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UCAT Score: 5 year analysis (July 2021)

UCAT Score: 5 year analysis (July 2021)

Colette Tolley
2nd-year Medical Student at University of Oxford
July 15, 2021

The registration for the UCAT opened a couple of weeks ago (1st June) and all the aspiring medics should have booked their exam by now.

There have been a lot of developments with UCAT over the past few years so we have completed an in-depth analysis for the past 5 years.

Take a look at our analysis below:

  • There was a 16.2% increase in the number of students taking the UCAT in 2020 (total of 34,153 in 2020). Several key reasons for this rise are likely to be the increased media coverage during COVID known as the “Chris Whitty effect”. Also the UK government has targets to increase the number of Doctors and has licensed 5 new medical schools in the past two years. Competition is rising again for places at medical school.

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  • 2020 saw an increase in the average UCAT overall score, rising to 2511 in 2020 from 2483 in 2019 which was a 1.17% increase. A relatively small increase, despite the COVID disruption and all UCAT tests being taken at home rather than in the usual test centres. Tests are returning to test centres in 2021. Although the overall increase is small there are significant changes in the Abstract Reasoning section and Situation Judgement that are worth noting.
  • It’s becoming more competitive at the top. The average score needed to make the top 30%  (7th, 8th and 9th deciles; 2650, 2730 and 2850 respectively) have increased significantly. This shows students at the top are scoring higher scores. We believe this is down to the increased popularity of online test preparation sites and UCAT courses.
  • The Abstract Reasoning section saw the largest improvement in average score. This moved up to 653 in 2020 (from 638 in 2019). Students are becoming much better at this section and it’s becoming better understood and practiced. We expect the Abstract Reasoning scores to improve again in 2021. Extra revision is required for this section to remain competitive. 
  • The Situational Judgement Test saw a significant improvement. 30% of all students reached Band 1, which is an increase from 17% in 2019. More importantly 63% of students achieved either band 1 or Band 2 in 2020 compared to 57% of students in 2019. This is important because quite a few universities use Band 2 as the cut off for progressing applications. We expect the UCAT consortium to introduce some more challenging questions to this section to rebalance these higher scores.

Follow this link to see a PDF document with the full data sets for the above analysis. I hope this analysis will be helpful to you and your students preparing for the UCAT this year or in the future.

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