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Best UCAT Books For Your Preparation: 6 Compared

Best UCAT Books For Your Preparation: 6 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.

What are the best UCAT books out there for your preparation? There are just so many available!

From publications that are in their seventh edition, to more recent works that have only just been released.

Today we’re going to run through six of the most popular UCAT books, picking out the pros and cons of each to help you decide which you want to use.

ISC 1250 UCAT Book

ISC 12502021 DataStar Rating
Price£14.55⭐⭐
Number of Questions1250⭐⭐⭐
Quality of ExplanationsGreat⭐⭐

You can find this book on Amazon, here.

The ISC 1250 book is the latest iteration in the series from ISC Medical.

It’s the UK’s best-selling UCAT preparation book, and for good reason.

With the book you get 1,250 UCAT practice questions (including a full mock exam), in-depth explanations, and comprehensive tips and techniques spanning over 768 pages.

Don’t be put off by the fact it’s actually got UKCAT in the title- this was the old name for the UCAT and the book is still ideal for 2021/22 entry.

The book covers all the main strategies and advice for taking the UCAT in incredible detail.

One criticism of the ISC 1250 is that many people actually find the book’s practice questions much harder than the actual UCAT!

I remember finding a significant difference when I was using it alongside Medify for my prep.

However, this isn’t seen as a negative by everyone.

You may be the type of person who prefers to practice with difficult questions so that when you come to exam day it actually seems easy!

The Abstract Reasoning section is one of the worst offenders when it comes to being overly complicated.

Equally though, it does seem to cover every possible question type in the section… So it is excellent practice.

With an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon from over one thousand reviews, you’re not going to go far wrong with this pick.

Pros

  • Detailed explanations covering important strategies and theory
  • Great variety of practice questions with worked examples
  • Well established publication with excellent reviews

Cons

  • Questions don’t accurately represent the UCAT exam
  • Only one full mock exam is included with the book
  • Some strategies could be covered more extensively

The Ultimate UCAT Guide

The Ultimate UCAT Guide2021 DataStar Rating
Price£14.99⭐⭐
Number of Questions1250⭐⭐⭐
Quality of ExplanationsGood⭐

You can find this book on Amazon, here.

‘The Ultimate UCAT Guide’ is published by the UK’s leading medical admissions company: UniAdmissions.

It contains powerful time-saving strategies that will really boost your exam technique as you get closer to test day.

The Ultimate UCAT Guide exactly matches ISC’s offering, also containing 1,250 practice questions.

However, one thing that sets the Guide apart is that it was written with contributions and advice from over twenty specialist UCAT tutors.

That’s a lot of knowledge in one book!

Unfortunately, one thing that really brought the book down was that it’s littered with simple typing errors.

This could be incredibly frustrating at times, especially as there were also cases where the answer had been missed after a practice question.

On the whole though this is an excellent book, with the Situational Judgement section particularly standing out to me as being extremely realistic.

Pros

  • An amalgamation of over twenty specialist’s knowledge
  • Covers higher level techniques for saving time in the exam
  • 1,250 practice questions cover all the common tricks

Cons

  • Simple typing errors can make for frustrating reading
  • The book’s layout was not always the most intuitive
  • Not as many Decision Making questions as the other sections

Score Higher On The UCAT

Score Higher On The UCAT2021 DataStar Rating
Price£18.07⭐
Number of Questions1500⭐⭐⭐
Quality of ExplanationsGreat⭐⭐

You can find this book on Amazon, here.

‘Score Higher On The UCAT’ is currently in its seventh edition- new for 2021 from Kaplan.

The book takes you through each UCAT subsection step-by-step, giving detailed explanations and tips on how to tackle each one.

It also has more practice questions than any other UCAT preparation book- 1500!

One feature of the book that I really like is that it starts with a diagnostic test.

It’s a mini test at the start of the book that helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses before you start revising.

This helps you target exactly what you need to practice and not waste time on things you’re already good at!

Although the book takes you through all the theory needed to get started, there’s not too many higher level strategies for really mastering the sections.

It’s an excellent purchase to gain access to such a large number of practice questions, but for maximum results you may have to learn some more advanced techniques from other resources.

As well as having the most number of practice questions, the book also includes two full-length mocks at the end  with detailed answers to review and mark yourself.

There’s also a further online practice test available from Kaplan for a realistic test simulation.

With such a vast number of examples and practice opportunities, I think this book would put you in very good stead when it came to exam day.

