UCAT Preparation Shouldn't Cost A Fortune.

This isn't a controversial claim, so why is effective UCAT preparation support so expensive?
Let's explore it through our diagnosis.

Like thousands of students each year searching for UCAT support, you’re probably wondering:

“If I choose a higher priced UCAT course, will it maximise my UCAT score?”

The short answer is, usually,  No

Some of you may think ‘that’s good enough for me’ (our summary can be found here) but we medics want the evidence, so here’s our diagnosis for why effective UCAT preparation shouldn’t cost a fortune and why we provide full access to our UCAT.Ninja platform for as little as £1.

Contents Menu:

Click on an icon below to take you through our diagnosis or just read on.

UCAT Ninja Logo

Let’s begin this diagnosis by taking the history of UCAT preparation.

History taking is an essential component in making a diagnosis. This allows the delivery of high-quality care. We need to look at the history to develop a strong understanding of what the problems are.

Over the last few years, we have seen a rise in the popularity of online UCAT platforms.

Why is this?

There are now over 30 UCAT medical schools in the UK with some placing greater importance on a higher UCAT score like Glasgow Uni. As the majority of medical applicants achieve excellent school grades, the UCAT helps admissions tutors to differentiate between the best of the best, so scoring highly can often mean the difference between getting an offer or not. 

If you’re at all familiar with the UCAT, you’ll know that there is only so much traditional revision you can do for it (staring at Abstract Reasoning patterns in a textbook will only get you so far). Because of the nature of the test, actual practice through practice questions is a must to ensure success. Official UCAT practice materials are few and far between, so it is down to  

Platforms, like ours, are here to support the next generation of medics to score well on the UCAT and BMAT and receive their dream offer. We remember how amazing it felt when we received our Medicine offers so we strive to help others achieve this too.

ali abdaal profile picture

Hi, my name is Ali Abdaal, I am the co-founder of 6med and my friends and I started 6med in 2013 because when we applied for med school, we found that the preparation platforms were wickedly expensive and completely ineffective. When medical applicants from our school started asking us for help with their own applications, we realised we could do something about the lack of UCAT tutelage, and do it properly!

Since 2013, we have supported over 10,000 students with their Medicine applications and we are extremely proud that 93% of the students that have worked with us over the years have got their Medicine offer!

Ali and his brother coded the UCAT.Ninja and BMAT.Ninja platforms on their kitchen table which have since become a roaring success. Last year, BMAT.Ninja was used by 2 in 3 Medicine applicants! Our Ninja platforms have helped students who can’t attend physical courses to prepare effectively and be more confident about their medical school application.

We love that there are lots of options out there for student UCAT support but this unfortunately means that the importance of certain aspects of preparation has become lost and confused. We have noticed a huge shift in student perceptions to the belief that UCAT preparation support should cost £60+. This is far from true which is where our research comes in.

Studying icon

Get instant access to UCAT.Ninja for a minimum of £10 and watch your UCAT score skyrocket.

UCAT Ninja makes UCAT preparation as painless as it can be and doesn’t break the bank. Crafted by our team of medical students, our online UCAT platform teaches you all the best techniques for aceing the 5 sections and takes you through 25,000 practice questions and 6 full mock exams to maximise your score for as little as £10.

UCAT Ninja Logo

The next step in a diagnosis is to perform a physical examination. 

Here are the vital signs:

A physical examination is used to examine the general status, check for any issues and keep track of any changes to determine if further tests are needed. We will do this by taking the vital signs of UCAT preparation data.

 The first vital sign we’ll measure is the number of UCAT questions in 2022.

UCAT question bank comparison
Figure 1. shows the average number of questions completed by students in 2020 compared to the questions available in popular question banks.

In 2022, the Medify question bank had 20,000 UCAT questions and UCAT.Ninja had 4,000 UCAT questions. Other UCAT question banks also did not hit 20,000 practice questions, meaning Medify was seemingly the best value option. However did the amount of questions justify the price?

Our data shows that in 2020, 90% of UCAT.Ninja students completed up to 900 questions. This means that 90% of students might only complete 4.5% of Medify’s questions and 22.5% of UCAT.Ninja’s questions. More importantly, 3,100 UCAT.Ninja questions were, therefore, unanswered by 90% of students and over 19,000 for Medify!

