Where To Apply With A High UCAT Score (9 Best Universities)

Updated on: December 8, 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’ve got a high UCAT score, you can choose to apply to pretty much any medical school you want to.

However, there are certain universities that you can leverage your high UCAT score to best effect with, almost guaranteeing that you’ll be invited to interview.

The 9 best medical schools to apply to with a high UCAT score are:

  1. Bristol
  2. Manchester
  3. Newcastle
  4. Southampton
  5. Sheffield
  6. St Andrews
  7. Anglia Ruskin
  8. Edge Hill
  9. St George’s

I used this exact strategy to get 4 out of 4 interviews when I applied to medical school.

I knew I had a strong UCAT result, with an average section score of 802.5, so only applied to medical schools that would value this in their applicants.

In this article, I’m going to explain why each of these 9 medical schools would make a great choice for you if you’ve achieved a top score in the UCAT.

If you’re sure what sort of UCAT score you have, you can find the full guide on where to apply with your UCAT score here.

University of Bristol

How they use your UCAT: 100% weighting on the UCAT to rank and select applicants for interview

Bristol pretty much goes all in on the UCAT, which as you’ll see is a common theme for this list of medical schools for high-scoring applicants.

They have a 3-step admissions process:

  1. Academic assessment
  2. UCAT
  3. Interview

The academic assessment is first to check that all applicants meet their minimum academic requirements.

For A-levels, this is predicted or achieved AAA, and for GCSEs, this is a 7/A in maths and at least a 4/C in English.

Once an applicant has met this minimum standard, they are ranked solely in order of UCAT score in order to select a top portion for interview.

This ranking is done off the combined score from all subtests, with the exception of Situational Judgement.

Admissions staff ranking applicants’ UCAT scores

At interview, candidates’ performance is scored by assessors and ranked by the Admissions office.

Those applicants with the strongest overall performance and highest scores then go on to receive offers.

However, if two candidates have completely identical interview scores, their UCAT is used a second time as the primary differentiator.

It’s only if two applicants have exactly the same interview and UCAT scores that their personal statements are used as the deciding factor!

University of Manchester

How they use your UCAT: A UCAT cut-off score is calculated. All candidates above this cut-off are ranked by UCAT score and all available interview slots are filled

University of Manchester applicants are first screened according to whether or not they meet their academic requirements.

This is broadly at least 7 GCSEs at grade 7/A or 8+/A* including English language at at least a 6 or B. You will also need to be studying at least 3 A levels including chemistry or biology.

Those who meet these criteria are then able to progress to the next stage of selection.

Once Manchester has received all the applications for the year, they calculate their UCAT cut-off score.

They do this by looking at the standard of scores received, so can’t release this before the application deadline has passed, but do publish previous year’s thresholds:

YearUCAT Cut-OffAverage Section Score
2018/192600650
2019/202610652.5
2020/212640660
2021/222730682.5
2022/232750687.5

Applicants who achieved an overall UCAT score above these thresholds automatically joined the pool of eligible candidates for interview.

Manchester say:

“If you meet the UCAT threshold we apply, and you achieve Band 1 or 2 in the Situational Judgement Test (SJT), you will likely be invited to interview as long as you meet our minimum academic requirements”

The reason it’s only ‘likely’ that you’ll be invited to interview is because Manchester are constrained by the number of interview slots available to them.

When the number of candidates surpassing the UCAT threshold exceeds the number of interview slots available, applicants are ranked in order of total UCAT score (plus SJT band) and the interview invitations distributed accordingly.

A final key point to note is that they will not consider applicants who achieve a band 4 in the Situational Judgement subsection.

So even if you’ve got a brilliant overall score, don’t apply to Manchester unless you’re in bands 1-3.

Newcastle University

How they use your UCAT: 100% weighting on the UCAT to rank and select applicants for interview

Newcastle University run a pretty simple and effective admissions scheme that heavily relies on the UCAT.

In the same vein as the other universities on this list, you first have to pass their minimum academic requirements.

For Newcastle, this is AAA in any combination of subjects at A-level (excluding General Studies, Use of Mathematics, World Development, Communication and Culture and Critical Thinking).

They’re also actually one of the few medical schools in the UK that have no specific GCSE requirements at all.

