Almost all UK medical schools require applicants to take at least one admissions test for their application to be considered.

The main admission tests are:

  • The UKCAT
    • UKCAT SJTace
  • The BMAT
  • The GAMSAT (for graduate applicants)

These tests can be taken in many sites all over the world.

Why do Medical schools use admission tests?

Gaining a place at a UK medical school is very competitive. Far more applicants who possess the necessary academic qualifications and other attributes apply then there are places to offer them. Admissions tests give the Medical school another tool to distinguish between different applicants.

Do all medical schools use admission test results in the same way?

  • Different medical schools use different admissions tests.
  • They use the results of the admission tests very differently to each other.
  • Some medical schools use admission test results as a screening tool and do not interview applicants who score below a cutoff score.
  • Others look at the score as part of the whole application.
  • Some medical schools place a high level of importance on admission test results while others put more weight on the other aspects of a candidate’s application e.g. their personal statement, interview performance etc.

Examples of how Medical schools use admission tests

Manchester Medical School (MMS)

Manchester Medical School uses the UKCAT and does so in two main ways:

  • For the first method, they interview all applicants who score in the top third of UKCAT results nationally (as long as they also meet the minimum academic grades). They interview around 1000 students in this way. To widen participation, they compare UKCAT scores of students from similar educational and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • The second way Manchester Medical school use the UKCAT is for applicants with lower UKCAT scores that do not meet the automatic interview criteria above. For these applicants, the UKCAT will be considered alongside their whole application e.g. A-levels, personal statement etc. They interview around 300-500 applicants in this way.

Edinburgh Medical School (EMS)

Edinburgh Medical school also use the UKCAT. Edinburgh Medical School is unusual as they are the only Medical school for 2018 entry to not interview candidates who are school leavers. They still interview mature and graduate applicants. For their selection process, they score applicants based on all elements of their application and offer places to the highest scoring individuals. This is how they used the UKCAT for 2018 entry on to their Medical course. You can see that the UKCAT made up 35% of the total application score.

For candidates who are not interviewed, i.e. school leavers:

Academic achievements: 50%
UKCAT (excluding SJT component) – 20%
SJT component of UKCAT: 15%
Personal statement/reference: 15%

For candidates who are interviewed, i.e. mature and graduate applicants:

Interview: 30%
Academic achievements: 35%
UKCAT (excluding SJT component): 20%
SJT component of UKCAT: 15%

A summary of the admission tests


WHAT: A two hour test taken on a computer. It is comprised of five sections which assess skills that doctors need such as verbal reasoning, decision making, situational judgement etc. You can certainly increase your performance by preparing and practicing for the UKCAT. It is very important you do this, however, the UKCAT is not like the typical exams you will have sat in GCSE or A-Levels which are knowledge based. See our free UKCAT guide for a complete breakdown of the test and crucially guidance on how to prepare for it.

WHO: For 2018; 25 medical schools will use the UKCAT. For the full list and much more information see our free full UKCAT guide.

WHEN: You must register and take the UKCAT before your UCAS application and enter your score in the UCAS application form. You will know your score before you apply via UCAS. You can only take the test once per application cycle i.e. once per year. Registration to be able to sit the test usually opens around May and ends in September. The test can usually be taken from around the beginning of July to the beginning of October. You can take the test on many different dates and in locations all around the world.

COST: In 2017 £65 for early dates in the UK, £85 for later dates in the UK and – £115 in other parts of the world. Full bursaries are available to help with the cost.


This is only for applicants applying specifically for the Graduate Entry Medical programme (ScotGEM – A101) at the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee. The test is not the full UKCAT – it is only a single component of the full UKCAT called the SJT – “situational judgement test”. As a result, if applicants have sat the normal UKCAT test for that application year, then they do not need to sit this additional test as the SJT is a component of the full UKCAT.


WHAT: A two hour written test comprised of three sections. Like the UKCAT it tests aptitude but unlike the UKCAT it also has a knowledge based component. See our BMAT guide for a complete breakdown of the BMAT.

WHO: For 2018; 7 medical schools will use the BMAT. For the full list see our BMAT guide.

WHEN: You must register before the UCAS application is made. The tests can be sat either in September or November. Most universities will accept either sitting but some universities will only accept a November test sitting, not a September sitting. You cannot do both and can only take one examination per application cycle. The November sitting can be taken at multiple centres all over the world while the September sitting can only be sat in the UK as it is a newly introduced date and still being trialled. Scores are sent automatically to the relevant universities.

COST: In 2017 £46-£78 depending on where in the world you take the test. Full bursaries are available to help with the cost.


WHAT: This is a day long written test for graduate applicants to certain medical schools. See our GAMSAT guide for a complete breakdown of the GAMSAT.

WHO: For 2018; 7 Medical schools will use the GAMSAT. Only graduates need to sit this test. It is required for some graduate entry courses. Some universities will require this for their standard entry courses also if the applicant is a graduate.

WHEN: You must register and sit the test before your UCAS application.

COST: The 2018 exams will cost £262 in the UK, $505 in Australia, €335 in Ireland.

Prepare for your Interview with Medicine Answered

At Medicine Answered we aim to do everything we can to maximise your chances of gaining entry into your chosen UK or international medical school. We offer a range of services which are unique from our competitors as they are created and delivered exclusively by doctors who themselves gained entry into all four medical schools. This unique 100 percent success rate gives them the perfect expertise to help your application stand out. We offer specialist one day medical school interview courses and also one on one medical school interview tutoring which can be done in person or online. We also offer an excellent 360° application review service.

You can book a place on our Medical School Interview Course, or our specialist tutoring sessions via our website. Alternatively, if you require any further information do not hesitate to contact us.