UKCAT rebranded to UCAT as the test is launched in Australia and New Zealand

A widely-used clinical aptitude test which helps universities select the next generation of doctors and dentists is to be adopted by leading medical and dental schools in Australia and New Zealand.

The UKCAT Consortium, launched in 2006 and with offices at the University of Nottingham, now delivers the test on behalf of the majority of medical and dental schools in the UK.

The computer-based test is a two-hour, timed assessment which measures a range of cognitive abilities, mental attitudes and professional behaviours. Scores are mostly used to select candidates for interview, alongside measures of academic attainment and other aspects of the UCAS form. Research has shown that the test is a reliable predictor of performance at medical school.

In 2018 the UKCAT was taken by a record number of 27,000 candidates in the UK. From 2019, in a major development, the test is being adopted by a consortium of Medical and Dental Schools in Australia and New Zealand. The content of the test remains the same but is has been rebranded - the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) will continue to be delivered at Pearson VUE test centres throughout the UK and internationally.

Announcing the expansion, Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Greatrix, said: “This is a major milestone for UKCAT, which has been a huge asset in medical and dental selection in this country. The test was developed under the leadership of Professor Ian Johnson, then admissions tutor for medicine at the University of Nottingham who pioneered the idea of an easily accessible online assessment tool to supplement traditional applications.

“We are delighted that a group of leading universities in Australia and New Zealand are partnering with us and will adopt our test in their admissions cycle this summer. It comes following a year that saw a record number of candidates taking the test. At the same time we have a record number of Universities within the UKCAT Consortium. In 2019, 30 Universities will use the test in selection for medicine and dentistry. This includes new medical schools such as the Lincoln Medical School, a University of Nottingham medical course launching at the University of Lincoln this autumn.”

Nigel Siesage, UKCAT Chair, said:” I am delighted to see the establishment of the UCAT arising out of the collaboration between universities based in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. We look forward to working with colleagues in Australia and New Zealand to further develop our test according to the outcomes of the most robust research.”

The UCAT will replace the Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) previously used by the consortium of 11 leading universities in Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Wayne Hodgson, Chair of the UMAT Consortium and Deputy Dean (Education), Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, said: “We are excited to be taking this next step which will see us moving to an internationally renowned aptitude test giving our member universities greater flexibility and ensuring we continue to promote best practice in admissions. We look forward to working collaboratively with our counterparts at UK universities in the future development and use of the test.”