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What Is A Good UCAT Score? (Bad Vs Good Vs Excellent)

What Is A Good UCAT Score? (Bad Vs Good Vs Excellent)

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.

If you’re preparing for the UCAT, you need to know what a good UCAT score is so that you’ve got something to aim for.

Otherwise, once you’ve sat the UCAT, you could be handed a piece of paper with your results on and have no idea if they’re any good or not!

A good UCAT score is generally considered to be anything above 2600 or an average section score above 650. For the Situational Judgement subsection of the UCAT, a banding of 1 or 2 is broadly defined as good. The definition of a good score will slightly vary from year to year.

A good UCAT score can act as your ticket into medical school.

However, the definition of what a ‘good’ score is does vary depending on what you’re comparing your result to and what your aims are.

In this article, I’m going to explore the different facets of what a good UCAT score is as well as discuss what you can do to achieve one come test day.

What Defines A Good UCAT Score?

The UCAT is scored in a very different way from your normal school exams.

For a school exam, out of 60 marks, the grade boundary may be defined as anything above 53/60 gets an A*.

However, for the UCAT, your scaled score out of 3600 is a score relative to an average performance in the exam.

You’re being directly assessed against your peers.

If you get a scaled score of 600 for a section, you did exactly average compared to the control group.

To get a score of 900, if the section is out of 60 say, you don’t need to get 60/60 raw marks.

You just need to do better than everyone else in the control group.

Studying for a good UCAT score

What all this means is that one definition of a ‘good’ score is anything better than the average.

The average UCAT score for test takers over the last few years has been approximately 625, so I think it’s fair to say that an average section score over 650 is good!

You can check out the UCAT test statistics page here.

Another, slightly different definition of a good UCAT score would be one that’s good enough for what you want it for.

If you’re applying to the University of Leicester, this just means you can’t be in the bottom 2 deciles of that year’s test takers- as otherwise you’ll be automatically rejected.

Or perhaps if you’re applying to the University of Bristol, the definition of a good UCAT score for you would be one that gets you an interview.

Which, according to the last few years of data, would require an overall score of about 2900, or an average section score of 725.

Depending on your goals, and which universities you’re planning on applying to, your own personal definition of what a good UCAT score is will change.

What Is A Good UCAT Score For Each Section?

As I’m sure you very quickly realised when you started preparing for the exam, all UCAT sections are not created equal.

Most people, definitely including myself, find the Verbal Reasoning section far harder than the others.

As a result, the average score for the Verbal Reasoning section tends to be lower than that for the Quantitative Reasoning section, for example.

Therefore, a ‘good’ Verbal Reasoning section score may be lower than a ‘good’ Quantitative Reasoning section score.

The relative order of scores from best to worst tends to be:

  1. Quantitative Reasoning
  2. Abstract Reasoning
  3. Decision Making
  4. Verbal Reasoning

This can vary slightly from year to year, but tends to stick true as a trend.

Evaluating the data from the last few years, we can also see what, on average, a ‘good’ score for each of the subsections is:

UCAT SectionGood Score Definition
Quantitative ReasoningAnything above 660
Abstract ReasoningAnything above 645
Decision MakingAnything above 620
Verbal ReasoningAnything above 570

Now, everyone sitting the UCAT will have their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

I’m pretty sure I personally scored highest on the Abstract Reasoning subsection as opposed to the Quantitative Reasoning when I took the UCAT.

But, to compare your scores to your cohort as a whole, the above figures should give a pretty good guide as to where you sit compared to your peers.

What Is An Excellent UCAT Score?

If a good UCAT score is anything above 650, what is an excellent UCAT score?

Well, I’d define an excellent UCAT score as one that will keep all your medical school options open to you.

A score that you could comfortably apply to any university of your choosing.

From analysing previous years’ data, I’d say an excellent UCAT score is anything above 725.

Now, this is slightly different from my definition of a ‘high’ UCAT score.

A high UCAT score is anything above 685. A score above 685 will put you in with a good shot with any university that heavily weights the UCAT in their application process.

However, an excellent UCAT score will allow you to apply to even the most competitive, UCAT-centric medical schools.

