Everything to know about UCAT: Registration and booking, Test Centres, Test Day Rules, Results, Preparation material and resources
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.
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:
Following is the List of Non-UK Associate Member Universities where UCAT is a compulsory requirement:
Steps to follow for UCAT 2021 Registration
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.
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.
The test fee is payable at the time of booking by a major credit card or UCAT bursary voucher.
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:
Candidates who appear for the test are declaring themselves fit to take the test:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
In case of any trouble during the exam, the candidates can take the following steps:
Raising an issue during your test
Obtaining an Incident Case Number
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.
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:
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.
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.
This article informs the students about tools like onscreen calculator, keyboard shortcuts and note taking.
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.
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.
UCAT 2021 presentation has information about UCAT for schools and colleges which can use it for advising students.
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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