Where To Apply With An Average UCAT Score (Top 7 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.

An average UCAT score is more than enough to get into medicine if you’re clever about where you apply.

With an average UCAT score, you’ll ideally want to apply to places that take a more holistic view of your application- taking into account your grades, UCAT score and personal statement.

The top 7 universities to apply to if you’ve got an average UCAT score are:

  1. Hull York
  2. Leicester
  3. Birmingham
  4. UEA
  5. Nottingham
  6. Barts
  7. Aberdeen

You don’t need one of the UK’s best UCAT scores to get an offer for medical school. You just need to know how to play to your application’s strengths.

In this article, I’m going to explain why each of these 7 universities would make great choices for you if you’ve got an average UCAT score, as well as describing exactly how each evaluates your application.

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.

Hull York Medical School

How they use your UCAT: Your UCAT score forms 50% of the pre-interview scoring system

Hull York Medical School is a great choice to apply to if you’ve got an average UCAT score because they take pretty much every element of your application into consideration when deciding who to give offers to.

They have a 4-step selection procedure:

  1. Academic screening
  2. Interview selection
  3. Interviews
  4. Offers

The first step is the academic screening. Here, they make sure that you’ve met Hull York’s minimum academic requirements:

  • 3 A-levels including biology and chemistry with a minimum prediction of AAB
  • 6 GCSEs at grade 9/A* – 4/C including English language and maths at grade 6/B or above

Next, points are allocated to applicants in order to determine who will be invited to interview.

Medical school interviewers in the process of marking a candidate

There’s not a specific score that you need to achieve, but rather candidates are ranked in numerical order with a top portion being given invites.

  • 30 points are available for your six best GCSEs
  • 40 points are available for your overall UCAT score, based on your decile
  • 15 points are available for your Situational Judgement band
  • 15 points are available for contextual data

Hull York don’t specifically score your personal statement, but they do describe it as an important part of your application. 

Following an interview, an applicant’s scores are collated as follows:

  • Overall interview score
  • SJT band (up to 10 points)
  • Contextual data (up to 10 points)

All applicants are then ranked on this total score and offers made accordingly.

University of Leicester

How they use your UCAT: Your UCAT score forms 50% of the pre-interview scoring system

Having studied medicine myself at Leicester for 5 years, there’s no way I couldn’t recommend it to you as a university!

I personally chose to apply because, due to their published points system, I was pretty sure I’d be invited to interview.

The University of Leicester splits things straight down the middle between your UCAT score and academic achievements.

There are 32 points available for the UCAT and 32 points available for your GCSEs.

Applicants are then ranked on this score out of 64 to determine who is invited for interview.

The points for your UCAT result are allocated in 50-point increments, depending on your overall score.

Total UCAT ScorePoints
>3,20032
3150 – 319931.5
3100 – 314931
3050 – 309930.5
3000 – 304930
Etc.Etc.

An important point to note is that if your score lies in the bottom two deciles or if you get a Situational Judgement band 4 then you will typically be automatically rejected.

To apply to Leicester you need at least a 6/B in GCSE English language, maths, and two sciences (including chemistry and biology).

These GCSEs, plus four other subjects to make a total of 8, are scored as follows:

  • A* or 8/9 = 4 points
  • A/7 = 3 points
  • B/6 = 1 point

Although no points are directly allocated to your A-levels, you do still need to be predicted at least AAB including chemistry or biology plus another science/maths.

However, if you’ve already done your A-levels, you’ll need to have got at least AAA.

Following the MMIs, offers are allocated according to your total interview score ranking.

In borderline cases, Leicester do say they’ll assess you entire UCAS application, including your personal statement, to decide which way they’ll sway.

University of Birmingham

How they use your UCAT: Your UCAT score forms 40% of the pre-interview scoring system

For each of their applicants, the University of Birmingham calculates a total application score out of 10 for them.

This is broken down as:

  • 45% weighting for your academics
  • 40% weighting for your UCAT
  • 15% weighting for contextual circumstances

By then ranking all of their applicants by this total application score, Birmingham interview the top 1,000 or so candidates.

However, if this ranking doesn’t identify an exact cut-off, applicants with the same score will be ranked again but this time solely according to their UCAT results.

For the 45% weighting for academics, Birmingham score seven of your GCSE subjects.

These must include English language and literature, maths, biology, chemistry and two additional subjects.

In the subjects specified you need to have achieved at least a 6/B and they’re all scored as follows:

  • 8 or 9/A* = 4 points
  • 7/A = 2 points
  • 6/B = 1 point

The total GCSE score will then be scaled to a maximum of 4.5.

Researching medical schools to apply to with an average UCAT score

Now, Birmingham actually treat the UCAT a little differently from other medical schools.

They rank all their applicants by UCAT score and then calculate their own decile ranges each year.

These will of course mirror the national deciles, but they are in fact specific to Birmingham.

According to which decline you place in, you’re then allocated a numerical score up to a maximum of 4.

Finally, contextual circumstances are taken into account to award up to an extra 1.5 points to eligible students.

Following an interview, candidates are given offers based on interview performance data in addition to their SJT result from the UCAT.

University of East Anglia

How they use your UCAT: Applicants are ranked by their UCAT score to determine who is invited to interview

The University of East Anglia could be another good choice to apply to if you’ve got an average UCAT score.

They specifically say:

“UEA does not have a cut-off score. A high score is advantageous; a low score does not disqualify an applicant from consideration.”