Every applicant who successfully passes this initial hurdle is then ranked based on their UCAT score.

Depending on the number of interviews to be held, a UCAT threshold is then set- everyone above this threshold is invited to interview and anyone below is rejected.

“For 2022 entry, approximately 1,100 applicants were interviewed. We expect to continue interviewing similar numbers of applicants in the future.”

Just like with Manchester, however, if you get a band 4 in the Situational Judgement your application won’t be considered.

Following an MMI, a candidate’s total interview score is used to determine whether or not they’ll receive an offer.

These are made in order of merit, although Newcastle do say that in exceptional circumstances some offers may be made on a combination of both an applicant’s interview and UCAT score.

Unfortunately, their admissions policy documentation doesn’t make clear what these exceptional circumstances might entail.

University of Southampton

How they use your UCAT: 100% weighting on the UCAT to rank and select applicants for their selection days

Southampton switch things up in a couple of different ways compared to other medical schools.

For starters, they actually rank applicants by their UCAT score before assessing them against their academic criteria.

This is stage 1 in their selection process. Stage 2 is then the academic screening.

Southampton requires you to have at least 7 GCSEs at grade 6/B or above, including English, maths and science.

Applicants should also offer predicted or actual AAA at A-level, including biology and at least one of chemistry/physics/psychology/sociology/environmental studies/geography.

Stage 3 is when the number of places available at Southampton’s selection days is set.

University staff evaluating the UCAT scores of applicants

Candidates meeting the academic criteria, with a UCAT score to rank them high enough, are then invited to one of these events.

The Southampton Medical School interview is unique amongst universities.

Instead of being invited solely to an MMI or panel interview, candidates undergo a two-part selection day.

The first part generally contains a group task or discussion, while the second part is often more of a traditional panel interview.

Offers are made on a student’s performance at one of these selection days, but, UCAT scores may also be reviewed when two candidates are tied with the same selection day scores but a limited number of places remain.

University of Sheffield

How they use your UCAT: You must meet the minimum UCAT and academic requirements then all candidates are ranked by UCAT score to select who will be invited to interview

Unlike some of the other medical schools, the University of Sheffield has a minimum UCAT requirement in addition to their academic prerequisites.

For 2022, this was an overall score of 2430 (equating to an average section score of 607.5).

Candidates falling below this mark are automatically rejected.

In terms of academics, Sheffield require at least 5 grade 7/A GCSE subjects including 6s or above in maths, English language and/or a science subject.

Predicted or achieved A-level grades must be at least AAA including chemistry or biology and one other science (maths, physics, biology/human biology or psychology).

Applications that meet both these academic and UCAT minimum standards then progress through to the next stage of selection- which is the ranking of candidates by UCAT score.

Students’ personal statement and UCAS reference aren’t considered at this stage, but rather their comparative UCAT ranking is the only thing that determines whether someone is invited for interview or not.

Traditionally, Sheffield use MMIs to evaluate potential medical students, with scores from these interviews being the sole determinant of who receives an offer.

St Andrews

How they use your UCAT: 100% weighting on the UCAT to rank and select applicants for interview

St Andrews state that in order to select students applying to their medical school, they make an assessment of all the information on an application form.

This includes a student’s:

  • Past academic performance
  • Personal statement and reference
  • UCAT score

While this may seem like more of a holistic approach and evaluation, I’ll explain why I believe this would still be a great university to apply to if you’ve got a high UCAT score.

It’s because as soon as an applicant has met these standards in the eyes of St Andrews, candidates are ranked solely on the basis of their global UCAT score.

From an academic point of view, St Andrews sits roughly in the middle of medical schools across the UK.

At GCSE level, applicants need to have achieved a minimum of 5 7/As, although candidates who have already got a strong set of A-levels may be considered with less.

At A-level, applicants must be predicted (or have achieved) a minimum of AAA, including chemistry and one of biology, maths or physics.

Those ranking in roughly the top 500 UCAT scores, out of everyone who meets these criteria, will be given an interview.

“In recent years, the lowest score for applicants called to interview at St Andrews has been around 2400.”

When deciding who to give an offer to after the interviews, St Andrews uses interview scores with a UCAT result tie-breaker as required.

