If you want to become a doctor, then you first need to go to medical school, but before you can even begin, you will need to take wither the UK Clinical Aptitude Test, better known as the UCAT or UKCAT test. Other schools will ask you to take the BioMedical Admissions Test, also known as the BMAT test. It is important to check which test your medical school needs you to take to apply; some students even take both tests if they are applying to different schools. To help you on your journey to medical school, here is everything you need to know about the two tests…


Credit: UCAT

There are 30 medical schools in the UK that require applicants to take the UCAT test. Some universities judge the test with other work, some need students to pass a certain mark, and others use the marks to list the students and only let in the top percentage. So again, it is important to check how your university will be using the test.

The UCAT test costs £65 if you are an EU student sitting in July or August, or £87 if they take it in September of October. Non-EU students will have to pay £115 regardless of when they take the test.

The test itself is a two-hour test that you take on a computer. It asks you to do a variety of things and is split into five separately timed subtests with plenty of multiple-choice questions, each start with a one minute set of instructions.

The first subtest is all about Verbal Reasoning, and you will have 21 minutes to answer 44 questions. The purpose of this test is to evaluate your ability to critically evaluate information that is presented in a written form.

The second subtest is about Decision Making, and you will have 31 minutes to answer 29 questions. This test assesses your ability to make clear decisions and sound judgments when presented with complex information.

The third test is Quantitative Reasoning, and you will have 24 minutes to answer 36 questions. These questions will assess your ability to critically evaluate information when it is presented in a numerical form.

The fourth test is Abstract Reasoning, where you will only have 13 minutes to answer 55 questions. These questions are all about assessing your convergent and divergent thinking.

Finally, the last test is Situational Judgement, where you have 26 minutes to answer 69 questions.

The first four tests have a score range of 300 – 900, making the total score range 1200 to 3600. A score between 640 and 670 for each test is seen as a good score. The Situational Judgement Test is marked separately to the other tests.

There are also plenty of practice tests available online, most of which are split into sections. So if there was a specific section you are struggling with, you can just practice that rather than having to do the whole test every time.


Credit: Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing

The BMAT test costs £83 for EU students to sit the test is £83 in August or £48 in October. For students outside of the EU it costs £119 to take the test in August and £81 in October.

Similarly to the UCAT test, the BMAT test is also two hours long. However, it is split into three sections rather than five. The first section is about thinking skills, and you have 60 minutes to answer 32 multiple-choice questions. The test is all about your general skills in problem-solving and critical thinking.

The second part of the test is all about your scientific knowledge and how you will apply it. You will have 30 minutes to answer 27 multiple choice questions, which will cover most topics in Science and Maths covered by GCSEs.

The third part of the test also lasts 30 minutes and is the writing task. There will be three questions, and you will choose just one to answer. This will test your ability to select, develop and organise your ideas whilst communicating them in a concise and effective way.

You can also have a go at a practice test before the real one. Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing has a whole range of papers for you to practice on, and they even have section specific guides for you to use to revise.

Which test do I need to do?

Whether you need to do the UCAT or BMAT test depends on where you are applying, but to prevent you from doing the wrong test here are a few examples of educational establishments and the tests they need applicants to take.

Here are some of the schools that require applicants to take the UCAT, and here are the schools that want their applicants to take the BMAT.