MCAT vs UCAT: Which is Tougher?

MCAT and UCAT are two different types of medical entrance tests that test whether you have the potential to become a doctor or not! MCAT is an admission test for international colleges in the US, Canada, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands whereas UCAT is for universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Find out which is harder: MCAT vs UCAT and which test can be your portal to your dream university!

What is MCAT?

MCAT or Medical College Admission Test is considered amongst the most prominent medical entrance exams in the world for prospective medical students in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Caribbean Islands. MCAT is used for assessing scientific knowledge and inquiry, critical analysis, and reasoning skills. MCAT is a 6 hour 15 minutes (excluding break times) long, multiple-choice format and computer-based examination which assesses students in 4 areas through 230 questions. Students can give the test across the United States and Canada along with a few major locations worldwide but not in India. MCAT is conducted 25 times in a year. Students can register on the Association of American Medical Colleges website and book a test date.

What is UCAT?

UCAT or University Clinical Aptitude Test is a medical entrance examination used by most universities in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK for selecting students into high-demand health-related careers such as medicine and dentistry. The UCAT focuses on assessing students’ mental abilities, characteristics, aptitude, and professional behaviors. It is 2 hours long, multiple-choice format, and computer-based examination that assesses students in 5 areas through 233 questions. Students can sit for the test in various locations across the World including in India. Students can register for UCAT from March 1 to 17 May 2022 by completing a two-step process on the Pearson VUE website and booking a test date. The test will be held between 1 July and 12 August 2022.

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For the benefit of applicants we have compiled a list of all the details you would need to choose between MCAT and UCAT: 

Comparison MCAT UCAT
Full-Form  Medical College Admission Test University Clinical Aptitude Test
Conducting bodies The Association of American Medical Colleges [AAMC]. Pearson
Test Type Computer-Based; MCQs Computer-Based; MCQs
Degree For MD in US, Canada, Australia Medical and Dental Degrees in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand
Eligibility criteria 1.  Candidate should be planning to apply to a health professions school2. As an international student, one must be enrolled or should hold and an MBBS degree 1. Students in their final year of high school or any year thereafter can appear for the exam.2. Candidates should be aspiring to pursue a medical or dental degree in the UK, Australia or New Zealand.
Number of applicants Approximately 85,000 students Approximately 24,000 students 
Difficulty level Moderate Difficult
Number of permissible attempts 7 times in a lifetime; 4 times in two consecutive years; 3 times in a single test year Any number of times, in or after your final year of high school; 1 time in a year 
Frequency in a year Thrice Once
Test Duration 6 hours and 15 minutes (excluding break times) 2 hour
Validity of score 2-3 years 1 year
Application fees $320 application fees + $115 for international applicants = $435 (Approx. Rs. 30,750)  $305 (Australia and New Zealand); $380 (if giving the exam outside Australia or New Zealand)

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Exam Pattern


The MCAT exam pattern consists of 230 multiple choice questions which need to be completed in a total of 7.5 hours. It tests the overall hold of the applicant over not only fundamental biology and chemistry, and behaviour related concepts but also their critical analysis and problem-solving skills. The 4 sections in MCAT include:

Section Questions Time Required
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems 44 [passage-related]15 [non passage-related] 95 minutes
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills 53 [passage-related] 90 minutes
Biological and BiochemicalFoundations of Living Systems 44 [passage-related]15 [non passage-related] 95 minutes
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour 44 [passage-related]15 [non passage-related 95 minutes

Each section is scored from a low of 118 to a high of 132, with a midpoint of 125. Test takers will receive scores for each of the four sections. The total score ranges from 472 to 528. The midpoint is 500.


There are a total of 233 questions in UCAT, with the questions divided among 5 subtests. Approximately 10% of questions will be trial questions, which do not contribute to your score. All questions will be presented in multiple choice format, on a computer platform.  The subtests are as follows:

Subtests Questions Time Required Marking
Verbal Reasoning 44 21 mins Questions are worth 1 mark each
Decision Making 29 31 mins Questions with one correct answer are worth 1 mark.Questions with multiple statements are worth 2 marks. One mark is awarded to partially correct responses on the multiple-statement questions.
Quantitative Reasoning 36 24 mins Questions are worth 1 mark each.
Abstract Reasoning 55 13 mins Questions are worth 1 mark each.
Situational Judgement 69 26 mins Full marks are awarded for a question if your response matches the correct answer and partial marks are awarded if your response is close to the correct answer.

Each of the first four subtests (known as the cognitive subtests) are marked on a scale between 300 – 900, with a total score range between 1200-3600. Raw scores for the Situational Judgement subtest are expressed in bands from one to four, with band 1 being the highest. As the Situational Judgement subtest is a measure of non-cognitive attributes, it will be considered by universities in a different manner to the cognitive subtests.

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Hopefully, this blog will help you choose between MCAT vs UCAT! Want to study medicine abroad? Our Leverage Edu experts will provide you with end-to-end assistance starting from your university application to the time you reach your university and commence your studies. Call us at 1800572000 to book a FREE 30-minutes counseling session today.