When Should I Take the UCAT?

This is a question we get asked time and time again, so we thought we'd devote a blog post to it. Let's explore what you need to know about UCAT dates.

Looking for UCAT guidance?

This is a question we get asked time and time again, so we thought we’d devote a blog post to it. The short version is as follows: Take the UCAT in August! But there’s more to it than that as different people have different situations, so let’s explore what you need to know about UCAT dates.

UCAT Key Dates

Let’s take a look at the key dates that you’re going to need to know when preparing for the UCAT, as well as preparing your application in general.

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UCAT-Key-Dates-diagram

  • Registration and booking opens – May
  • Testing begins – Early July
  • Testing ends – 1st October
  • UCAS application deadline – 15th October
  • Results sent to universities – Early November

This is a basic timeline of what you’ll need to do for the UCAT, from registration all the way to results.

As you can see, the whole process can take up to 6 months depending on when you begin. One perk of taking the UCAT is that you are free to choose when you sit the exam, as long as it’s within the testing dates. This allows for much more flexibility than some other application assessments which are restricted to set days.

Remember that all medical schools have the same UCAS deadline of October 15th. If you’re applying for subjects outside of medicine, they may have a deadline of January 15th, but medicine courses will always require applications in October.

Why Take the UCAT in August?

Simply put, it’s good to get things done quickly. The application process is long and has a lot of things that need to be completed to a high standard, so holding off on jobs will just make the process more stressful for yourself when the time come to actually do the work. When your rushing to get things to finish, your application is obviously going to suffer!

On top of this, your personal and school lives are of course going to play a factor in how you can prepare. Everyone has different needs when it comes to revision, but giving yourself at least two months of prep time is strongly recommended.

Sitting the UCAT in September means that your preparation is going to be competing with your school work and the other aspects of your application. The UCAT is super important to your application but you shouldn’t jeopardise the rest of your application to prepare for it!

Taking the exam in late summer (e.g August) will give you the whole of the summer holiday to revise and perfect your UCAT strategy!

  • A place on the UCAT Crash Course
  • UCAT Online Course
  • 12 Months UCAT Ninja Access
  • 300-Page UCAT Workbook


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If you (might be) taking the BMAT

The BMAT is on November 5th, so you’d want a bit of time to prepare. The BMAT is a tough exam and much more content-heavy. You’ll need to look through your dusty GCSE books, and practice as much as possible.

We recommend you give yourself a good two months at least before taking your BMAT exam – which means you should take the UCAT before September.

At the same time, you shouldn’t rush to take your UCAT. We wouldn’t be able to pin down the dates, or even the month, you should take your UCAT; that’s because it depends on how early you start preparing, how much work you put in on a daily basis, and (to a small degree) your natural ability.

You should only take it when you feel ready and when you’re confident you have done enough practice – you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the best strategies and techniques before walking through the door.

If you’re definitely not taking the BMAT

You’ll have less to worry about, so if you happen to be reading this article in August and haven’t started preparing yet – at least you’ll have the rest of September to get on it. However, we still recommend you take the UCAT early-ish in August. School starts in September, so I doubt you’d want extra distractions (homework) before test day.

The UCAT (thankfully) gives you a score as soon as you finish, so you’ll be much better placed to choose the most suitable medical (or dental) school in accordance with your score. As you’ll probably know, some universities take the UCAT more seriously than others, and some don’t really care (to an extent). We recommend you take your UCAT earlier because you’ll have more time to carefully choose the right university, and also to polish up your personal statement, before the UCAS application deadline on October 15th.

Is it really that big a deal if I don’t take the UCAT in August?

Well, no. We’d just highly recommend that you do. As mentioned before, come September, you’ll be hounded by your teachers for personal statement drafts and you won’t want the UCAT looming over you – trust us, we’ve been there.

But if you’re going on holiday or anything else and it’s not feasible to do it in August, then there’s nothing that can be done to sit it early. Life can sometimes get in the way, so it’s more important that you take the UCAT at all than taking it at a specific time. However, make sure you do it as early on as you can – the result will hugely influence which universities you’ll be applying to, so keep that in mind!

So there we have it! You should now understand that taking the UCAT in the earlier stages of your application will be extremely beneficial. Of course, this isn’t going to be feasible for everyone. After all, they wouldn’t run the UCAT until October if students that sat it then had no chance of getting an offer!

All the advice that we’ve given today is strongly recommended, but none of it is essential to your application. At the end of the day, it’s down to you and when you feel prepared to take the test.

Want to find out more about how the UCAT works? Then check out our Definitive UCAT Guide for everything you’ll need to know before sitting the exam.

Need another fix of UCAT tips?

We have all sorts of amazing articles on our free UCAT Resources page! You’ll find everything you need to know to get a great score, including:


  •  

    UCAT Top Tips


  •  

    How I got 825 in the UCAT


  •  

    UCAT Scoring & Results: The Definitive Guide

No matter when you take the UCAT, 6med is here to help you get through it!

You may not know where to begin with your preparation, or you may just need an extra boost to help boost your results. No matter what you need, our UCAT Preparation Bundle covers everything you could need to stand out from the competition!

ucat-bundle logo

  • A place on the UCAT Crash Course
  • UCAT Online Course
  • 12 Months UCAT Ninja Access
  • 300-Page UCAT Workbook


BOOST YOUR UCAT SCORE

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