UCAT results for EU applicant

(20 Posts)
shockthemonkey Fri 30-Aug-19 09:33:43


I know this is a difficult question as each university has its own way of using UCAT results. Even when they actually say there is a firm cut-off, they never say what that cut-off is as it changes each year according to the strength of the field. This I understand.

I am nonetheless going to ask as I have seen some very clued-up people comment on medical school admissions on this board.

I am advising a student for whom English is her third language. If she got 80 points under the average in the Verbal Reasoning would this be viewed a little more leniently than if English were her mother tongue?

Her Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning are respectively just over, just under and comfortably inside the "average" bracket of 620-630.

After that, what worries me is her SJT which came out in Band 3. Will this "modest" result be offset by her strong Decision Making score do you think?

She is very ambitious and wants to aim for the more selective unis, two of which ask for BMAT (which she will sit soon). She does not want to consider applying tactically based on her test results but I am worried.

Her application is in all other respects very strong -- academics, extra-curricular and work experience (which was very complicated for her to obtain).

Thanks if you have any thoughts!

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peteneras Fri 30-Aug-19 10:25:39

I'm sorry, but I don't think Medicine admissions tutors bother to look in the first instance an applicant's country of origin if the application comes from the main UK/EU pool. Even if they did, EU applicants would not get any special treatment as this rather destroys the whole purpose of the UCAT entrance test in the first place which admissions tutors look at it as a whole - which gives rise to the 'cut-off' level for each uni. In any case, good command of the English language is crucial in Medicine.

Your tutee should get rid of the idea of more selective unis - whatever that means - and apply to her strength even if it means applying and going to the University of Lands End if that is what it takes. Just so that you know, top medical students and therefore, potential top-class doctors don't all go to "more selective unis". Good luck to her application!

shockthemonkey Fri 30-Aug-19 11:18:05

Thank you for replying peteneras.

I have been trying to persuade her to look more broadly at her choice of unis, but she has not budged from the four schools that she's been dreaming of for years. They do seem to be the most over-subscribed of all the schools -- and the ones that require the highest A-level results. That's what I mean by the "more selective schools", although I fully appreciate that all medical schools are highly selective and that is why I have been trying to encourage her to spread the net and apply more tactically.

I know for a fact that at least some medical schools lower their UCAT cut-offs for their "international" applicants. But of course EU is not considered international, at least not for this cycle.

Would you say then that her Verbal Reasoning score knocks her out altogether? And her SJT band -- I know band 3 is borderline for some unis, and would put her out of the running for others, but sadly of the four unis she's chosen we don't actually have that data (very few unis give precise data on how they use UCAT, for understandable reasons).

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shockthemonkey Fri 30-Aug-19 11:21:17

PS her English is very strong, IELTS 6.5 overall at first try, likely to do better at second try (she is aiming for 7 to 7.5 overall with nothing under 7 and I believe this is realistic).

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Needmoresleep Fri 30-Aug-19 11:35:00

SHE needs to get reading. Student Room and med school websites are the starting point.

A UKCAT below about the 70-75th quartile can be a problem. She also needs to get out of head the idea of "top" medical schools unless perhaps she hopes to be an academic doctor or use her medical degree to go into law or the city. Instead she should consider what suits her learning style best. And, paramout, who might interview her. The degrees are the same wherever she goes. Some of the most competive medical schools, Bristol is one example, give the lowest offers.

She seems to have a very odd idea of medical education in the UK and some sense of entitlement. Would she not be better off studying somewhere like France where there is more emphasis on academics and less on ths other skills a student brings to the table.

Most of all she needs to do some of her own research. It is what most kids here would expect to do.

242Mummy Fri 30-Aug-19 13:38:00

If she has a list of 4 unis already, ask her to check the scoring system of each one to see if she stands a chance of interview. Each uni puts weight on different components - GCSEs, predicted grades, BMAT/UCAT.

