What is a good UCAT score? Is it any different in 2023 (2024 entry) than in previous years?
Knowing what a good UCAT score is, how is the UCAT scored and what’s an average UCAT score is the key knowledge to apply strategically and make the most out of your medical school application.
Below you'll find a simple breakdown of UCAT scores:
The final UCAT score is broken down into two parts - the SJT score and the Cognitive Skills Test score.
The Situational Judgement Test is scored across four bands, with Band 4 being the lowest and Band 1 the highest score. Meanwhile, you can get a score from 300 to 900 from each of the four sections of the Cognitive Skills Test (Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Decision Making and Quantitative Reasoning), which together forms a score between 1200 and 3600.
UCAT Deciles and Percentiles Explained:
Since average UCAT scores vary slightly from year to year, deciles and percentiles are used to determine how well you did you do relative to other students in a given year.
UCAT Deciles: A decile is a group of 10% of students, and so there are 10 deciles in total. If you’ve scored in the 7th decile, it means you’ve scored in the top 30% of students. If you’ve scored in the 2nd decile it means you’ve scored in the bottom 20% of students in a given year.
UCAT Percentiles: Deciles are further divided into percentiles. If you’ve scored on the 94th percentile, it means you’ve scored in the top 6% of students. How to know which percentile your UCAT score falls into? It’s very simple - just use this official UCAT score calculator to look up your percentile.
Here’s a table from the official UCAT website to give you an overview of the UCAT score deciles in the past years:
Although UCAT deciles vary slightly from year to year, the average UCAT score stays approximately the same. For this reason, although 2023 UCAT scores haven’t been released yet, the average UCAT score for 2023 entry will be around 2500 (625 per section). Here are the average UCAT scores for 2022 entry:
|Section of the UCAT:||Average Score:|
Every year a score above 2750 (or 675 per section) tends to be a strong UCAT score, giving you a solid chance to secure an interview at universities that don’t give a lot of weight to the UCAT and a good chance at the more competitive medical schools.
🚀 TOP Tip: However, remember that medical schools will compare your UCAT score against the scores of other candidates who applied there: A score of 2750 may be competitive overall, but if you are ranked against students who also scored highly (and thus applied to a high UCAT university) it may not be as strong. Therefore, even with a good UCAT score, you should apply strategically, keeping in mind the average UCAT scores of candidates invited to interview (check FOI requests for such data).
Band 1 SJT score is considered an excellent score and every year less than 20% of students achieve it. Band 2 is considered a good, but not excellent score. Band 3 and Band 4 are rather low scores and some universities may automatically reject you if you have a Band 4.
🚀 TOP Tip: Once you’ve been invited to an interview, try to make the most out of this opportunity. Don’t let it slip by neglecting your interview preparation. Start early and explore our innovative interview preparation resource used by hundreds of students every year.
Every year a score above 2880 would place you in the top 10% of candidates. Therefore anything above 2950 would be considered an excellent UCAT score.
As long as other aspects of your application meet the minimum entry requirements and are at least good, with a score above 2900 you should stand a solid chance to receive an interview from every UCAT medical school.
Since the places at UK medical schools are very limited for international students, the competition is even more intense. The average UCAT score of successful international students is always higher than that for students from the UK. And for this reason, the definition of a good UCAT score changes for international students.
While a UCAT score of 2750 may be sufficient for students from the UK, it is not as competitive for international students. In the past years, a UCAT score above 2950 could be considered a good UCAT score for international students.
If you’ve managed to score above 2700, you can be really proud of yourself! While anything above 2700 is a good score, you should still apply strategically:
If your UCAT score is between 2700 and 2900: With a good, but not excellent UCAT score you can apply everywhere and stand a chance of getting in. However, you might want to reconsider applying to universities, which have the highest UCAT cut-offs or highest average scores. This includes King’s College London, Sheffield, Newcastle and Bristol.
If your UCAT score is above 2900: If you’ve managed to score in the top 10% of UCAT test takers, then you can apply safely to any university. This is provided that your GCSE scores are strong, meet minimum entry requirements and your personal statement is good. Even with a very good UCAT score, you should apply to universities that don’t give as much weight to GCSEs, if your GCSEs aren’t that competitive.
If your UCAT score is below 2500: Scoring low on the UCAT isn’t the end of the world - several medical schools don’t give much weight to the UCAT. If you didn’t do yourself justice check our guide on where to apply with a low UCAT score to maximise your chances of getting in