UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is a standardized examination for prospective students seeking places in United Kingdom medical and dental schools. The UKCAT covers Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning  and Decision Analysis. The test is 2 hours long and all sections are multiple choice. It is wise to always be aware of the time and not spend too much time on harder questions as this will have an impact on the later questions in the test.

There is also a version of the UK CAT called the UK CATSEN (Special Educational Needs) designed for those that have special arrangements for a medical condition or disability.

Verbal Reasoning
You will be given a piece of literature to read as the assessors are looking for your aptitude in reading information and being able to draw an analysis or conclusion from it. There may be several pieces of literature to read, each with a few  verbal comprehension questions that must be answered. These questions will be statements of information and you will have to mark on your answer sheet whether you believe the statement to be true, false or that the answer cannot be determined. Although some questions may seem slightly ambiguous, there is always a correct answer.

This test is administered onscreen. There are 11 passages to read and 4 statements that correspond with each passage. Underneath each statement will be three options; True, False or Can’t Tell. You will be given 22 minutes to complete the test.

The passages that you will be given to read are usually factual and are extracted from books, magazines and newspapers. All of the information you need to answer the questions will be given to you, no other knowledge is required. The extract is there to convey information to you or attempt to persuade you to a certain viewpoint. You should answer ‘True’ if there is definitely information in the passage that corresponds with the statement, either there in black or white or can be logically deduced. Selecting ‘False’ as your answer would suggest that the statement given is in direct conflict with the passage or it is distinctly implied that it would be a contradiction. You should select the ‘Can’t Tell’ option if there is not enough information given to you in the passage to be able to make a firm judgement.

Quantitative Reasoning
This portion focuses on your numerical abilities. Information is provided in the form of tables, charts or graphs. There will be four separate questions for each piece of information given to you and four or five answer choices.

It is assumed that you studied a Maths GCSE to a fairly high level in this test, but the test is not measuring your mathematical ability, simply your ability to  reason mathematically and to make sense of numbers and patterns. You will need to be able to perform simple equations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division without the use of a calculator.

Abstract Reasoning
The purpose of an abstract reasoning test is to measure your general intelligence without the influence of your social and education knowledge thus far. It gives a clear indication of your capacity for learning. You are only given basic knowledge with which to answer a question so it tests how well you are able to use this logic and consists of sequences of shapes or patterns.

Firstly, the shapes must be identified. How big are they, what colour are they, how many are there, what is their shape, etc. Then, you are able to look at the bigger picture and see if there is any pattern in the shapes. The shapes could be mirrored (i.e. flipped over), the colours could reverse or the shapes could follow a pattern. Once you have grasped the pattern you should be able to decide which symbol should fit in next.

Decision Analysis
This portion is testing how well you are able to make sense of coded information and if you can trust your own judgement enough to make a decision that may not be completely logic based. You will be given one situation together with some coded information and must use it to make sense of the terms that are then given to you. The terms and questions in relation will get progressively harder.

You are being assessed on your ability to make decisions which will look at how well you can make sense of information, analyse facts and put everything together to make a decision when you may not have all of the relevant information.

The test will be onscreen and there will be one scenario with 26 related items following. There will be four or five responses available for each item and in some cases, there may be more than one correct answer. If a multiple response is required it will be stated so be sure to read all of the information.

The UKCAT must be taken by all applicants applying to study medicine or dentistry at the following university medical and dental schools:

University of Aberdeen
Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Cardiff University
University of Dundee
University of Durham
University of East Anglia
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
Hull York Medical School
Imperial College
Keele University
King's College London
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Manchester
University of Newcastle
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford Graduate Entry Medical Degree
Peninsula Medical School
Queen Mary, University of London
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
St George's, University of London
Queen's University Belfast
Warwick University Graduate Entry

You may also be interested in reading background information on psychometric tests and aptitude tests.