What’s the minimum UCAT score I need to get? What’s a competitive score?

Fundamentally, it depends on who else applies for that specific program. If your cohort performs strongly on the UCAT, you’ll need a higher UCAT score to stay competitive, since a ‘competitive score’ is really just a reflection of who you’re competing against.

For example, let’s say that University A and University B both have a medical program, and they’re both offering 500 interview spots on the basis of UCAT results. This essentially means that they’ll look at all of their applicants, rank them from highest to lowest UCAT score, and then draw the line at the 500th best result. The 500 people above the line will get an interview offer, and everyone else below the line won’t.

So if University A is more popular among top-scoring applicants (e.g. students who scored 99th, 98th, and 97th percentile on the UCAT), the minimum UCAT score you need to stay competitive for University A would be higher than for University B, as you would need to achieve a higher score to place within the top 500 applicants.

Taking last year’s data as a reference: in 2021, a minimum UCAT score of around 3050 (i.e. 93–95th percentile) was required to get an interview offer at many universities in eastern Australian states.

More specifically, reports by over 1000 students suggested that the absolute minimum score to get an interview offer at the universities that only consider UCAT when making interview offers was a score in the 93rd percentile, while a score in the 95th percentile was a ‘safe’ mark for getting an interview offer. In other words, a score in the 95th percentile was a ‘competitive score’—a score that placed you on top of the high achievers and gave you a relatively secure chance of achieving entry even if you did slightly worse in another assessment.

(The only exceptions to this were Curtin and UWA, where the threshold was sometimes much lower because Perth students on average performed poorly on the UCAT. Since first-round interviews were only held for Perth students, the UCAT threshold to get an interview offer was once only around 70th to 80th percentile, combined with a 99+ predicted ATAR.)

But as we’ve discussed, percentile cut-offs vary from university to university and are liable to change every year, depending on the number of people who apply and the UCAT scores they achieve.

As for universities that consider both UCAT and academic results when making interview offers, a very high ATAR can sometimes help to offset a slightly lower UCAT (e.g. ATAR of 99.95 combined with a UCAT score in the high 80th percentiles). However, this is very much dependent on the circumstances in your year: in some years, there is lower competition (meaning this would work), but in other years there is high competition (meaning you won’t be able to stay competitive without both a high ATAR and a high UCAT score). You just need to do your very best, since there is no guarantee that this year’s cut-off will be the same as last year’s.

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ucat guide 2022