Are you getting ready to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)? With the test coming up right around the corner, I’m here to give you some useful tips for mastering this exam. Let’s start by defining the test.

The UKCAT is an aptitude test used for entrance into medical or dental school in the UK. It is comprised of five subtests: Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Situational Judgement and Decision Making. Preparing for the test can feel like a daunting task, but these helpful tips will set you out on the right path.

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General Pointers

  • Try to register for the test early so that you have more test date options.
  • Set aside at least 21–30 hours to study for the exam. In our experience, most students need more time than that. We recommend starting to study at least three weeks before the test, for about two hours a day.
  • Make a structured study schedule and use a combination of study materials. Check out our UKCAT preparation pack. It features over 1,000 practice questions, detailed answer explanations and score reports.
  • When studying, make sure to factor managing your time. On the day of the test, you should budget about one minute per question. This is a helpful number to remember so that you can avoid panic.


UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Pointers

  • First and foremost, make sure you know what to expect in this section. Learn more about this section on our UKCAT Verbal Reasoning page.
  • In this section, it is especially important to manage your time. Try to improve your reading speed and comprehension by practising before the test.
  • Take note that the wording of the question will often provide insight to the answer.


UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning Pointers

  • It is important to brush up on your mathematical skills before this test. Check out our UKCAT Quantitative Reasoning preparation and practice a test before you begin your preparation process to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Review the four basic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) as well as fractions, ratios and percentages.
  • You are allowed the use of a basic calculator on the exam. So, make sure to practise with a basic calculator, not a scientific one.


UKCAT Abstract Reasoning Pointers

  • This section requires you to go above and beyond simply identifying patterns. Take a look at our UKCAT Abstract Reasoning prep to help you get ready for the exam.
  • Before you look at the questions, review the diagrams for Set A and Set B and try to think of connections between the two. This will help you when answering the questions.
  • When deciding what the two sets have in common, focus on the sets’ shading, position, size, form, quantity, colour and direction.


UKCAT Decision Making Pointers

  • Recently, this section has begun to be graded. This part of the UKCAT deals with solving problems and risk management.
  • Make sure when you review for this section to use preparation materials for ‘Decision Making’ and not the older version called ‘Decision Analysis’.


UKCAT Situational Judgement Pointers

  • Remember when answering each question to picture yourself as a healthcare professional. Before taking the test, review what is expected of doctors and dentists. Visit the General Medical Council (GMC) or General Dental Council (GDC) website and review the sections called ‘Fitness to Practise’ and ‘Professionalism’.
  • In this section, there is always one answer that is considered to be ‘correct’. However, there is also a second answer that is very similar to the ‘correct’ answer. You will be given partial credit if you choose this one.
  • To get used to this style of question, try our UKCAT Situational Judgement practice. You want to ensure you recognise the types of answers that are most ‘correct’.
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For more information about the exam, check out our FAQ page. To get a better idea of what the test is like, try our free UKCAT practice test.