UCAT
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The 2022 UCAT Exam Format Has Changed

Published on
May 12, 2024
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The UCAT is known to be full of surprises and 2022 is no exception to this. There have been notable changes to the UCAT's test timings and total number of questions for students sitting the test this academic year.

From the traditional 233 questions over 120 minutes, the new UCAT structure has now come down to 225 questions over a 1 hour 55 minute strapped time period. UCAT Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Situational Judgement sections have been at the crux of modifications, however, in no way should they affect your UCAT study because these changes are not dramatic but rather minor that can be coped with good practice resources.

The UCAT is the University Clinical Aptitude Test, which is the undergraduate equivalent of the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT). The UCAT is issued in both Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for universities within Australia, New Zealand (UCAT ANZ) and the United Kingdom (UKCAT) respectively, however UCAT applicants can sit the exam in major cities in other locations around the world.

The results of the test are used in conjunction with your academic qualifications, followed by an interview, to determine which individuals are suited to study medicine at an undergraduate level.

The UCAT broadly consists of 233 multiple choice questions which must be answered over a period of 2 hours. These multiple choice questions are broken down into five sub-sections, which assess various attributes and qualities that universities see as essential for prospective medical students: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and the Situational Judgement Test.

Who Can Sit The UCAT?

Any individual currently studying or has completed Year 12 of secondary schooling is eligible to sit the UCAT. Individuals who have also begun studying a tertiary qualification, such as a bachelor's degree or a diploma, are also eligible to sit the UCAT. Year 11 students and lower, however, are not eligible to sit the UCAT.

When Can I Use My UCAT Score?

Students can sit the UCAT only once a year, however there is no limit on how many times a student can sit the exam. 

Students who are planning to sit the UCAT ANZ in 2022 must use their results for entry into an ANZ medical school starting in 2023.

What Does The UCAT Look Like?

The UCAT is used to assess attributes and qualities that universities desire in their medical students.

Section Verbal Reasoning Decision Making Quantitative Reasoning Abstract Reasoning Situational Judgement Test
Question Number 44 Questions 29 Questions 36 Questions 50 Questions 66 Questions
Time 21 Minutes 31 Minutes 25 Minutes 12 Minutes 26 Minutes
Primary Attribute(s) Being Assessed Reading Comprehension Logic and Reasoning Mathematical Reasoning Pattern Recognition Integrity, Teamwork and Ethical Reasoning

Most undergraduate medical programmes in Australia list the UCAT as a prerequisite for entry into medicine - a list of these universities can be found below

All questions in the UCAT are multiple choice. Between each section, there is a 1-minute instruction section for candidates to read through that is not included in your test time.

UCAT Verbal Reasoning Explained

The Verbal Reasoning section comprises 44 questions over a 21 minute period. This section is designed to assess general reading comprehension skills. This is an essential quality for all prospective medical and dental students. In both university and the workplace, these students will be tasked with reading complex, often verbose information. As such, success in verbal reasoning may indicate to a university that a candidate has the ability to succeed both academically and in practice.

UCAT Decision Making Explained

The Decision Making section comprises 29 questions over a 31 minute period. This section assesses a student’s capacity to logically reason and evaluate quantitative information and qualitative arguments. The ability to quickly evaluate and synthesise information is critical for a future medical practitioner, as it may be necessary to evaluate risks and emergency situations under the pressure of time. Thus, sucess in the Decision Making subtest shows a university that the student can cope under pressure and be critical of important information.

UCAT Quantitative Reasoning Explained

The Quantitative Reasoning section comprises 36 questions over a 25 minute period. This section looks at the ability of a student to solve problems involving a numeric element. Certain courses during medical studies, and particular professions that may use these qualifications, often rely on the ability to quickly respond to complex mathematical information. Success in this section indicates that a student has the mathematical ability to succeed in these courses and may indicate suitability for a number of areas of medical practice.

UCAT Abstract Reasoning Explained

The Abstract Reasoning section comprises 50 questions over a 12 minute period. This section requires the identification of patterns and the ability to synthesise geometric information in order to determine what is and is not relevant. This directly applies to the process of diagnosing a patient. Medical professionals will often be asked to consider which information in a patient’s history or presentation is relevant and which should be disregarded.

