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What is the UCAT?

The UCAT is a 2 hour computer based Psychometric Test divided into five separately timed sections.

The sections of the exam are Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement.

Initially termed as the UMAT, The UCAT ANZ is the University Clinical Aptitude Test. It is used in Australia, New Zealand and abroad for admission into medicine and dentistry. It replaced the UMAT, a move made by the Consortium of Australian School-Leaver Entry Medical Schools in 2019, for undergraduate entry medical school entry.

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UCAT Sections & Structure

The UCAT Structure

It is a 2 hour computer based psychometric test and is divided into separately timed sections:

  1. Verbal Reasoning
  2. Decision Making
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Abstract Reasoning
  5. Situational Judgement

Ucat Breakdown Blog

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is the ability to comprehend, analyse, synthesise and drawing conclusions textual information. This is applying critical reasoning to written content.

44 Questions

29 seconds per question

Example Question:

Australia found that obesity rates in Australia have more than doubled in the two decades preceding 2003. This rise in obesity has been attributed to poor eating habits in the country closely related to the availability of fast food since the 1970s, sedentary lifestyles, and a decrease in the proportion of the labour workforce.

There are many ways to classify obesity, and a traditionally used one is to assess one’s Body Mass Index (BMI). This is determined by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres, squared. If someone is overweight their BMI will be 25 or more. If someone is obese their BMI will be 30 or more. Someone who has a BMI of under 18.5 will be underweight. However, more recently, studies have shown that a BMI alone is not a good indicator of obesity, as there are people who carry excessive weight, but their health is not compromised, so they are not considered obese. A better measure would be to combine one’s BMI and their Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR), together with consideration of their lifestyle.

Indigenous Australians have Australia's highest level of obesity. Professor Paul Zimmet at Monash University released figures at the Diabetes in Indigenous People Forum in Melbourne, estimating the rate of diabetes from poor diet at 24% of all Torres Strait Islanders, and remarked that unless extra steps are taken with these groups, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders will die out within 100 years.

According to the passage, which of the following is true?

(A) Australia has the third-highest prevalence of overweight adults in the world.
(B) Out of the English-speaking countries, Australia has the third-highest prevalence of obesity.
(C) Obesity rates have more than doubled from 1983 to 2003 in Australia.
(D) All of the above

According to the passage, which of the following is true?

(A) A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity.
(B) There has been an increase of poor eating habits since 1970 in Australia.
(C) The labour workforce of Australia is smaller now than it had been in 1970.
(D) Increased consumption of fast foods is one of the key drivers of the increase in obesity rates.

Decision Making

In the UCAT, decision making refers to an umbrella of related abilities centred on drawing conclusions from diverse and complicated sources of information. An understanding of logical arguments is key for this section in addition to being able to interpret data from text, charts, tables, graphs, and other diagrams.

29 Questions

64 seconds per question

Example Question:

Not everybody at the music festival enjoyed Electronic Dance Music. All that did enjoy Electronic Dance Music also enjoyed Rhythm and Blues. However, some people who enjoyed Electronic Dance Music did not enjoy Jazz. All the people who enjoyed Rock at the concert also enjoyed Rhythm and Blues.

Place “Yes” if the conclusion does follow. Place “No” if the conclusion does not follow.

Conclusion: At least some concert-goers that enjoyed Jazz also enjoyed Electronic Dance Music.

(A) Yes
(B) No

Conclusion: At least some concert-goers that enjoyed Rhythm and Blues also enjoyed Jazz.

(A) Yes
(B) No

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative reasoning is more than numbers and mental arithmetic. It is focused on sound reasoning which is grounded in numbers: statistics, figures, and costs. All candidates will have access to an onscreen calculator. This section is comprised of nine Scenarios with four questions each.

36 Questions

40 seconds per question

Example Question:

Using Goldman Exchange, how many pounds did she exchange if she ended up with $1000?

