Makeen Baroudi

7th June 2020

What to do if your UCAT score is too low?

  • What should I do if my UCAT score is too low?
  • Where should I apply with a low UCAT score?
  • What are the low UCAT score universities?
  • Can I still apply to university with a low UCAT score?

1. Introduction

It is not at all uncommon for somebody to score a “low” UCAT score. There are many reasons for this, some are explained, others are not. If you do not score what you wanted to score, or if you score lower than your mates, please don’t be disheartened. A “low” UCAT score is not the end of your medical application.

2. What defines a “low” UCAT score?

There are many ways to look at this. For example, a score that might be low compared to your mates’ scores, or lower than the average of the university you are applying to. In this article we will be referring to “low” as in lower than the national average. Of course, the average UCAT score varies every year depending on the performance of that year’s cohort. Moreover, the average UCAT score for the 2019 cycle was 620. It is interesting to note that the average UCAT score usually falls between 620-630.

You can find free UCAT resources and free practice questions here on our website.

3. Where should I apply with a “low” UCAT score?

It is very important to recognise that a low UCAT score does not mean that your medical application is over. There are still a few options available, in spite of a low UCAT score. Here we explore some of these options. To learn more about what options you have and to help you prepare for your UCAT make sure you check out our UCAT guide.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, option is applying to a non-UCAT university. For example you can apply to BMAT universities. It doesn’t have to be Oxford or Cambridge that you apply to if you don’t want these universities. You can apply to Leeds or Lancaster universities. These are all BMAT universities which you can apply to if you have a high BMAT score compared to your UCAT score.

However, some people choose not to do the BMAT, in which case applying to UCAT universities is their only option. You can still apply to UCAT universities with a “low” UCAT score. You just need to be careful not to apply to universities that rely heavily on the UCAT.

For example, universities such as Newcastle and King’s College London place particular importance on the UCAT as part of shortlisting their candidates for interviews. If your UCAT score is not very high then a university like Cardiff may be a good match.

You can learn much more about the UCAT, how to revise for it and our top tips by having a look at our UCAT guide.

Cardiff University doesn’t generally take UCAT score into much consideration. Cardiff’s system relies heavily on GCSE and A-Level grades when ranking applicants to be invited for interviews. Please note that Cardiff does not use predicted grades for A-levels. Each grade is given a particular score and then scores are added up. Those with the highest scores based on their grades will be higher in the rankings and, therefore, be more likely to be invited for an interview.

Therefore, the higher your GCSE (and A-level) grades the more likely you are to be invited for an interview at Cardiff University.

Moreover, there is one scenario where Cardiff uses UCAT scores. This is when two applicants have the same scores for their grades and their application is very similar. If the university cannot decide which candidate it wants to invite for an interview or make an offer, the applicants’ UCAT scores will be used to decide and the higher score will most likely be invited for an interview.


Please note that Cardiff University takes into consideration any contextual data.

One last option for you if you think that your UCAT score is “low” is applying for new medical schools. These would be universities that have recently had a medicine faculty. In this case, they will be less competitive than other universities since they are new and they may be more tolerant towards lower UCAT scores. For example, the University of Sunderland Medicine course commenced in 2019.

4. Conclusion

This was a brief discussion of the options you have if your UCAT score isn’t as high as you wanted it to be. In the end an important takeaway is that it is not the end of the road if you don’t score very well on the UCAT, and you can still get into medical school. Finally, please be sure to check out the universities’ website for any specific information. You can always email the university admissions team if you have any questions or queries.

You can learn much more about the UCAT, how to revise for it and our top tips by having a look at our UCAT guide.

Makeen Baroudi

Product Manager

Hi guys, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog page. We at TheMedicalGeeks try and pass on the lessons we learned whilst getting into medical school.

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