You seem particularly concerned about her UCAT VR. Don't be. The unis she is interested in may take an average of all 4 UCAT sections rather than individual components. Or use deciles for a cut-off. Off the top of my head, I think Nottingham and UEA are ones which score each section individually then adds the total to GCSE points. It is going round various fora that last year, Nottingham's cut off was 50/56 points for interview invites. All this information is available on the internet, sometimes on the uni's website so do take a look.

Agree with everyone above who has said she needs to apply to her strengths, not on any misguided notion of a 'better' uni for Medicine.

242Mummy Fri 30-Aug-19 14:16:49

To add : check if her preferred unis use SJT score as a 'station' in MMI. Some unis place weight on it that way.

A few unis reject candidates with SJT 4 but as far as I know, a 3 doesn't raise flags.


shockthemonkey Fri 30-Aug-19 17:38:39

Thank you all very much. Lots of sound advice which I will pass on

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frozentree Fri 30-Aug-19 17:57:20

My daughter (EU applicant but British national) is going to UEA to do medicine in 2 weeks time. Her 2 cents worth are:

- the universities that use the UKcat do not differentiate EU/UK students. So the fact that your tutee is EU will make no difference to how her UKcat score is assessed.

- Your tutee needs to chose her medical schools very carefully. My daughter had 2 interviews which were both with non-mainstream universities and thankfully received one offer as a result.

- Ielts is not a given. Despite being completely bilingual and having aced an extra writing English part of her baccalaureate, she just managed a 7 on the written part of the Ielts.

That aside, she feels ultimately it was a positive being an EU student. She missed her offer by 0.5 (equivalent of a B instead of an A) but because it was a 9 subject bac she was taking rather than 3 A-levels, she thinks they were more lenient towards her.

If your tutee is in the French system, please feel free to ask any more questions as my daughters biggest moan was that she had nobody to talk to about the UK medical application process who was in the same boat as her...! Good luck.

shockthemonkey Fri 30-Aug-19 20:03:38

Thank you so much frozen. My student is doing the French Bac PLUS the equivalent of two A-levels on top (she is sitting the OIB).

She is stretched to the limit and has nobody at school or at home to help her in any way.

As I am sure you'll agree from your own daughter's experience, her situation is worlds away from the DC of those posters expressing astonishment that she's not figuring it all out for herself. Most UK med school applicants are surrounded by parents, teachers and peers who all have a good idea of how it works and can point them in the right direction. Work experience is easier to get as there is less red tape in the UK.

This girl is very strong academically but has not quite taken on board that a prediction of 18 in the OIB Sciences stream is not on its own sufficient.

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Needmoresleep Fri 30-Aug-19 20:37:29

Yes but the problem seems to partly be her unrealistic expectations. My impression is that French students seem to attach a lot to studying at the 'right' school, something like a British grand ecole. And often assume that because French secondary education involves more grind, it is inherently better and ought to be recognised as such by British universities. Medicine is a long slog. Getting to the end is as much being on a course that is a good fit, as one which carries prestige in the Parisian banlieux.

You suggested she was not really responding to efforts to reduce her expectations. We have know several medical applicants with A* predictions who ended up without offers. It is all about being realistic and tactical.

My suggestion that she look at Student Room was to enable her to pick up some of the angst and concern, to help her understand that a medical application in the UK is not a walk in the park. She may think she is too busy to engage, but if she is not taking the advice of the applications consultant she is employing, she could well flop.

Till Brexit, and perhaps beyond, Universities have to treat EU applicants equally, not better or worse. UKCAT is often used as a pretty brutal cut off. I did not fully understand her score, but to have a good choice of schools it needs to be good. There is absolutely no point her applying somewhere where she does not meet published criteria.

Our observation has been that the Irish system suits French applicants better. Its much more about grades and less about the peripheral stuff.

