Introduction to UCAT Scores & Medicine Entry
What UCAT score is required for medicine? If you’re in Year 12 and looking to enter into medicine, the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) should be one of your highest priorities and I’m sure this question is on your mind. In many medical schools in Australia, the entry requirements for entry into undergraduate medicine consist of three parts, with these weightings:
- ATAR (25%)
- UCAT (25%)
- Inteview (50%)
Now this definitely varies from university to university, but an almost universal theme is that your UCAT score forms a crucial part of the entry requirements for undergraduate medicine. Having said that, some universities (such as Griffith, Usyd, and UniMelb Chancellor’s) don’t require UCAT at all. Learn more about all of the undergraduate medicine pathways in Australia.
In this article, we’ll look at the UCAT score you need for entry into undergraduate medicine in Australia, and we’ll give you a few tips to maximise your score and your chances of becoming a doctor.
What is The UCAT?
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is the core medicine entry test used for undergraduate medicine entry in Australia (and the UK). As we said above, it forms one of the three main entry requirements used by many medical schools across the country.
What Are The UCAT Sections?
The UCAT has five different sections:
- Verbal Reasoning (Reading & Comprehension)
- Decision Making (Logic & Problem-Solving)
- Quantitative Reasoning (Maths Skills)
- Abstract Reasoning (Pattern Recognition)
- Situational Judgement (Ethical Scenarios)
For most medical schools, Situational Judgement is not used initially for ranking candidates. Instead, this section is only used if there is a tie between the scores of two or more candidates. Your UCAT score comes from the first four sections.
How Is The UCAT Score Calculated?
Your overall UCAT score is the sum of your scores for the first four sections. Your final score for each section will be between 300 to 900 which means that the maximum UCAT score is 3600 and the minimum UCAT score is 1200. As we’ll discuss below, it is really important to note that universities don’t really care about your UCAT score per se.
That is, it’s not like they have a fixed cutoff for entry. Instead, the cutoff score is based entirely on the performance of the applying cohort for any particular year. That means that ultimately, as unfortunate as it may be, you have to beat a certain percentage (on average, above 90%) of the candidates to secure your place.
What UCAT Score is Needed For Medicine?
The UCAT score that is needed for entry into undergraduate medicine in Australia varies from year to year. As we mentioned above, the actual score itself is not particularly important. What is really important is how many other candidates you beat. This is an unfortunate reality of medicine applications.
A general rule of thumb is that you should aim for a percentile of 90% to 95%. That means you should aim to beat 90% to 95% of all candidates who take the UCAT for a particular year for a relatively safe entry, assuming a competitive ATAR and interview performance. If you are from a rural background, or you are an indigenous student, the UCAT required will be lower.
The score that equates to the 90th to 95th percentile will vary each year as different candidates take the test. All official percentile data is available on the UCAT ANZ website.
In 2023, the UCAT score required for medicine was roughly 3000 to 3100. Please note that this is an estimate only, and the actual scores required for individual universities will vary from year to year. These numbers come from the official UCAT summary statistics and equate to the 90th and 95th percentiles, respectively.
Will UCAT Score Cutoffs Increase or Decrease?
It is impossible to say for certain whether UCAT score cutoffs will increase or decrease for medicine in the future. However, the percentiles have generally increased consistently over time. For instance, the 90th percentile in 2023 was 3000 while it was 2980 in 2022 and just 2960 in 2021. The 90th percentile UCAT score has increased by around 1-2% per year for the last 5 years.
|Year||Summary Summary Statistics||90th %ile|
|2019||Official Summary Statistics||2850|
|2020||Official Summary Statistics||2920|
|2021||Official Summary Statistics||2960|
|2022||Official Summary Statistics||2980|
|2023||Official Summary Statistics||3000|
As you can see, there has been a consistent trend of increasing UCAT percentiles (and subsequent cutoffs) over time for the last 5 years. Although there is no guarantee, it is somewhat likely that scores will continue to increase or at least maintain their current level.
What’s A Good UCAT Score?
In general, a “good” UCAT score is going to simply be the score needed for entry into medicine. This may vary from year to year, from university to university, and even from student to student depending on your rural or indigenous status.
As a rough guide, the UCAT score needed for entry into medicine is generally around the 90th to the 95th percentile which equated to around 3000 to 3100 in 2023. In 2022, the percentile scores were lower at just 2980 for the 90th percentile.
What UCAT Score is Needed For Medicine? Conclusion
Securing a place in medical school requires dedication, strategic preparation, and a clear understanding of the UCAT scoring system. While a good UCAT score is undoubtedly important, it’s not the sole factor that determines your success. Remember to also focus on your ATAR and interview to maximise your chances of admission.
It’s also important to mention that several universities offer options for entry into undergraduate medicine without the UCAT! Some notable universities are Griffith (~99.85 ATAR only), the University of Sydney (99.95 ATAR & interview), and the University of Melbourne (99.90 ATAR & subsequent interview).
The journey to medicine is a long and arduous one, and it is generally accepted that around 95% of those who apply for undergraduate medical degrees will fail to secure a place. It’s so important to keep in mind though that the vast majority of medical students in Australia got into medical school via postgraduate pathways, and the GAMSAT is (in my opinion) a much more forgiving test than the UCAT.
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Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your studies! 🩺