A comparison of the United Kingdom clinical aptitude test (UK-CAT) with a traditional admission selection process

Med Teach. 2009 Nov;31(11):1018-23. doi: 10.3109/01421590802520923.


Background: The United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UK-CAT) was introduced for the purpose of student selection by a consortium of 23 UK University Medical and Dental Schools, including the University of Aberdeen in 2006.

Aim: To compare candidate performance on UK-CAT with local medical student selection outcome.

Method: We compared the outcomes of all applicants to Medicine, University of Aberdeen (UoA), in 2006 who undertook the UK-CAT. The candidates were selected into one of five outcomes (academic reject, reject following assessment, reject following interview, reserve list or offer). The candidate performance in the UK-CAT was compared to candidate performance on the UoA selection.

Results: Data are reported on 1307 (85.0%) students who applied to UoA in 2006 and undertook the UK-CAT. Total UK-CAT scores were significantly correlated with local selection scores. However, of 314 students offered a place following the conventional selection process, only 101 were also in the highest scoring 318 on the UK-CAT.

Conclusions: Results from this study indicate that UK-CAT scores show weak correlation with success in our medical admissions process. It appears therefore that the UK-CAT examines different traits compared to our selection process. Further work is required to establish which better predicts success as an undergraduate or as a doctor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aptitude Tests*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • School Admission Criteria*
  • Schools, Medical
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult