UKCAT TIP: Amount of Time To Prepare for Each Subtest

Time for each UKCAT subtest

I was recently asked by a reader how much time should be spent on each subtest. You need to think about time as a resource, spending the same amount of time preparing for each subtest is not a great idea. Instead, identify your weakest subtest and spend most of your time practising it. If you spend hours working on an area you’re already good at, you may improve your performance from 800 to 850, a 6.25 percent increase but if you spend the same number of hours working on an area you’re not so good at, you may improve your score from 400 to 600, a 50 percent increase.


Once I identified verbal reasoning as my weakest subtest I spent most of the time improving my skill. I spent roughly 25 hours preparing for the verbal reasoning and about 5 hours on Abstract Reasoning, which was my strongest subtest. That is 5 times preparation time on my weakest subtest. The table below shows a full breakdown of my preparation for all 4 subtests.

Subtest Strength Average Time Allocated To Prepare (Hours)
Verbal Reasoning Weakest 25
Quantitative Reasoning 2nd Weakest 15
*Decision Analysis 2nd Strongest 10
Abstract Reasoning Strongest 5

Notice the less amount of preparation on the more confident  subtests. Please note that the Decision Analysis subtest no longer features in the UKCAT test, it has been replaced with the Decision Making Subtest which will not contribute to the overall score for 2016 candidates, universities will not get a score for this subtest – you can refer to the UKCAT website for further details. I would recommend preparing for Decision Maling but making it the least priority.

The UKCAT recommends spending around 21-30 hours in preparation for the UKCAT. This is the amount of preparation done by the highest scoring respondents to their surveys.

Take the time to identify your weakest subtest first, it is the most important step.  You can learn the technique I used to identify my weakness and the entire preparation strategy I used in achieving a UKCAT score in the 90th percentile in my ebook for only £2.99.  




About theukcatblog 117 Articles

My name is Michael and I’m a Pharmacology graduate from the University of Manchester, I was able to improve my UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) score from 2400 to 2840 in 3 months and get offered a place at Warwick’s graduate-entry medical programme.

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