The second vital sign we’ll measure is correct UCAT answers compared to the number of UCAT questions students complete.

Correct UCAT answers and number of questions
Figure 2. shows the correlation between percentage of correct UCAT answers with the number of questions completed using 2020 UCAT Ninja data.

Figure 2. shows that there is a loose correlation between correct answers and the number of questions completed.

As mentioned in the previous vital sign, 90% of students complete up to 900 questions. Figure 2. shows that completing 900 questions would create an increase in correct answers of 6% (58-64%). For a student who is scoring 600 on the UCAT, this would result in a score lift from 600 to 636, which is not significant.

For a student looking to increase their score by 60 points, they would need to go through around 1,500 questions which is a 10% increase from the baseline of 58%.

To receive a high UCAT score of 750, a student would need to increase their correct answers by 25% from the baseline of 58% which would roughly equate to 3,750 questions. 

Therefore, the data shows that the more questions completed leads to a minimal improvement in UCAT score as students have to complete a large number of questions to significantly increase their score. Also, as indicated earlier, up to 90% of students only complete 900 questions which roughly increases a UCAT score by an insignificant 36 points. This means, for UCAT practice, we should be looking more at the quality of preparation, something that is high for most major UCAT support services. However, does this high quality actually justify the hefty price tag? 

The third and final vital sign we will measure is how long students actually prepare for the UCAT.

Number of days students complete questions prepare ucat
Figure 3. shows the number of days students complete more than 20 questions from 2020 UCAT Ninja data.

The data shows that students tend to prepare for a short amount of time. Data used in Figure 3. reveals the average number of days that students prepare for the UCAT is 3 days, the median is 2 days and the mode is 1 day. Students therefore prepare for only a few days, rather than a few months for the test which is opposite to the advice of preparing early, and often!

Want to see the data for yourself? Obviously, we’ve had to reduce the amount of information here because of boring business reasons, but nevertheless – here it is!

Click the button below and go ahead.

UCAT Ninja Logo

Of course, it would not be a good diagnosis if we did not explore a differential diagnosis.

We need to consider more conditions to arrive at a correct diagnosis. So far, we have looked at the number of questions provided by a typical UCAT question bank and how much value the average applicant will get from that content, but what other factors are involved in an effective UCAT preparation platform?

What factors are involved in an effective UCAT preparation platform?

Firstly, practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. When it came to sitting the UCAT, we found that the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of the different UCAT sections and strategies to answer the questions was often overlooked.

Incidentally, this is one of the reasons we decided to run our Crash Courses!

To be able to effectively answer UCAT questions, you need to have a strong understanding of the principles of how to answer the UCAT questions. This is why we train our students in the UCAT.Ninja Training Temple. Students receive detailed revision notes for all sections of the UCAT including strategies and tips to improve their score on the test.

The quality of UCAT questions across all UCAT preparation platforms will differ greatly. In 2021, only 0.03% of UCAT.Ninja questions were flagged as wrong last year (around 120 of the 4,000 questions that were available then), due to our comprehensive UCAT question writing and quality control. Our UCAT questions stand out because of our extensive quality assurance so you can confidently prepare for the UCAT without the worry of any dodgy questions.

Pricing is also key. You’ll find lots of students on sites like Student Room and Reddit asking:

“Is a UCAT preparation platform worth the money?”

Let’s use the value equation:

The value Equation

When asking if it is worth the money, we need to look at the quality, service and also the features provided over the price of the platform. Remember that the quality, service and features are what will help increase your UCAT score, whatever the price is.

For many years now, a fair price for online UCAT preparation support has been thought to be around £60+ for a truly effective service, which is still a large investment no matter the quality of the service. Remember, practice questions are pretty much essential to the UCAT preparation process, so why are you paying so much for a service that you basically need? Because there hasn’t been any other choice other than scraping together what few resources are around. 

This doesn’t really seem fair and has the effect of locking out some people from proper UCAT support and resources. That is one of the biggest issues that we have diagnosed and is something that absolutely needs to be treated… 

UCAT Ninja Logo

Formulating and finalising our diagnosis.