Anglia Ruskin

How they use your UCAT: Students are shortlisted for interview according to their UCAT ranking although additional points are available for applicants living in the East of England

In 2019, Anglia Ruskin Medical School was formally opened by Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, becoming Essex’s first School of Medicine at its Chelmsford Campus.

They describe a 3 phase selection process on their website:

  • Phase 1: Academic Screen
  • Phase 2: Shortlisting
  • Phase 3: Interviews (MMI)

To pass phase 1, applicants to Anglia Ruskin are required to have 5 GCSEs at grades A*-B (9-6), including English language, maths and two science subjects.

A-levels grades (achieved or predicted) must be AAA and must include chemistry or biology; and one of either biology, chemistry, maths or physics (plus one other).

What makes Anglia Ruskin unique, and potentially an excellent choice for you if you live in the East of England, is their shortlisting process.

Initially, all candidates who have passed phase 1 are ranked by their overall UCAT score.

However, additional shortlisting points are available to candidates “for living or studying up to one academic year prior to the time of your application in the East of England region, with further points for Essex.”

If you’ve got a high UCAT score and live in Essex, I think Anglia Ruskin would be a UCAS no-brainer.

Applicants with an SJT score of band 4 will not be invited to interview, but otherwise, it’s entirely done off this ranking and points system.

Following an interview, applicants are given offers solely based on their MMI ranking.

Edge Hill

How they use your UCAT: 100% weighting on the UCAT to rank and select applicants for interview

Edge Hill College opened in 1885, but didn’t become a university till 2006 and then only accepted its first cohort of medical students in 2020.

Edge Hill was one of the 5 new medical schools recently opened to boost the number of doctors graduating every year in the UK.

Based in Lancashire, the university aims to help produce additional much-needed doctors for the North-West of England.

They follow a similar 3-step process to a lot of the medical schools on this list:

  1. Academic screening
  2. UCAT ranking
  3. Multiple Mini Interviews

Although not novel or original, it’s exactly this process that makes it another excellent choice to apply to if you’ve got a high UCAT score.

Edge Hill’s academic requirements are AAA at A-level including biology, chemistry and one other subject.

Applying to Edge Hill university with a high UCAT score

What could be a highly appealing aspect of Edge Hill’s academic criteria is that if you get an A* in either biology or chemistry (or both), your third A-level subject will be accepted at grade B or above.

This could make Edge Hill an excellent insurance policy choice on your UCAS form, just in case you drop one of your grades come results day.

You will also need at least 5 GCSEs at grade 6/B or above, including biology, chemistry, English language and maths.

Students passing this academic screening process are ranked according to UCAT score with a cut-off calculated depending on how many interview slots Edge Hill have available that year.

Following an MMI, applicants then receive offers depending on their overall interview score.

St George’s

How they use your UCAT: All applicants that meet the academic and UCAT subsection cut-offs are ranked in order of UCAT score to determine interview invitations

The final medical school that I’d recommend you apply to if you’ve got a high UCAT score is St George’s University of London.

As a general admissions process, they rank applicants by their UCAT score to determine who to interview, but, they do also have minimum cut-off scores for each of the UCAT subsections.

In order to be considered for interview by St George’s, you need to achieve a minimum score of 500 in each individual UCAT subsection.

Totally doable, but just a point to note that you can’t totally tank any one section even if you still manage to get a decent overall score.

Academics wise, you’ll need to achieve, or be predicted, AAA at A-level, including chemistry and biology (or human biology).

For GCSEs, St George’s requires 5 subjects grades 6/B or above, including English language, maths and science.

The overall UCAT score cut-off is calculated by evaluating the number of interview slots available against the ordered UCAT ranking of all their applicants.

Once all the interviews are conducted, St George’s rank all their applicants not just by their MMI scores, but also by their SJT scores.

The highest performing candidates are then made an offer to study medicine.

Final Thoughts

By achieving a top UCAT score you’ve kept as many options open to you as possible… so well done!

Combing this with a strong academic profile, well-written personal statement and gleaming interview performance will put you in with a good shot of receiving an offer from pretty much any university in the UK.

But, if you want to truly maximise the impact of your high UCAT score on your medicine application, I’d recommend you apply to one of the medical schools on this list.

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.