Why UKCAT? (why? Why? WHY?!)

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July 6, 2015 by Emedica

Every year we see frustrated students, infuriated emails and desperate tweets – all expressing the same thing: “HOW DOES ANY OF THIS SHOW WHETHER I WOULD BE A GOOD DOCTOR?”

UKCAT can feel terribly irrelevant when compared to a chemistry A level or some work experience at a GP surgery or on a hospital ward.

There are two main reasons UKCAT was introduced as part of medical applications:

1. Universities were getting lots and lots of applications from students who, on paper, were essentially the same. They all had lots of A*s and As at their GCSEs. They were all predicted As at A level. They all had excellently crafted personal statements, a wide range of impressive extra curricular achievements and relevant work experience. The UKCAT gives universities a number – it’s a blunt tool but one which is easy to use if you want to rank students who look broadly similar.

2. In an effort to widen participation to studying at this level the UKCAT gives an opportunity for students to demonstrate their aptitude even if their GCSE grades and UCAS form isn’t quite as good.

The second reason sounds super noble but, in reality, the former is a bigger deal.

The fact is that there are many applicants for every place at medical school, and dental school. It’s likely that three quarters of those applicants are intellectually able to do the course but the competition enables the universities to be very picky.

There are posts on this blog explaining ‘the point’ of each of the UKCAT sections which may, or may not, convince you of its value as a discrimination tool. However – UKCAT is a reality so whether you like it or not – it is a hurdle to clear if you are to reach your goals.

We have over 100 free UKCAT questions for you to try. We also have over 2000 fully updated UKCAT questions, with the same screen layout as the real thing. The service reflects all the new changes for the current year. We also run a 1 day Crammer Course to help boost your UKCAT score – book here!

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