The Beginner’s Guide to UCAT

New to UCAT? The Beginner's Guide to UCAT provides comprehensive information you need to start your preparation for the University Clinical Aptitude Test, or UCAT.

All About UCAT

The Beginner’s Guide to UCAT is an in-depth summary of UCAT and how to prepare for the UCAT exam. It covers what you should know about the UCAT exam and whether you need to sit the exam.

There are 5 parts in the Beginner’s Guide to UCAT:


What is the UCAT?

The UCAT or University Clinical Aptitude Test is an admissions test for entry into medical, dental and clinical science degree programs used by the UCAT ANZ Consortium of universities in Australia and New Zealand.

The UCAT exam replaced the UMAT exam in 2019.

The UCAT in Australia and New Zealand is a 2-hour computer-based test hosted at a Pearson VUE test centre.

Check out the Matrix UCAT Exam Simulator powered by Learnable platform. It’s identical to the real UCAT computer-based test.

UCAT Masterclass Exam Simulator from Matrix Education on Vimeo.


What is the purpose of the UCAT?

The UCAT exam is used for universities in their selection of applicants with the most suitable mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviours that are required for new doctors and dentists.

It’s used alongside with other admission criteria including other academic qualifications (ie. ATAR) and an interview.

What’s the format of the UCAT?

The UCAT exam is a 2-hour computer-based test consisting of 233 multiple-choice questions.

Once started the test cannot be paused for a break but before each subtest there is a timed instruction section.

It assesses a range of mental abilities identified as important for medical professions such as medicine, dentistry and clinical sciences.

The UCAT exam is divided into 4 cognitive and 1 non-cognitive subtests.

UCAT Subtests Overview Flowchart

Flowchart: UCAT Subtests Overview


As illustrated in the flowchart above, the UCAT exam consists of 5 sections:

  1. Verbal Reasoning: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a written form
  2. Decision Making: Assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information
  3. Quantitative Reasoning: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form
  4. Abstract Reasoning: Assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information.
  5. Situational Judgement: Measures the capacity to understand real-world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.


The test format for each UCAT subtest is outlined below:

UCAT Subtest Questions Test Duration*
Verbal Reasoning 44 21 minutes
Decision Making 29 31 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 36 24 minutes
Abstract Reasoning 55 13 minutes
Situational Management 69 26 minutes
*For each section, there is 1-minute instruction section

Not sure how to prepare for UCAT?

Matrix has helped thousands of students ace their UMAT (now UCAT) to get into the medical science degrees. Prepare for UCAT with our dual face-to-face classes with UCAT experts and comprehensive online-resources. Learn more about our UCAT Prep Course.


Why do we need the UCAT?

The UCAT is a compulsory entry requirement for Medicine or health-related courses at Australia and New Zealand universities.

Our affiliates over at UCAT Masterclass have comprehensive University Guides for each of the regions where UCAT is used:

The UCAT is used to assist with the selection of students into the medicine, dentistry and health science degree programs at an undergraduate level at the following university courses:

Table: University courses requiring UCAT (links take you to the UCAT Masterclass University Guide pages)
University Course(s) requiring UCAT
The University of Adelaide Medicine, Dental Surgery, Oral Health
Charles Sturt University Medicine
Curtin University Medicine
Flinders University Medicine
Monash University Medicine
The University of Newcastle / University of New England Joint Medical Program
The University of New South Wales Medicine
The University of Queensland Medicine (provisional entry), Dental Science
University of Tasmania Medicine
The University of Western Australia Medicine (Direct Pathway), Dental Medicine (Direct Pathway)
Western Sydney University Medicine
The University of Auckland Medicine
University of Otago Medicine, Dental Surgery

Our affiliates over at UCAT Masterclass have comprehensive university Guides for each of the regions where UCAT is used:

UCAT Registration Process and Dates

Who should sit the UCAT?

2020 UCAT should be sat by any Year 12 students who are seeking entry into the medicine, dentistry and health science degree programs in 2021.


When can you register for UCAT?

From March 2020, applicants for the UCAT ANZ Consortium universities in Australia and New Zealand can register and book their UCAT to be sat between 1 July and 31 July 2020.

The UCAT timeline is shown below.


How do you register for UCAT?

There is a two-step process in the Pearson VUE online registration system. Please refer to this webpage for the latest registration instructions.


When is the last testing date?

The last testing date for UCAT ANZ 2020 has yet to be released.


When are UCAT results released?

Upon completion of the UCAT test applicants will be provided details of how to access their UCAT Score Report via their online Pearson VUE account. These results will be sent to the UCAT ANZ Consortium universities in early September. Applicants do not need to personally submit these results.

The UCAT results cannot be carried over from one year to the next.

Applicants can use their UCAT test results to better assist them with their university course preference options to maximise their success for entry into a Medicine or Dentistry program.

UCAT results from 2019 can only be used for courses commencing in 2020. Similarly, the results for from 2020 will only be able to be used for courses beginning in 2021.


UCAT Preparation

Since news the UMAT exam was replaced by the UCAT in 2019, many students asked for advice on how to prepare for the UCAT.

Do not enrol into any UCAT courses until you have checked that it satisfies the new UCAT exam content and format.

Our UCAT team has developed effective resources for the UCAT ANZ exam. New Matrix UCAT preparation courses are open for enrolment. Spaces are limited.


Not sure how to prepare for UCAT?

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