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Decoding your UCAT scores
UCAT percentiles and deciles
How universities use UCAT scores
UCAT score trends from previous years
Written By Team MedView
Reviewed By Callum Chalmers (Currently studying Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery - MBChB at University of Auckland)
Navigating the world of medical and dental school admissions can be overwhelming (that's an understatement!), especially when understanding the importance of the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) scores.
As a vital component of your application, the UCAT score can significantly impact your chances of securing a spot in your dream program. But what exactly makes a good UCAT score? And how are your UCAT results calculated?
To help answer these questions, we've created a comprehensive guide on the intricacies of UCAT results, scoring, and percentiles, breaking down how it all works. Ready to dive in?
UCAT scores are composed of several components, including scaled scores for each section and a total cognitive section score.
Each section of the UCAT is scored on a scale of 300 to 900, based on the number of correct answers provided.
The total cognitive section score serves as a significant gauge of your overall UCAT performance. This score is derived from the sum of your individual scaled scores from the first 4 sections, ranging from 1200 to 3600.
For the Verbal Reasoning (VR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), and Abstract Reasoning (AR) subtests, each question is worth 1 mark, while in the Decision Making (DM) subtest, multi-statement questions are weighted as 2 marks. Although, 1 mark is awarded to partially correct responses on the multiple-statement questions.
These scaled scores play a significant role in medical school admissions, as higher scores generally indicate better performance. To gauge your competitiveness amongst other students, the median UCAT scores for each section in 2023 are as follows:
Bear in mind that there are no partial marks or negative marking in the UCAT; hence, answering all questions to the best of your ability is fundamental to maximising your scoring potential.
The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is the final part of the UCAT and it is designed to gauge your capacity to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.
The SJT is also scored on a scale of 300 to 900, with full marks awarded for responses match the correct answer. Partial marks are awarded if your response is close to the correct answer.
It's important to know that it's not common for universities to consider the SJT within the admissions process. Anecdotally, many of the universities prefer to test this skill in the interview versus the multiple choice format in the UCAT.
While it's often not taken into consideration by medical schools for the interview offer process, it is still a part of the UCAT that you have to complete.
UCAT percentiles and deciles act as noteworthy yardsticks for comparing your performance against that of other test-takers. A higher percentile or decile indicates better performance, with a score in the 9th decile, for example, placing you in the top 10% of all test-takers.
Understanding where you stand in relation to others can help you gauge your competitiveness and make informed decisions about your university choices and application strategy.
To convert your UCAT percentile to a decile, simply subtract the percentile from 10. For instance, a score in the 90th percentile would correspond to the 9th decile. You can also use this UCAT percentile calculator on the UCAT ANZ website to discover where you sit.
Monitoring UCAT score trends from previous years can also provide useful insights into the exam’s competitiveness and help you assess your performance in relation to past test-takers.
A good UCAT score is generally above 3000 and is what is needed to be successful when applying to medical schools. Those who score 3100 and above typically have a good chance of being offered an interview.
An average UCAT score usually sits between 2600-2900. Based on previous years, a score in this range isn't typically offered an interview. Although, some universities do have slightly lower UCAT cut-off scores.
For example, the cut-off score for Flinders University is around 2870 and ranking for admission offers are based on 90% ATAR and 10% UCAT results, making it a viable option for those with slightly lower scores.
A low UCAT score tends to sit below 2600. While this can be incredibly disappointing, not all hope is lost as there are still ways you can apply to medical school. Your best bet is to look at schools that don't use the UCAT in the admissions process, like James Cook University, Bond University, the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne.
While admission to these universities is still competitive, it doesn't rely on your UCAT results, making it a viable option for those who still want to apply for medical school the same year.
Alternatively, you could also consider an institution like the University of Tasmania, which has a low UCAT score threshold of around 2530.
In general, for entry into medical and dental programs, a UCAT score of at least the 90th percentile is typically recommended.
However, certain factors such as being a rural student, may result in reduced UCAT score requirements. Investigating the specific UCAT score requirements for each university and program you’re considering is vital, as cut-off scores differ.