As part of our clinical decision-making process, we will use the information gathered from taking the history, physical examinations and the differential diagnosis. It is time to bring everything together to make our final diagnosis for UCAT preparation.

From what we’ve seen, a large number of questions does not make a significant difference to a student’s UCAT score. 90% of students only answer up to 900 questions which increases a UCAT score by an insignificant 36 points. Students need to complete roughly 3,750 questions to achieve a high score of 750, which is a significant number of questions, especially as students complete around 40 questions a day. Therefore, a larger question bank is not effective at increasing your UCAT score. Do not burn out practising a billion questions!

With that being said, more content isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a bit redundant. Having a large collection of questions pretty much guarantees that you won’t run out, even if you’re in the top 10% of applicants who go above the 900-question average. However, the extra question isn’t really an excuse to break the bank on an expensive service.

mobile icon

Perhaps the £60+ value comes from the extra features included in these services? Practising questions is important to allow students to learn from mistakes, improve time management and avoid any test day surprises, but to score highly on the UCAT, students need to have a strong understanding of how to answer the questions. Most UCAT support platforms (including UCAT.Ninja) include some form of tutorial curriculum that teaches you about all of the different types of UCAT questions, but this doesn’t really justfy the price either. 

We believe you shouldn’t have to pay so much for these services because they offer the minimum level of support that is required to perform well in the UCAT. Practice questions are the most effective way to improve your performance and are basically a necessity for anyone who wants to stand a good chance of scoring well, so we feel it’s not fair to lock this support behind a £60+ paywall. 

So what are we doing about it? Our treatment is simple: full UCAT support that you can pay what you want for, starting from as little as £1… 

UCAT Ninja Logo

Consultation time, time to share our diagnosis.

It is important to bring everything together in a clear and concise manner, explain our key findings and provide actions for what is next.

We aimed to investigate why you shouldn’t be breaking the bank for effective UCAT preparation. From our research, we can conclude:

So from these findings, we can see that the problem is medicine applicants being charged too many questions they won’t use because there are no alternatives. The cure for this is simple, so we’ve gone ahead and administered it. 

For such an important part of your UCAT preparation journey, we believe applicants should be able to pay what they think their support is worth. If you feel it’s worth £1, then that’s what you pay. If you feel it’s worth more, then you have the option to pay as much or as little as you like. The power to control your preparation without financial barriers is now in your hands. And although you may not need them, we’ve bulked up our question bank to 20,000 questions too, just to make sure everyone’s preparation is catered for. 

studying icon

UCAT Ninja makes preparation as painless as it can be. Ever tried Duolingo and liked it? We have the UCAT equivalent right here. You can expect amazing and engaging features such as:

We know revising for the UCAT doesn’t beat laying on a beach in the sun… but it doesn’t need to be terrible either!

As we mentioned earlier, the key to UCAT success is also teaching techniques to help improve understanding and exam performance. That is why we include guides written by UCAT experts that take you through the best strategies to tackle the different UCAT sections. We don’t expand everything into a million words. We tell you exactly what you need to know in a simple, easy to digest format without the fluff. That’s a 6med promise.

UCAT sections icon

To clarify what we mean by ‘Pay What You Want, £1 doesn’t grant you access to a fraction of UCAT.Ninja’s overall content or a “UCAT.Ninja Lite”. £1 or more will grant any user the entirety of our resources and features. available to use for a full 12 months. If that doesn’t sound like a good deal already, then let’s quickly put it into perspective:  

UCAT Platform Comparison

So, we have completed our diagnosis and offered you our treatment. All that’s left for you to do now is to begin your UCAT preparation without breaking the bank!

Pay What You Want for your UCAT preparation and become a true UCAT Ninja:

Crafted with love by a team of Oxbridge medical students, UCAT Ninja teaches you everything you need to know for the UCAT. You’ll get full access for 12 months so you can work through 25,000 practice questions, fully worked solutions every step of the way, and 6 full mock exams to put your revision into practice, all for as little as £10.

Signing up for an account is quick and easy, and you can even begin your preparation for free so get started today!