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Are UCAT Tutors Worth It? (Prices Compared)

Are UCAT Tutors Worth It? (Prices Compared)

Updated on: December 3, 2023
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Written By Dr Ollie

Every article is fact-checked by a medical professional. However, inaccuracies may still persist.

The UCAT is one of the most important steps in you’ll take in your journey to medical school. So much so, that almost anything you can do to improve your score will likely pay dividends.

With this in mind, is hiring some professional help a good idea? Are UCAT tutors worth it?

UCAT tutors are worth it if you’re struggling with particular concepts or want help structuring your preparation. However, students are perfectly able to achieve excellent scores without the help of a tutor if they’re motivated to direct their own revision.

I personally didn’t use a tutor when I was preparing for my UCAT exam but I had plenty of friends who did.

In this article, I’ve broken down some of the pros and cons of hiring a UCAT tutor to help you decide whether it might be the right choice for you.

Do You Need A UCAT Tutor?

The UCAT is an aptitude test used by the majority of medical schools in the UK to evaluate applicants to their medicine courses.

Aside from your GCSEs and A-levels, it’s often the most important element of your application- the single factor you can most easily influence that can drastically increase, or decrease, your chances of getting an offer.

UCAT tutors are widely available, both from online companies or local professionals, and offer one-to-one help for students studying for the exam.

If you think a UCAT tutor would be beneficial to you, then I’d say go for it. You’re never going to regret any steps you take to improving your UCAT score.

A UCAT tutor working with a student online

UCAT tutors can help you understand some of the trickier concepts from the exam, highlight your weaknesses to you and help you make a revision timetable that will have you ready to rock come exam day.

However, although I think UCAT tutors can be brilliant, I don’t in any way think you need to have one.

I never used a tutor when I was preparing for my UCAT, and still managed to score an average of over 800 for every section.

At the end of the day, what’s going to have the biggest influence on your UCAT score is the number of high-quality revision hours you can dedicate to preparing for the exam.

If that number is going to be greater because you’ve got a scheduled session with your UCAT tutor each week, then that’s going to work to your advantage.

But, if you’re the type of person who prefers to work at their own pace, and you’re able to self-motivate yourself to study even when you don’t feel like it, then you could be better off saving the money for a tutor and just working under your own steam.

How Much Do UCAT Tutors Cost?

If you are in the market for a UCAT tutor, there’s a wide range available to you at a wide range of price points.

You can enlist the help of anyone from a student in the year above you at school tutoring for a bit of extra pocket money all the way to companies based almost entirely on tutoring medicine applicants.

In this table, I’ve broken down the cost of some of the biggest players in the game. I can’t say I’ve used any of them, so can’t personally vouch for them, but they do all have plenty of positive reviews.

Tutor ProviderCost per Hour
Medic Mind£34
The MSAG£64
The Medic Portal£60
Blackstone Tutors£55
Cost of UCAT tutoring per hour from some of the big players

To calculate the cost per hour, I used the cost of thirty hours of tutoring (or the closest I could get to it depending on the provider). Thirty hours was normally enough to get into the company’s lowest banding of price per hour, although it may be slightly more than you’d actually want.

As you can see, the cheapest provider in the table is 6Med at only £28 per hour. For a vetted UCAT tutor working to 6Med’s standards, I think this is a pretty good deal!

If you are after the cheapest possible option, your best bet is probably to look at independent tutors on sites like Tutorhunt.com or MyTutor.co.uk. On these sites you’ll be able to find plenty of medical or dental students looking to pass on their first-hand UCAT secrets for a bit of extra cash.

The most expensive tutors in this comparison come from The MSAG. You’ve got to presume they’ll be good- but good enough to justify the £80 per hour you’ll have to pay if you just want a single session to test them out?

One option that stood out to me was that The Medic Portal offers UCAT tutoring delivered solely by qualified doctors. It’s certainly not cheap, at a blistering £90/hour, but you do know you’ll be getting the real deal.

I can’t say I think a qualified doctor would be any more or less capable of guiding you to a top score compared to an experienced UCAT tutor, but I guess you could take advantage of working with them to explore some other aspects of your application in addition to preparing for the UCAT.

What Could You Use Instead Of A UCAT Tutor?

If you don’t choose to hire a UCAT tutor, you’ll be saving yourself a hefty chunk of change. Money that you can then spend on alternative aspects of your preparation.

I think the most important investment you can make in your UCAT preparation is a high-quality online question bank.

An online question bank most closely mirrors how you’ll actually take the test on exam day and almost all of them will give you more questions than you’ll ever need to get fully prepped.

Another option for getting hold of a wealth of practice questions is to pick up a UCAT preparation book. These books often also include some strategic tips, explaining some of the most valuable techniques you can use for unpicking tricky questions.

A student using a UCAT preparation book

One step that’s almost halfway between a UCAT tutor and just using UCAT practice questions is to invest in a UCAT preparation course.

The courses can be either online or in person. The online courses can either be run over video chat or they can be a collection of pre-recorded videos. The in-person courses are normally run over a single day with a mixture of presentations and small group work.

These prep courses still cost money, but are often less than what you’d end up spending on a tutor but they still provide lots of the expert guidance you’d get from having your own personal tutor.

Final Thoughts

Hiring a UCAT tutor can be an excellent way to tap into some professional experience, techniques and preparation tips all tailored to your personal needs.

Although in no way necessary to achieve a top score, they can provide a much needed springboard for candidates to take their score to the next level.

If you don’t choose to use a UCAT tutor you can alternatively invest your savings into other preparation materials such as online question banks, books or UCAT courses.

If you’re completely on the fence then I’d say give one a shot- but you can always start your preparation journey on your own and then come back to hire one at a later date if you feel the need.

About the author
After studying medicine at the University of Leicester, Dr Ollie now works as a junior doctor in London. His interests include medical education and expedition medicine, as well as having a strong belief in the importance of widening access to medicine.