Now we've explored how UCAT scoring works, how do you actually get your UCAT results and how long does it take? Thankfully, you don't have to wait long!
After you have completed the UCAT, you will receive an email from Pearson VUE within 24 hours, which includes instructions on how to access your UCAT ANZ Score Report through your account.
This means you generally have access to your score within a day of taking the test, so you won't be stuck in a post-exam limbo for too long.
Once your results are ready, they are also automatically transmitted to consortium universities, ensuring that they have access to your UCAT ANZ 2023 test results data.
During the admissions process, universities utilise UCAT scores in diverse ways. Some use the score as the primary selection criteria for the interview process, while others consider it in combination with other factors, like your ATAR.
Another factor that can vary from university to university is how they consider the subtest scores versus the total scaled score.
Below, we've looked at the universities that consider the total cognitive score and those that look at individual subtest scores.
Analysing UCAT score trends from previous years can provide valuable insights into the competitiveness of the exam and help you gauge your performance in relation to past test-takers.
In general, the competitiveness of UCAT scores continues to rise each year. For example, the median score in 2023 is 2550, while the median score in 2022 was 2530, and in 2021, it was 2520.
But, in order to land an interview with a medical school, you generally need to score 3100+ to be competitive.
Interestingly, the scores of the individual subtests has largely stayed the same, expect for Verbal Reasoning scores. This was the only subtest to increase significantly in 2023, with the median score coming in at 600 and the 90th percentile landing at 720.
In 2022, the median score for VR was 580 and in the 90th percentile, 680. Comparatively, the fluctuations in the DM, QR and AR subtests haven't been as significant.
Verbal Reasoning is typically the lowest scoring section of the UCAT and still trails around 50 points below the other subtests but, anecdotally, recent increases in VR scores could be because people are spending more time and attention on preparing for it as it's widely considered the hardest section of the exam.
Though preparing for the UCAT may seem overwhelming, and it certainly can be, there are ways you can make this process more straightforward.
Factors that play an important role in achieving a high UCAT score include effective preparation, time management, and understanding your personal strengths and weaknesses and where you need to spend your time and attention as a result.
Plus, we can't forget that seeking out support in the form of tutors can also be incredibly helpful and make a huge difference to your UCAT journey.
This is what MedView does best. We understand the process of applying to medical schools is not only complex and confusing but it’s more competitive than ever before!
MedView Education takes med school admission to a new level through personalised admission support, application review, entrance exam and interview tutoring, and extracurricular mentoring for students in Australasia.
We understand that each student is different, so the services we provide are always personalised to your individual needs.
Our process works as follows:
Our initial consultation helps us identify your goals and aspirations for medical school — and exactly how to get there!
Our team helps you evaluate your chances of admission to top medical schools based on your strengths and areas for improvement.
We work with every student to create a personalised game plan for success.
Each student is matched with a dedicated team of admission specialists, medical students, tutors, mentors and doctors.
Our admissions experts help identify the medical schools that suit your aspirations and capabilities best.
Your team works with you on every exam, interview and application requirement to ensure you have a competitive chance!
Our dedicated team and personalised support helps students get the results they need, with our UCAT students 5 times more likely to receive an interview and 4.5 times more likely to gain admission to an Australian medical school.
You can also access a bunch of free and helpful resources — including insights from current medical students and MedView Admission Experts on the pathways and requirements to successful admission into medical school — via the MedView website.
To be in the top 1% of UCAT students, you will need to achieve a score of 3290 or higher out of 3600. This places you at the 99th percentile and indicates excellent performance.
A score upwards of 3000 is considered to be a good UCAT score in Australia.
The highest score on the UCAT 2023 is 3600, which is obtained by taking the total score out of 3600 or taking the average of the 4 sections' scores to get a score out of 900.
The typical UCAT score recommended for entry into medicine and dentistry programs is at least the 90th percentile. However, individual program requirements may vary.
Navigating the complex world of UCAT scores, subtests and percentiles can be challenging! If you'd like extra support from industry professionals with years of experience, we can help — simply book a free consultation with our MedView advisors for guidance on this process.