To me, this sounds like an average UCAT score may be perfectly suited to their application process.

However, compared to some of the other universities on this list, I’d say you’d want to be on the high end of average (or even have a high UCAT score) and I’ll tell you why:

If UEA receives more applicants than interview slots, it ranks applicants by their UCAT scores to determine who will be invited to interview.

The overall cognitive score, excluding the SJT component, is then used alongside an applicant’s interview score to rank and select those who will receive an offer.

UEA don’t release as much information about their selection process as some of the other universities on this list, so it’s difficult to say exactly how they evaluate applications.

However, looking at previous year’s data, it seems as if they interview just under half the number of candidates who apply.

When you discount all the applications from people who don’t meet the basic subject or grade requirements, I’d say statistically, if you’ve got a decent enough UCAT score, you’d be in with a good chance of being invited to interview.

University of Nottingham

How they use your UCAT: Points system that evaluates your GCSEs, UCAT cognitive scores and SJT banding

Nottingham succinctly sum up their selection process as follows:

“We use a combination of your GCSE and UCAT results to check the selection criteria have been met. Offers are made based on your interview performance alone.”

Nottingham don’t actually score A-levels or AS-levels and don’t even require you to have any specific A-level predicted grades.

For their selection process, your 8 highest GCSEs are scored. These must include both biology and chemistry, in addition to a minimum grade of 6/B in maths and English language.

Your GCSEs are scored as follows:

GradePoints
9 or A*4
83
7 or A2
6 or B1

This gives you an academic score out of a total of 32.

This is then combined with a maximum of 60 points awarded for the UCAT cognitive skills element of the UCAT.

Each UCAT subsection is scored as follows:

UCAT ScorePoint
801 to 90012
701 to 80010
601 to 7008
501 to 6006
401 to 5002

One unique quirk of Nottingham’s scoring system is that they actually double your points for the Verbal Reasoning section.

This is because of evidence that links this particular UCAT subsection most closely to a student’s future performance at medical school.

You can still only achieve a maximum of 60 points, but however many points you get for your Verbal Reasoning section is doubled.

Finally, your Situational Judgement section is awarded points too.

Compared to your GCSEs and cognitive subtests, Nottingham actually place a pretty big focus on the SJT.

BandPoints
Band 160
Band 245
Band 320
Band 40

If you achieve Band 4, you won’t be considered for an interview.

These 3 score are then added up and applicants ranked in numerical order.

A top portion will be invited to interview, with their interview scores alone then determining whether or not they receive an offer.

Queen Mary University Of London

How they use your UCAT: Weighted scoring system taking account of both your UCAT and UCAS tariff points

Queen Mary University of London (a.k.a. Barts) use a three-step shortlisting process to decide who will be accepted to their medical school.

The criteria used for the first shortlisting are:

  • The candidate applied by the UCAS application deadline
  • Their predicted or achieved grades are above the minimum requirement
  • They achieved a UCAT score within the third decile range or above

This means there’s absolutely no point in applying to Barts if you’re in the bottom 2 deciles. But, with an average UCAT score, you should be absolutely fine.

The minimum requirements for GCSEs are at least 6 GCSEs at grades 777666 including biology, chemistry, English language and maths.

A student answering a question in his medical school interview

Applicants who meet all of these criteria then progress to the second shortlisting round. This is where candidates are selected for interview.

Barts use a weighted scoring system that looks at both your UCAT score and UCAS tariff points.

This UCAS tariff will take into account your predicted or achieved A-levels, which must be at least A*AA.

The third and final shortlisting round is used for distributing offers.

Here, Barts may consider an applicant’s interview score, SJT score, UCAS tariff points and UCAT score.

After weighing up all this information, they send out offers to what they perceive to be the most qualified candidates.

University of Aberdeen

How they use your UCAT: Your UCAT score is given a 20% weighting in the overall evaluation of your application

Aberdeen use the following split for weighting your application:

  • 30% academic attainment/predictions
  • 20% UCAT
  • 50% interview performance

This means that in the grand scheme of things, you can more than make up for an average UCAT score with good interview technique and strong grades.

As far as I could see, there wasn’t a huge amount of information about the selection process on Aberdeen’s website, but there have been a couple of Freedom of Information requests that have shed light on how they handle applications.

In a similar fashion to Birmingham, Aberdeen rank all their applicants by UCAT score in order to calculate their own specific decile ranges.

Depending on where in these decile ranges your score falls, you’re then allocated anywhere from 3-60 points.

A-levels are also allocated points, with 27 points for an A*, 25 points for an A, 23 for a B, 21 for a C… and so on.

Aberdeen presumably then carry out a weighting calculation in order to adhere to the above percentage splits for each element of an application.

I think Aberdeen could be a great choice to apply to if you’re confident you could perform well at interview.

Their minimum academic requirements are pretty standard for a UK medical school, needing AAA predicted at A-level and English language, maths and science passes required at GCSE, so if you can meet these conditions then it really can be all to play for with the 50% interview weighting.

Final Thoughts

For this list, I tried to select medical schools that use relatively balanced processes for evaluating and selecting applicants to their universities.

If you do have only an average UCAT score, you are going to have to be a bit more of an all-rounder, demonstrating in other areas of your application why you’re more deserving of an offer than the next guy or girl.

Plenty of my friends at university only achieved ‘average’ UCAT scores, but that in no way stopped them from getting into Leicester medical school and then going on to be exceptional doctors.

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.