(A) 793
(B) 800
(C) 1015
(D) 1261
(E) 1280

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Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoning tests the ability to discern, analyse, and synthesise information. Students must be efficient in iterative thinking with the ability to constantly generate hypotheses and modify them dependent on their success.

55 Questions

14 seconds per question

Example Question:

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Screen Shot 2019 03 12 At 3 05 17 Pm

Situational Judgement

Situational judgement focuses on clinical scenarios that involve university and medical students. These scenarios evaluate a candidate’s integrity and ability to respond to difficult situations. Broadly, this section seeks to evaluate the emotional quotient (EQ) that is more applicable to future careers in health sciences.

69 Questions

25 Seconds

Example Question:

James and Clair are both medical students. They are observing a colonoscopy, performed by a senior gastroenterologist, Dr Michaels. After the patient is put under anaesthesia, Dr Michaels instructs both students to perform a digital-rectal examination on the patient, as he believes that it would be a valuable learning experience.

How important to take into account are the following considerations for James and Clair, when deciding how to respond to the situation.

The students did not get a chance to obtain consent from the patient for the digital rectal exam, as the patient was under anaesthesia.

(A) Very important
(B) Important
(C) Of minor importance
(D) Not important at all

The patient was consented by Dr Michaels before the procedure, during which he explained to the patient that he might perform a digital-rectal exam to screen for certain diseases.

(A) Very important
(B) Important
(C) Of minor importance
(D) Not important at all

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Our UCAT tutors are the top 5% of UCAT test takers, with a wealth of knowledge and experience ready to help you succeed in the world’s more difficult entrance exam. Our individualised tutoring supports with:

  • Develop strategy and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed when sitting the UCAT
  • Learn, practice questions on your own, on the go, or with your tutor on our bespoke online learning platform, Synapse
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  • Our workshops help students to tackle their areas of weakness efficiently

A student's UCAT test results determine whether or not they proceed to the interview, which is why our tutoring focuses on preparation and strategy.


Preparing for UCAT

How to prepare for the UCAT

When Should I start Preparing?

So we know that the UCAT is competitive, as evidenced by the fact that your score is going to be a direct reflection of how well you shape up relative to the other 14,000 students sitting the exam at the same time as you. What do you do about this? The answer is simple. Give yourself a competitive edge. Start your research now, acquire MedView preparation resources, secure a mentor, and plan. It’s no secret that most students will forget about the UCAT until a couple of months before they are due to sit it. They will purchase some last minute question materials and cram for 3-4 hours per day in the lead-up time. Meanwhile, their grades at school will slip, their anxiety levels will rise, and they will be stressed, leading to poorer sleep, and overall worse performance on the day. Don’t be this student.

Understand that the fundamental pillar of preparation for any standardised exam is consistency, over a long period of time. This way, you develop skills, and the practice becomes part of your routine, and not something that disrupts it. This is analogous to the learning of a difficult piano piece over the course of a year. Practising every second day in manageable segments is going to be far more effective than cramming in multiple hours of practice per day in the two months leading up to the piano recital. So the moral of the story here is: If you are at any point in your journey towards medical school, and know for sure that it is what you want to do, speak to an Academic Advisor and start your UCAT preparation with MedView now!

How Often Should I Practice?

3, 4 or 5 hours of practice per day is not only impractical, but also suboptimal. UCAT study should ideally be moulded around your school study, because more often than not, school exit scores or GPA will be the first thing that selection boards look at, before ordering candidates based on their UCAT score. As such, the amount of time that each student dedicates towards preparation for the UCAT will vary. Furthermore, preparation should be goal driven. This means that you should be setting yourself performance goals (e.g. five abstract reasoning questions correct today) as opposed to time-based goals (20 minutes of abstract reasoning questions today).

How is the UCAT scored?

