UCAT

The University Clinical Aptitude Test is used in the selection process by the majority of UK University Medical and Dental Schools.

Practice Tips

The practice tips below should be read by all candidates preparing for the UCAT.  By becoming familiar with these essential tips you can save yourself valuable time on your test day.

Calculator

A simple on-screen calculator will be available for the decision making and quantitative reasoning subtests. To access this click on the icon in the top left hand side of the screen. The calculator will look similar to this:

 

The calculator is integrated into the practice tests and we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the functionality.  There are slight differences between the way the calculator works in the practice test environment and the live test.  

The calculator can be operated by using the mouse or the number pad on the keyboard; ensure that 'Num Lock’ is on for the number pad to work.  

In the live test, the calculator closes when clicking away or moving to another question.  It can be recalled by clicking on the icon.  Current calculations are retained until you move to the next question.  

To clear the calculator click the ON/C button.  The backspace key clears all the digits at once in the live test. i.e. it is equivalent to pressing the ON/C button.  This functionality is not replicated in the practice tests.  There are no other buttons or keyboard shortcuts to delete one number at a time during calculations.

Please note that due to limitations with the web browser format in the practice test calculator, decimal numbers need to be entered in full (e.g. 0.5 not .5).  In the live test calculator, decimal numbers can be entered either way.  

If you require assistance with the calculator during your test please raise your hand to attract the invigilator / or start a chat session to speak to the proctor (as appropriate). 

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can be used to navigate through the test if you find this preferable to using the mouse.  Wherever there is a letter underlined, the Alt key can be used with the underlined letter as a keyboard short cut.  An example would be Alt + N = Next (as displayed below) and Alt + P = Previous.

The shortcuts available at any time during the test depend on which screen is currently being viewed.  Keyboard shortcuts cannot be used to select answers to questions; this has to be done by using the mouse to select the desired response, and in some cases to drag and drop an answer.  You can familiarise yourself with this, and other aspects of navigation, by using the practice tests available on our website. 

Advice for Mac users sitting the UCAT Online

Shortcut key combinations in the live test may differ for candidates using a Mac to sit the UCAT Online at home.  Depending on your device/keyboard you may need to press additional keys together with the letter to get the shortcut to work (e.g. control + option + N = Next).  We recommend you check these in the short sample exam as part of the OnVUE System Test.  Some Mac users may need to use the trackpad or a mouse to navigate through their test. 

Note taking

You may wish to take notes or do workings out during your test, particularly in the Decision Making and Quantitative Reasoning subtests. 

There are different options for note taking in the UCAT depending on how you are sitting the test.  The information below outlines what we are able to support in our test centres and in the UCAT Online.  Please check carefully what is permitted in your test location. 

In summary:

  • Candidates in test centres have access to a set of laminated noteboards and a pen.
  • Candidates taking the UCAT Online may use their own physical erasable whiteboard, which meets the specifications outlined below.
  • All candidates also have the use of an onscreen scratchpad.

As you prepare for your test, familiarise yourself with the options available.

All tests – onscreen scratchpad

Inbuilt in all tests is an onscreen scratch pad feature.  The scratch pad operates in the following way:  

  • It is available throughout the test and can be launched by clicking the icon at the top of the screen or using the shortcut ALT+D.  
  • It launches as a pop up window that can be dragged to reposition it and resized by pulling on the bottom corners.    
  • You can take notes and plan answers by typing into it.  
  • You can cut / copy / paste within the pad but NOT from the question.  
  • It will close when you move to the next questions but the text will still be there if you reopen it.  The contents of the scratch pad is wiped at the end of each subtest.  

You can familiarise yourself with the scratchpad in the practice materials.

Test Centre only –noteboards and pen

If you are sitting your test at a test centre, you will be given a set of laminated noteboards and a pen.  If you require an additional set, raise your hand and request one from the invigilator.  

The invigilator will have checked the pen is working before giving it out.  You may wish to check this before you start to avoid the need to seek assistance during testing.  

If you are not given a set of noteboards and a pen when you enter the test room, you should request them by raising your hand.  Not requesting these items will not be considered a mitigating circumstance. 

UCAT Online only – erasable whiteboard and permitted accessories 

If you are sitting the UCAT Online, you are allowed to use a physical erasable whiteboard (and permitted accessories) for note taking, which you will need to obtain yourself. 

Whiteboard requirements:

  • 1 erasable whiteboard no larger than 30x50 centimetres (12x20 inches)
  • Up to 2 dry erase markers
  • 1 dry erase whiteboard eraser

A single piece of plain white paper laminated on both sides is also acceptable.  It must be no larger than 30x50cm (12x20 inches).

The following items are NOT allowed*:

  • Whiteboards with grids, other markings or background colours
  • Paper
  • Pen / Pencil
  • Permanent Marker
  • Tissues, Paper Towels, Napkins
  • Whiteboard Spray
  • Paper in a clear slide
  • Writing tablet / Boogie Board / Doodle pad
  • Chalkboards

*This list is not exhaustive.

If you plan to use a physical erasable whiteboard and you need to acquire one, please schedule your test appointment to allow for this. 

At the beginning of your test, you will be asked to show the Proctor your whiteboard and they will check that it is completely blank (front and back).  At the end of your test, you will be asked to show the Proctor that you have erased all your notes.