These are places like the University of Bristol, the University of Manchester and Newcastle University.

It’s in no way necessary to have an excellent UCAT score to get into medical school, but it’s the gold standard for maximising your options.

An average section score of 725 or above (2900+) would generally put you in the top 10% of test takers every year.

It’s no easy feat, outperforming 90% of your peers who are applying to medical or dental school, but for certain medical schools, these sorts of scores can be necessary.

What Is The Best UCAT Score Possible?

They say if you shoot for the moon and miss then you’ll hit the stars.

So, what is the best possible UCAT score you can get?

The highest possible score in the UCAT is 3600. This represents perfect scores of 900/900 for all 4 cognitive subsections. No one yet has ever been able to achieve a perfect score of 3600/3600, although the highest recorded score is 3530/3600 which was set in 2019.

You could very well be the first person to set a perfect score of 3600/3600 when you go to sit the UCAT.

Slightly confusingly, to get this perfect score, you don’t actually have to get perfect raw marks.

I’ll admit I was aiming for a good score when I took the UCAT, but not a perfect one!

For example, you can still miss out questions in the Abstract Reasoning section and still get a perfect scaled score of 900/900.

As I mentioned before, your scaled score is a score that relates you to a control group of test takers.

To get this perfect score, you just have to do better than any other test subjects for that particular set of questions.

What Is A Bad UCAT Score?

If a good UCAT score is anything over 650, I’d suggest a bad UCAT score is anything below an average of 600 per section, or an overall score below 2400.

A bad UCAT score won’t necessarily stop you from getting into medical school, but you will have to be careful about where you apply.

There’s absolutely no point in wasting one of your 4 UCAS options on medical schools that will reject you out of hand because you don’t meet their minimum UCAT cut-offs.

If you do have a low/bad UCAT score, you need to strategically apply to universities that don’t particularly use it in their selection process.

These are places like Keele University, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Cardiff.

You can actually find a list of 7 universities you should consider applying to if you’ve got a low UCAT score here.

Getting a bad UCAT score is by no means the end of the world.

But, you will just need to think twice about the university choices you’re making.

How To Get A Good UCAT Score

In order to get a good UCAT score, I’d suggest there aren’t too many secret tips or exam hacks.

Yes, each section will have its own particular tips and tricks, but I think the main factor that’s within your control is how much time and effort you dedicate to preparing for the UCAT.

The more time and effort you put in, the higher your UCAT score will be.

It’s a truth that sometimes people don’t want to hear.

What Is A Good UCAT Score Pixel Infographic

Although the UCAT can somewhat resemble an IQ test, you can very much prepare for it and with targeted revision you will see your score come on in leaps and bounds.

There are in fact 3 key steps to getting a good UCAT score:

  1. The right length of time preparing
  2. Practising the right exam strategies and techniques
  3. Using the right materials and preparation resources

If you combine giving yourself enough time to prepare with good exam technique during your revision and utilising high-quality preparation resources for your revision, you’re almost guaranteed to get a good UCAT score.

It’s just that without the right direction, it can be easy for students to fall at one or all of these hurdles in their preparation.

FAQs About Good UCAT Scores

Is 2700 a good UCAT score?

2700, or an average section score of 675, is a good UCAT score. With a score in this range, a student will be able to successfully apply to most medical schools in the UK. However, a score of 2700 may not be sufficient for a few of the universities with the highest UCAT cut-offs.

What is a top 1% UCAT score?

A top 1% UCAT score is generally an overall score of over 3100, or an average section score of 775 or above. A score of this calibre puts a candidate in the 99th percentile of test takers and will always be able to secure an interview at any university that purely ranks applicants off their UCAT score.

Final Thoughts

Achieving a great result in the UCAT will mean different things to different people, so don’t get disheartened if you’re comparing your UCAT score to someone else’s definition of ‘good.’

The main aim of your UCAT score is to get you into medical school. And you in no way need to be in the top 1% of test takers to achieve that.

Getting a good UCAT score is always going to be the aim, and what you should be working towards, but your individual goals set your own definition of what success in the UCAT looks like for you.

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.