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UMAT to UCAT: What’s the Difference?⠀

You will have heard that the UKCAT Consortium has announced that the UMAT (Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admission Test) has been replaced by the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) in Australia and New Zealand from 2019.

So – how does the UCAT differ from the UMAT? Find out on this page here!

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UMAT to UCAT: What’s the Difference?

There are a few changes that you will need to be aware of – such as new question formats, the difference in testing dates, the test timings and the change to when you will receive your results.

Number of sectionsThree sectionsFive sections
Number of questions134232
Sitting the examOne date to sit the examYou choose date and time at any point in July
Test durationThree hoursTwo hours
Receiving resultsWait until mid-SeptemberImmediately after exam

Although the format may have changed, the intent behind the test has stayed the same. Both the UCAT and UMAT are designed to assess your aptitude to be a great doctor.

Ultimately, this is good news for aspiring medics as the UCAT will grant you greater flexibility in your applications to med school!

UMAT to UCAT: New Sections

There are new sections in the UCAT that didn’t appear in UMAT. The UMAT consisted of three subsections covering logical reasoning and problem solving, understanding people, and non-verbal reasoning. The UCAT assesses similar skills, but is split into five sections:

So you can see that both tests are examining the same qualities via multiple choice, but the sections are different.

UMAT to UCAT: New Questions

It’s also important to note that although the sections are assessing similar skills or qualities (such as numerical skills), the question formats will differ.

For example, although both the UMAT section ‘Logical reasoning and problem-solving’ and UCAT Quantitative Reasoning section involve numerical calculations, the way the questions are formatted are different.

In the UMAT, some questions will involve calculation but the answer will be written as a statement rather than a single number. In the UCAT, Quantitative Reasoning questions will involve two or three calculations and you may need to use the on-screen calculator. In this sense, this section, although it tests numeracy like the UMAT, is more focused on mathematical skill.

For a more detailed breakdown of how the sections and question formats differ, you can read more about how each subsection differs from the UMAT on the section-specific pages above. Visit our UCAT practice questions page for more detail. 

UMAT to UCAT: More Flexibility

This is good news for you! The change from UMAT to UCAT means there is greater flexibility for you as a medical school applicant.

Previously, students who took the UMAT could only sit the exam on a specific date (for example, in 2018 this was 25th July) – so you had to make sure you were fully prepared before this date.

However, the UCAT allows students to pick the date and time they will sit the test, so you’ll have greater flexibility to choose a time that suits you – and you can sit the exam at any point over July!

UMAT to UCAT: Shorter Timing

Whereas the UMAT was a three-hour test completed on paper, the UCAT is two hours and is completed on a computer. Many students will find it easier to practise this way – plus the test is an hour shorter, which we’re sure will be a relief to many of you!

UMAT to UCAT: Results Quicker

Previously, students only received their UMAT scores in mid-September – but the UKCAT Consortium has worked to minimise a lengthy marking period.

With UCAT you’ll be able to view your scores straight away after sitting the exam, which is great news as this means you can apply to medical schools in Australia and New Zealand strategically with your UCAT score!

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