The first thing to keep in mind is that the UCAT exam has no pass score. How well a candidate performs on the exam is expressed as a percentile which directly reflects how well said candidate has done relative to all others sitting the exam. For example, a percentile score of 95 means that a student has scored better than 95% of students, and worse than 5% of students. This being said, universities technically do not decide on an arbitrary cut-off for the UCAT before student results and applications are in. They execute a “top-down” approach, whereby they fill their medical school spots starting with the highest performers who preference said university first. The published cutoffs for each year are therefore retrospective and usually reflect the lowest UCAT score accepted that year.

How are UCAT scores calculated?

UCAT scores are calculated by converting the number of questions you got right into a ‘scaled score’. For more information about scaled score, check out our Exams and Interviews eBook. This ranges from 300 to 900 in each subtest. Your scores in each of the four cognitive subtests are added together to form an overall UCAT cognitive subtest score, which ranges from 1200 to 3600. Students also receive a separate score for UCAT Situational Judgement ranging from 300 to 900.

Raw scores in each of Abstract Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are converted to a Scaled Score between 300 - 900. This means a total score of between 1200 - 3600. Situational Judgement results are expressed in Bands with the highest being Band 1, and the lowest Band 4.

How are the UCAT scores used?

UCAT results are made available prior to most application deadlines. The consortium will advise applicants to use their results to guide their academic choices, to reduce the chance of a dead-end application. However, universities will advise applicants to use your UCAT results to determine eligibility.

When can I take the UCAT?

Candidates can choose when to take the UCAT on a selected day between the 1st and 31st of July. For a given academic year in New Zealand, the UCAT can only be taken once a year, whereas Australian students can only sit it once in their final year.

How to Apply

Candidates must use the Pearson VUE online registration system to register and then book a test. Registrations begin in March and end in mid-May.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Medical Schools require the UCAT?


The below universities in Australia require students to sit the UCAT for undergraduate medical admission:

  • The University of Adelaide
  • Curtin University
  • Flinders University
  • Monash University
  • The University of Newcastle/University of New England
  • The University of New South Wales
  • The University of Queensland
  • University of Tasmania
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Western Sydney University

The two universities that offer medicine in New Zealand also require the UCAT:

  • The University of Auckland
  • University of Otago

If you want to go to medical school in Australia, you need to sit the UCAT in your final year of high school. Because you need to complete a one-year degree before medical school in New Zealand, you won’t need to sit the UCAT until you are at university.

Each university has its own UCAT cut-offs but like your high school scores, just meeting the UCAT cut-offs isn’t enough. You’ll need to exceed the score expectations to have a chance of getting accepted in a medical school.

Who is eligible?

Students who are in their final year of high school and their first year of a health science degree at university. Students in lower year levels are not eligible.

Is there a testing centre near me?

Candidates can choose to sit the UCAT in major metropolitan and regional sites. At major sites, candidates can choose any date from the 4 week period between the 1st and 31st of July. Other testing centres will only be open for a few dates in that period.

New Zealand
Open for all 4 weeks
Open for 3 weeks
Open for 2 weeks
Open for 1 week

Major Testing Centres
Centres open for all 4 weeks
Other Testing Centres
Only selected dates available
Wagga Wagga
Port Macquarie
Gold Coast
Alice Springs
Mt Gambier

The UCAT can also be sat overseas. Please contact the UCAT ANZ administrators, Pearson Vue, for more information.

How long do my results last?

Results are received on the day of the UCAT. Expect these results to hold currency for one year.

How much does it cost to sit the UCAT?

The cost to sit the UCAT in New Zealand is NZ$298.00, and AU$298.00 in Australia. A reduced test fee will be available for current Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card holders.

Will I need to take the UCAT to study undergraduate medicine?

With the exception of James Cook University, Bond University and The University of Sydney, all undergraduate medicine programs require the UCAT. Several direct entry postgraduate programs also require the UCAT. Select Dentistry and Health Sciences courses may also require the UCAT.