What is the UKCAT?

The United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test,, is a computer-based test taken at Pearson Vue Centres, each year.

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test, to give it its Sunday name, is a computer-based test which is used in the selection process by a consortium of UK university Medical and Dental Schools.

This test It is run by the UKCAT Consortium, which is currently chaired by Nigel Siesage, in partnership with Pearson VUE. First introduced in 2006, it is now entering it 10th year of ‘service’

Created to provide detailed information on the candidates' cognitive abilities through four reasoning tests. The sharper eyed among you will notice a fifth (Situational Judgement) in the list, a little further down this page, and this is for testing attitudes and professional behaviour.

The UKCAT is used by universities to help them make better informed choices between medical and dental applicants.

A UKCAT ‘pass’ is a requirement of entry for many medical degrees at medical schools and universities in the UK. The test is broken down into 5 segments, which have a number of questions each and allotted amount of time to complete each section.

The 5 segments, with average scores, are:

      Verbal reasoning                    571

      Quantitative reasoning            684

      Abstract reasoning                 636

      Decision analysis                    614

      Situational judgement              N/A

The UKCAT is designed to test a candidate's aptitude and attitude, and not their academic abilities and achievements - these are already covered by undergraduate degrees and similar.

An aptitude test attempts to assess a certain, and specific range of mental abilities and behavioural attributes that have been identified as being useful. These mental abilities include critical thinking, logical reasoning and inference.

What follows is a brief outline of each of the segments:

      Verbal reasoning - this is to assess a candidates' ability to think logically about written information, and arrive at a reasoned conclusion.

      Quantitative reasoning - assesses a candidate's' ability to solve mathematical problems.

      Abstract reasoning - Abstract reasoning assesses candidates' ability to infer relationships from information by convergent and divergent thinking.

      Decision analysis - This segment is designed to assess a candidates' ability to deal with various forms of information, in order to infer relationships, to make informed judgements and to come to an appropriate response.

The Situational judgement segment is very different to the tests above:

      Situational judgement - measures your responses in situations, and your grasp of medical ethics.

Preparing for the UKCAT

The test is a very important one, and because it is based in aptitude rather than academia, it does not draw on any one body of knowledge - making it difficult for people to prepare for in advance.

That said, you are free to make use of the toolkit provided by UKCAT to familiarise yourself with the test and what will be expected of you.

While it may be difficult to prepare for the test, forewarned is forearmed.

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