Where can I apply with a low UCAT score for 2023 entry?
Did you get a low score on your UCAT? This should not mean the end of your medical school application or your dream of becoming a doctor. However, your options for medical schools will be limited, and you will need to apply to a university that places less emphasis on your UCAT score.
Before you begin your UCAS application, consider the following information: –
You must also ensure that you still meet the other admission requirements for that medical school. This includes your choice of A-levels, GCSEs, and actual or predicted grades. Almost everyone wants Chemistry or Biology, and some even specify what their third A-level should be. Minimum grades may apply to GCSEs.
UCAT Results from 2021-2023
Based on the UCAT results from last year, the scores and deciles are as follows. They do not change much over the years, so can be used as a reasonable starting point until the UCAT consortium releases the results for 2022.
A High Score is on 8th and 9th Decile which is a score of 2730 or more.
A Medium Score is on the 6th and 7th Decile which is currently 2570 – 2640
A Low Score is on the 5th Decile and below which translates to a score of 2500 or less
We advise all our students that attend our UCAT Course to aim for a score of 2800 +
With regards to UCAT Situational Judgement, you need to score in Band 1 or Band 2. Last year only 14% of students scored in Band 1 with 36% in Band 2. Students in Band 3 with an otherwise good application risk missing out on a place and those in Band 4 can be automatically rejected.
If you fit the medical school’s widening participation criterion, your UCAT score may be ‘uplifted’ usually by a percentage or by moving up into the next band ⚠️ You will need to check with the individual medical school if you think this should be the case with your application.
Factors you should consider when choosing a medical school with a UCAT score
The university may have a calculated cut off UCAT score (this means anyone with score below this is rejected) but traditionally it has been relatively low. Please you should only use past cut off scores as a guideline, as the medical school may well increase the score if it has more applications.
The medical school has already indicated a specific cut off score which is relatively low. They might not do this until the UCAT 2022 results are released.
The medical school has a weighting for the UCAT with other factors, such as A-level and GCSE results, but the weighting for the UCAT score is comparatively low to other factors. This may let you make up for a poor UCAT score with other aspects of your application.
Use the UCAT result after the interview as part of a ‘holistic’ approach, the method of which is not always specified. This may, for example, allow you to make up for a lower UCAT score with a better performance in your medical school interview.
Our list of medical schools to apply for with a low UCAT score for 2023 entry
Here is our list of medical schools to apply with a low UCAT score for 2023 entry. Please note this information is in good faith at the time of writing (14 August 2022) but medical schools can and do update their entry requirements. Always check with the medical school website before making a final decision.
Plymouth University Peninsula Medical School
The medical school has indicated on their website that they do have a cut off score for the UCAT, but historically it has been on the lower side for several years now.
This means that they will use your UCAT score to determine whether or not to call you in for an interview, but the threshold is low. This was 2610 for 2022 entry, which was higher than the 2400 cut off score for 2021. The increased score could be attributed to an increase in the number of applications.
Queen’s University Belfast Medical School
To determine who will be called for an interview, the university employs a point-based system. This is graded out of 42, with points awarded based on your GCSE results and UCAT score.
The school will be looking for your best work. 9 GCSEs are worth points based on your grade in each subject, with 4 points awarded for an A* (or 9 on the new system), 3 points for an A (7 or 8) grade, 2 points for a B (6), and 1 point for a C. (5). Based on your GCSE grades, your maximum academic score is 36 (which is 9 subjects at A*/9 at GCSE).
The remaining 6 points are based on your UCAT score, which has a much lower weight than your GCSE results. If there are two applicants with the same situational judgement score, the medical school has indicated that they will use your situational judgement score.
They then decide to call anyone who scored 32 overall points or higher in 2021 for an interview. Unfortunately, this cut off score is increasing year after year.
Furthermore, Queen’s Belfast is a medical school with a historically low applicant-to-placement ratio.
Sunderland University School of Medicine
According to the medical school’s website, “scores must be within the top 8 deciles of the cohort and situational judgement test (SJT) must be within bands 1-3.”
Based on 2022 results, this corresponds to a UCAT score of more than 2270, indicating a relatively low UCAT cut off score. Sunderland also has a lower applicant-to-placement ratio.
Please keep in mind that the admissions document on the website is dated 2021 at the time of writing, so make sure it hasn’t been updated before applying.
Birmingham University School of Medicine
According to the medical school’s website, “weighting will be: 45% academic, 40% UCAT, and 15% contextual.” It was 45% academic, 35% UCAT, and 20% contextual last year. So, while the UCAT is carrying more weight this year, you may still be able to compensate with strong academic performance.
Contextual scores are effectively the criterion for increasing participation.
However, be wary of the ‘contextual’ indicators; failing to meet them, combined with a low UCAT score, could put you at a disadvantage; however, because the weighting for contextual score has been reduced, this has less of an impact than last year.
Keele University Medical School
The university has stated that it has a threshold, which can be as low as 2280, which is historically low. Students are also ranked on the ‘roles and responsibilities’ form, which we assume is another written assessment that you must complete – based on the guidance, it appears to be a significant essay type of assessment.
They have also stated that if you live in the Keele area, you will receive a lower offer.
Some other medical schools to consider applying to if you have a low UCAT score
These medical schools were on previous years’ lists, but their entry requirements have changed or the information is unclear:
Medical School at Aston University
According to the university’s website, ‘Academic qualifications and UCAT scores are taken into account for interview shortlisting, and we then use both of these and MMI results to offer a place to study medicine.’
However, more specific information is lacking. We discovered a dated document on the medical school website that indicates the lowest UKCAT (yes, that is correct, the document says UKCAT) score for a successful applicant for 2020/2021 entry was 2150 and also provides a scoring system for GCSE grades.
This means that you may be able to compensate for a lower UCAT score if you perform well in the other indicators, which they have identified as academic qualifications and performance in your medical school interview.
Medical School at the University of Exeter
- According to the university website, data will be ‘weighted to create an Exeter score; 25% from the UCAT/GAMSAT and 75% from academic attainment,’ which is the same as last year.
- The academic attainment refers to your (assumed) A-level results. We did notice, however, that having an A* makes a significant difference. According to the medical school, it then ranks students based on their Exeter score to determine who to invite for interviews.
- Aside from the UCAT, you must also pass the Medical School Interview. Come to our medical school interview preparation course and learn how to turn those interviews into offers!
- 👨⚕️ Dr. Abdul Mannan, a fully qualified and experienced doctor and medical school undergraduate tutor, teaches in person. We do not compromise on the tutor’s experience because it correlates to your success.
- Covers more than 50 topics evaluated in medical school interviews. Traditional ones, such as motivation and ethics, as well as more modern ones, such as doctors’ use of social media, are included.
- Role play, practical sessions, and hot topics such as COVID19 and vaccination are all included.
- 😀 The course is delivered in person and allows students to practice MMI stations while receiving expert feedback. These will be held in Glasgow, Manchester, London, and Birmingham.
- On certain dates, you can attend the class from home via live webinar. We advised students who are medically at risk to select this option.
- Over 100 follow-up tutorials and an up-to-date question bank are included to reinforce your learning. You can access us until April 2023, when hopefully all medical schools will have interviewed.