before your test.
Test centre receptions are restricted to test takers only for security reasons and no waiting areas are provided.
The duration of the standard test is 2 hours but the candidate should make appropriate return travel arrangements allowing adequate time at the test centre in case of unforeseen delays.
Test centre experience and environment
After the check-in-process has been completed, the candidates will be taken to the testing room where they will be allocated a desk space with a PC and keyboard.
Under normal test centre conditions there will be other people taking tests in the same room (within any social distancing guidelines). While the test centre will strive to keep any disturbance in the room to the minimum, headphones will still be available at each workstation and the candidates can also request earplugs to block out any noise.
The invigilator will continuously monitor and record the candidates by video after the test begins.
Candidates can ask for breaks to take medication or use the toilets by raising their hand to notify the invigilator but the test cannot be paused and time will continue running. So, it is advisable to use breaks between subtests to limit the impact on test time.
After completing the test, the candidate should raise their hand. The invigilator will end the test and escort the candidate from the room to collect their printed score report.
It is advised that the candidate should take a Test Centre Tour to familiarise themselves with what a UK Pearson VUE Test centre looks like.
Test Day Problems
In case of any trouble during the exam, the candidates can take the following steps:
Illness during Testing
- If you become ill during your test, notify the invigilator.
- If you are not well enough to continue, you should ask the invigilator to end your test. You then need to email the UCAT Office as soon as possible (usually within 1 working day of your test) to arrange for your test to be rescheduled.
- If you choose to continue testing, UCAT will not accept this as a mitigating circumstance.
Incidents during Testing
Raising an issue during your test
- If you experience an issue during your test at a test centre such as hardware/software problems, excessive noise disturbance or other distractions, raise your hand to notify the invigilator.
- If you do not raise the issue during your test, UCAT will not accept this as a mitigating circumstance.
- The invigilator cannot answer questions related to test content.
Obtaining an Incident Case Number
- If you do not feel that the issue was satisfactorily resolved, make sure that the incident is recorded by the test centre and you are given a case number.
- Please make sure you obtain this incident case number before leaving the test centre.
Requesting an incident investigation
The issuing of an incident case number does not automatically result in UCAT or Pearson VUE taking any action unless you request an incident investigation. You have to request the investigation through the Test Incident page.
The candidate will receive a copy of the UCAT score report before leaving the Pearson VUE Test Centre.
This score report can also be accessed online through the Pearson VUE Account, though you may have to wait for approximately 24 hours after the test. The result may not display properly if you access it through the Internet Explorer browser.
Please note that 2021 results are only valid for the 2022 UCAS Admissions cycle (for entry into medical or dental school in 2022 or deferred entry to 2023).
You will receive your test result before the UCAS deadline so you may make informed UCAS choices.
Delivering UCAT Results to Universities
UCAT will also deliver the candidate’s result directly to their chosen universities in early November. The candidates need not pass the results to the university or include them in the UCAS application as the Universities accept results provided by UCAT office.
Candidates need not tell their UCAS PID or application choices as this data is directly obtained from UCAS.
After the 15 October application deadline, UCAT works with UCAS on a data matching exercise to obtain the application choices filled by the candidate that require a UCAT result.
On occasion, if a candidate’s UCAT registration data is not identical to their UCAS application data, it becomes difficult to match choices. However, all UCAT Universities have access to a database which contains all candidate results. If the candidate is contacted by a university, the candidates may provide them with their candidate ID (in the format UKCAT + 6 digits) so that the universities can find their results.
Preparation Advice and Resources
UCAT provides free official practise material on its website. These materials have been developed by the UCAT consortium and are provided to ensure that everyone has the same materials and support during their preparation.
UCAT Preparation Plan
Candidates can take a look at the UCAT Preparation Plan video provided on UCAT’s website which shows a suggested timetable and approach for preparing for the test.
On UCAT’s website the following tutorials and articles can be found:
- Tour Tutorial
This illustrates all the functions used in the UCAT computer-based test like how to answer the questions, call the calculator, navigate screens and about the flag and review functions.
- Question Tutorial
This tutorial features advice on approaching the test, overview of each of the different question types as well as useful strategies on how to answer questions in all 5 subtests.
- Test Tools
This article informs the students about tools like onscreen calculator, keyboard shortcuts and note taking.
- Candidate Advice
On the Candidate Advice page, candidates can find useful advice from past test-takers as well as tips and strategies of highest-scoring candidates from previous years.
- UCAT Videos
The official UCAT YouTube Channel has a number of videos to support one’s preparation. The videos provide information from the UCAT Team plus a selection of University Admissions Tutors sharing their thoughts on the use of the test.
- Resources for Teachers and advisors
UCAT 2021 presentation has information about UCAT for schools and colleges which can use it for advising students.
Commercial Preparation Materials
Candidates may find many commercial companies publishing books and offering coaching for UCAT, but they should keep in mind that UCAT Consortium does not work with any of these companies and neither do they endorse the use of their materials.
Taking advantage of these opportunities can cost candidates a great deal of money and it is advisable to maintain a healthy dose of scepticism when it comes to claims of acing the test by these coaching classes.
Commercial organisations might use questions that are not necessarily of the standard that UCAT maintains and this could distort your performance.
Screen views may be different and commercial organisations are unlikely to include the new question types, which might be encountered in the test. They may also not replicate the UCAT scoring and banding accurately and may give misleading indicators of the anticipated UCAT score.
Unless the practice material online has been published very recently, it will not include the correct content or questions. Therefore, it is highly advised that candidates should refer to official practice materials on UCAT’s website and be cautious of resources from commercial providers as they do not have any link with the UCAT Consortium.
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