Pros

  • Most number of practice questions out of any UCAT prep book
  • Diagnostic test lets you hone in on weaker areas that need work
  • Online mock included for more accurate test simulation

Cons

  • Slight lack of higher level strategies for mastering the UCAT
  • The book is currently more expensive than its competitors
  • Some explanations have somewhat confusing wording

UCAT Study Guide: Self-Study Preparation Coach

UCAT Study Guide2021 DataStar Rating
Price£9.55⭐⭐⭐
Number of QuestionsN/AN/A
Quality of ExplanationsExcellent⭐⭐⭐

You can find this book on Amazon, here.

The ‘UCAT Study Guide’ is the latest release from Michael Carter, founder of The Medic Blog.

It’s slightly different from the other books we’ve looked at as it only covers UCAT theory and exam strategies.

It’s not chock full of practice questions.

But don’t write it off because of that. The advice is clear, innovative and concise.

The book covers topics such as effective planning for the exam, section specific tips, and time-saving strategies.

The content is laid out in a clear and accessible way, making it very easy to follow and find sections of interest.

This is the book you should buy if you want a deep dive into UCAT strategy, the complete work containing over 250 separate tips and techniques.

The latest edition also includes a full 30-day schedule to help structure your revision and keep you on track for exam day.

Just remember, you’ll have to go somewhere else to get your practice questions in.

Pros

  • Incredibly detailed theory and strategies for tackling the UCAT
  • Very reasonable price for the quality of information
  • Free schedule included to aid your revision planning

Cons

  • The book doesn’t include many practice questions
  • Occasional grammar mistakes have been missed
  • You don’t get any mock exams included with the book

Master The UCAT: By The Top 1%

Master The UCAT2021 DataStar Rating
Price£16.87⭐⭐
Number of Questions500⭐
Quality of ExplanationsGreat⭐⭐

You can find this book on Amazon, here.

‘Master The UCAT’ is a book by MedicHut, a leading company in medical and dental admissions.

The tagline of the book comes from the fact it was written by students who scored in the top 1% for their UCAT- pretty impressive!

You’ll certainly feel like you’ve got your money’s worth if you purchase it as the book itself is chunky!

It contains over 500 questions with worked solutions as well as 1 complete mock and 5 mini mocks.

The team at MedicHut have clearly put a lot of effort into the accuracy of the content- on the whole the practice questions are very similar to the difficulty of the real exam.

What’s potentially most impressive is that to the date of writing the book only has five star reviews on Amazon!

The general consensus clearly being that it’s an excellent resource for your UCAT prep.

Pros

  • Practice questions are very similar in difficulty to the real UCAT
  • Authors have real world experience in achieving top scores
  • The book has so far received only positive reviews

Cons

  • The book has far fewer questions than competitors
  • The size of the book makes it suboptimal if you’re short on time
  • More full mocks would have been a great addition

Mastering The UCAT

Mastering The UCAT2021 DataStar Rating
Price£14.64⭐⭐
Number of QuestionsUnknownN/A
Quality of ExplanationsGreat⭐⭐

You can find this book on Amazon, here.

‘Mastering the UCAT’ by The Medic Portal is now in its third edition.

The book takes you through all the UCAT sub-sections in a methodical and logical manner.

This approach coupled with very professional design and layout makes for incredibly efficient learning.

There are sample questions throughout the book, as well as The Medic Portal’s own expert tips.

Occasionally there are errors in the questions and/or answers but this can be easily overlooked due to the quality of the descriptions and advice.

Although The Medic Portal don’t state an exact number, there certainly aren’t as many practice questions in this book compared to the ISC 1250 for example.

But, this is somewhat to be expected given that ‘Mastering the UCAT’ features technique much more heavily as opposed to just practice questions.

I think anyone using this book will get a sense of the depth of knowledge that The Medic Portal have acquired over their years of coaching prospective medical students.

Pros

  • Professional design and layout makes for very easy reading
  • The Medic Portal have vast experience when it comes to the UCAT
  • Higher level strategies are sure to boost your exam technique

Cons

  • Unknown number of practice questions included in the book
  • Occasional errors in the practice question stems and/or answers
  • No mock exams are included as part of the book

Final Thoughts

Realistically, I don’t think you’re going to go far wrong with any of the books we’ve looked at in this article.

All the authors came across as incredibly knowledgeable and have jam packed their books with tips and tricks to boost your UCAT score.

Who even says you have to pick just one?

If you pick up a couple of books off the list you’ll be able to play each one’s strengths and weaknesses off each other, getting the best of both worlds.

Here’s my controversial tip though:

To really get the most out of your UCAT prep, you need to use an online tool as well. That’s because the UCAT is a computer-based test so you should practice on a computer as part of your prep.

Now that’s not to say books don’t have their place.

I used the ISC 1250 to help me score an average of over 800 when I took the UCAT. It’s just I think they’re best used in conjunction with an online resource.

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.