Many of you will have already sat your UCAT. Hopefully you’ll have all achieved the scores you were hoping for, but if not, don’t worry! Here are some top tips on what to do next.
Take a deep breath
First of all, you should all give yourselves a pat on the back, because no matter what your score is, you’ve completed the UCAT which is an achievement in itself. It is a really daunting test and can be quite a stressful experience, so take a deep breath and feel the sense of relief in knowing that it’s now behind you.
Thankfully the UCAT is not a pass/fail test, so no matter what you have got you still have some hope. If you take the next steps very carefully you may never have to sit the UCAT ever again! You’ve got your score so now it’s all about working with it strategically…
Keep your options open
Be prepared to keep your options open. Although you may have set your heart on one medical school, remember that if you don’t fit the criteria, it’s definitely not the end of the world, because there are plenty more to consider.
Don’t let this 3 digit number be a barrier to you being given a place at medical school simply because you were too fixated on applying for your first choice university! I’m not saying don’t follow your heart, but if a university has a cut off score of 650 for the UCAT and you got 649 and still apply, you’ll only be granting yourself a rejection straight away. Make sure you don’t waste a single application spot…you only have 4 so choose very carefully.
Firstly, you should probably strike off any university that ranks applicants on their UCAT score straight from your list. You can expect that the candidates who have managed to obtain exceptionally high scores will opt for these institutions, so applying for these will only put you at a disadvantage.
Some universities may look at your UCAT score in combination with another aspect of your application, such as your GCSE results or your personal statement. Keep your eyes open for medical schools taking this approach. If you are able to achieve maximum points with your GCSE grades or you feel as though you have a particularly strong personal statement, you may be able to compensate for missing those few points in your UCAT.
Many universities are pretty transparent about how they deal with applications, so a bit of research will easily help you to clear things up for yourself.
Look at UCAT cut-off points
Bear in mind that there are also medical schools which operate using a UCAT cut-off point. And of course you won’t know what that cut-off score, as it’ll vary from year to year depending on the performance of their applicants. This can seem rather daunting and feel as though you’re blindly sending off your application, but there are ways in which you can better inform yourself.
The best thing for you to do is wait for the UCAT testing to finish – after this, the percentiles will be published and you’ll be able to see which percentile your score falls in. You will then have the liberty of looking at the previous cut-off points for these universities and the percentiles they fell under for that particular year. This will give you a good indication of the mark at which they tend to draw their line. You’ll then be able to take a more educated guess as to whether it’d be worth making an application to these universities.
If you can’t easily find information about previous cut-off scores this is information you can request from the medical school by filing a freedom of information request or reading the ones that have already been answered.
Consider taking the BMAT
Finally, don’t rule out the BMAT. Taking the BMAT will mean you get another shot at a completely different admissions test. At this point you’re probably fed up with these entrance exams, but do seriously consider this as an option. In my opinion the BMAT is a more preferable test than the UCAT as it more closely imitates your usual written exams.
I hope this post has given you a few ideas about what you can do now to continue on your journey. Good luck!