Test Format

UKCAT testing is now closed for 2014.  The information below may be subject to change.  Details of the 2015 test programme will be updated in due course.

The test assesses a range of mental abilities identified by university Medical and Dental Schools as important. There is no curriculum content as the test examines innate skills.  Each subtest is in a multiple-choice format and is separately timed.

For candidates sitting the examination in summer 2014, the UKCAT will consist of:

  • Verbal reasoning - assesses ability to critically evaluate information that is presented in a written form.
  • Quantitative reasoning - assesses ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form.
  • Abstract reasoning - assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information.
  • Decision analysis - assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information.
  • Situational judgement - measures capacity to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.

There are two versions of UKCAT: the standard UKCAT and the UKCATSEN (Special Educational Needs). The UKCATSEN is a longer version of the UKCAT intended for candidates who require additional time due to a documented medical condition or disability.  The timings of the two tests are detailed below:

 

Section

Items

Standard Test Time  

Extended Test Time  

Verbal Reasoning

44 items   

22 minutes

28 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

36 items

25 minutes

31.5 minutes

Abstract Reasoning

55 items

14 minutes

17.5 minutes

Decision Analysis

28 items

32 minutes

39 minutes

Situational Judgement

67 items

27 minutes

34 minutes

 Total Time

 

120 minutes

150 minutes

 

Marking

The four cognitive sections (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Decision Analysis) are marked on the number of correct answers a candidate gives. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers.  How you perform on one item does not influence other items you will be presented with.  As the number of items varies between the four cognitive sections it is not possible to make a direct comparison of the raw scores. Raw scores are therefore converted to scale scores that share a common range from 300 to 900. A total scale score is generated by summing individual scale scores of the four cognitive sections. The total scale score ranges from 1200 to 3600.

Results for Confidence Ratings will not contribute to the Decision Analysis score and will not be communicated to the Universities to which you apply.

Within the Situational Judgement test, full marks are awarded for an item if your response matches the correct answer and partial marks awarded if your response is close to the correct answer.  Raw scores are then expressed in one of four bands, with band 1 being the highest.  Alongside their band, candidates will be given an interpretation of this performance:

Band 1

Those in Band 1 demonstrated an excellent level of performance, showing similar judgement in most cases to the panel of experts.

Band 2

Those in Band 2 demonstrated a good, solid level of performance, showing appropriate judgement frequently, with many responses matching model answers.

Band 3

Those in Band 3 demonstrated a modest level of performance, with appropriate judgement shown for some questions and substantial differences from ideal responses for others.

Band 4

The performance of those in Band 4 was low, with judgement tending to differ substantially from ideal responses in many cases.

 

As the Situational Judgement test is a measure of non-cognitive attributes, it will be considered by universities in a different manner to the cognitive subtests. Please refer to their websites for more details.

2014 preliminary mean scores plus average scores and decile ranges for the 2013 test cycle are available here.  You can find out how each university uses the UKCAT here.