SirTobyBelch Fri 30-Aug-19 21:08:58

As people have already said, the answer is no. Everyone's UCAT score is usually looked at on the same basis. I think one or two medical schools set a different threshold for applicants with specific indicators of socioeconomic/educational disadvantage, who are much less likely to have had advice or access to additional preparation materials (they certainly did a couple of years ago but I'm not fully up to date). There is no allowance for whether or not English is the applicant's first language: this would be impossible to apply fairly.

shockthemonkey Fri 30-Aug-19 21:15:41

Yes, spot on sleep. She does feel that as she is very bright she should aim "high" ie a place most people outside UK have heard of.

She would sail into a prepa médecine here in France (whether or not she'd get promoted each year is another story...) and can't quite get that in the UK most med applicants prepare themselves psychologically for what may be a two-year process. Two interviews first time around is a good result, quite possibly no offer ensues, go off to do a great gap year and try again.

Anyway I'll keep trying, armed with everyone's advice and tips.

Thanks again to everyone who responded

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Needmoresleep Fri 30-Aug-19 22:03:52

Monkey, DD wears the T shirt. Great A level predictions but a mediocre UKCAT, and because of illness, a late decision not to take BMAT.

It took quite a lot of research and a big speadsheet to identify 4 places she could realistically apply to. I'm not sure schools do that much. It is expected that pupils can read University websites. Treating it as a trial run for a repeat application the following year made the stress manageable. She was lucky in that she was well aware of problems a friend in the year above, and that the elder brother of a classmate had had, so knew what to expect. Two of her friends then got four rejections, one of whom was very bright indeed, though had better luck on reapplication.

I picked up bits and pieces from Lycee CDG parents. The consensus there seemed to be that the whole thing was a massive exercise in British chauvinism and proof of our ongoing inability to recognise the inherent superiority of French educated applicants. I think it is simpler than that. The process is different so you need to play by a different set of rules. Academic ability helps, but is not everything.

runoutofnamechanges Fri 30-Aug-19 23:56:00

This might help: www.kaptest.co.uk/ucat/info/what-minimum-ucat-score-each-university

Not all universities use the SJT and most use the average score in the other tests so doing badly in one section isn't the end of the world but it does put her at a disadvantage as it drags down her average. Different schools use the scores in different ways though. For example, when my DS applied, the UCAT scores and GCSE results (for UK students) were weighted at 50% each to chose candidates for interview at one of the medical schools he applied to but after interview, the UKCAT score was only 25% of the "score" to decide on whether they were offered a place.

You can find out from freedom of information requests exactly how each medical school weight the UCAT score at each stage. It takes time but it is likely that someone else has already asked the question. You would need to use the old name UKCAT in your google search though.

SirTobyBelch Sat 31-Aug-19 04:45:44

You can find out from freedom of information requests exactly how each medical school weight the UCAT score at each stage.

The best way to find this out is simply to ask. FoI requests are the bane of my life: they are hardly ever worded in a way that will actually elicit the information the requester wants, and very often the questions don't make sense at all. You need to know something about how the university uses the test results before you can ask a meaningful question. I'm perfectly happy to explain in any amount of detail to anyone who asks how we use UCAT results. If they use FoI, though, I will only answer the question they actually asked, which is hardly ever the question they intended to ask and often simply can't be answered without breaching data protection legislation.

shockthemonkey Sat 31-Aug-19 09:39:08

Thank you all so much!

Still watching and taking note. So much info to help her (and to help her help herself!)

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shockthemonkey Sat 31-Aug-19 15:11:06

Indeed Belch, I often look at the results of other peoples FOIs but have never considered submitting a request of my own, as it seems such a huge imposition.

Plus, as you say, the responses show how careful you need to be in how you state the request: "We don't collect that data as it is meaningless", or "yes we have that data but careful, it gives a misleading impression..."

I have loads of tips now, thank you all very much :-)

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HeavenlyHale Mon 07-Jun-21 11:38:18

Late to the party as always but this might be useful for anyone else looking at UCAT scores the Uni's take and understanding them better.

This one explains how each uni uses the UCAT score.

This one is good for understanding how the overall scoring works and how that impacts admissions.

Hope that helps anyone in the future!

SeasonFinale Mon 07-Jun-21 20:57:21


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