Furthermore, from an  academic perspective, the ability to look objectively at patterns is often crucial in consideration of data and other experimental outcomes. Success in this section suggests that a student will be able to succeed within both practical and more theoretical subjects while studying.

UCAT Situational Judgement Test Explained

The final section of the UCAT is Situational Management which comprises 69 questions over a 26 minute period. This is the most practical of the sections and asks students to consider real-world situations and identify appropriate responses to them. This section in particular shows university admissions staff that an applicant has what it takes to become a medical professional, as it embodies many of the core elements of medical practice. A student who succeeds in this section is therefore likely to be well-suited to the practical elements of medical practice.

Which Universities Require The UCAT?

Most undergraduate medical programmes in Australia list the UCAT as a prerequisite for entry into medicine - a list of these universities can be found below. 

University Programme
The University of Adelaide

Medicine 

Dental Surgery 

Oral Health

Central Queensland University

Medical Science (Regional Medical Pathway provisional entry to UQ)

Curtin University

Medicine 

Charles Sturt University

Dental Science

Medicine (Joint Program in Medicine)

 

Flinders University

Clinical Sciences / Medicine

 

Griffith University

Dental Health Science

La Trobe University

Dental Science

Monash University

Medicine 

The University of Newcastle / University of New England

Joint Medical Program 

The University of New South Wales

Medicine

The University of Queensland

Medicine (provisional entry pathway) 

Dental Science

University of Tasmania

Medicine

The University of Western Australia

Medicine (Direct Pathway) 

Dental Medicine (Direct Pathway)

Western Sydney University

Medicine (Joint program in Medicine)

The University of Auckland

Medicine

University of Otago

Medicine 

Dentistry

 

indicator of a future medical student as this section relies heavily on an understanding of medical ethics, which is not taught in the national Australian

 

There are two universities that do not require the UCAT - Bond University and James Cook University. However, to be considered for entry into most Australian or New Zealand Universities, students must sit the UCAT ANZ test.

What Does Your UCAT Score Mean?

After sitting the exam, you will receive your UCAT score within 24 hours of your exam sitting. You will receive your scores for each individual section, where it will range from 300 to 900. Below is a table showing the range of scores in each section and how they relate to the candidate decile, which is similar to a percentile.

Graph Of Section Score vs Decile Number

ucat section score vs decile number

If you are applying for 2023 admission into medical school, you should note that some universities are excluding the Situational Judgement test from their prerequisite eligibility requirements. Currently, there is much debate in Australia and New Zealand whether the SJT is a good indicator of a future medical student as this section relies heavily on an understanding of medical ethics, which is not taught in the national Australian curriculum. 

Section

Verbal Reasoning

Decision Making

Quantitative Reasoning

Abstract Reasoning

Overall Score

Situational Judgement Test

Mean Score

577

635

671

644

2527

592

What Is A Good UCAT Score?

Your overall UCAT score is an aggregate of all the exam sections, and will range from 1800 to 3600. If an individual scored around 2920 in 2022 sitting, they were considered to be in the top 10% (or decile) of all UCAT candidates. Below you will find a graph that shows the candidate total score compared to the decile number, demonstrating where that score was in the field.

Graph of Total UCAT Score vs Decile Number

total ucat score vs decile number

A good UCAT score is dependent on the decile you score in. Though many Australian and New Zealand medical schools do not disclose a prerequisite score for the UCAT at this stage, a good UCAT score can be considered to be any score within the top quartile (25%) of all UCAT candidates.

Using the UCAT ANZ test statistics from 2021, we can understand that if a student scored a total cognitive scaled score of 2960, they would range in the 9th decile of all UCAT exam-sitters, and thus be in the top 10%.

How Do I Apply For The UCAT? 

In order to sit the UCAT, you must register through the Pearson Vue website before the 17th of May 2022. There is an exam booking fee of $305 (AUD), though concessions are available.

If you miss this booking deadline, there is another late booking deadline on the 31st of May 2022, however this has a $85 (AUD) late booking fee on top of the original exam booking fee.

There is only one exam sitting window, beginning on the 1st of July 2022 and ending on the 12th of August 2022. 

There are testing centres in every major Australian city, so it is usually not difficult to find a suitable location to sit the exam. 

We strongly encourage candidates to familiarise themselves with this content in order to better understand the question style of the exam, and the technical aspect of navigating the exam system.