Best UCAT Books (2019 updated)

ucat books

There are alot of UCAT books out there, thus the risk that you may waste money buying outdated books that may not be to the equivalent standard to what you can expect in the exam. As a result, we created this article to help you pick the right one for you.

In this article, you’ll learn which UCAT books are absolutely critical for your preparation, which books you can use to improve your score in the individual subtest, and which books you’ll need to avoid. More importantly, you’ll learn how to use these UCAT prep books for effective studying.

This guide is pretty detailed, so here are reference links you can use to jump directly to different parts of the article. That said, I recommend reading the whole guide if you can!

Best UCAT Books for Practice Questions
Best UCAT practice books by Subtest
Best UCAT book for Exam Strategies and techniques
Most Recommended UCAT Book by past candidates
Avoid buying these UCAT Books
How to pick the right UCAT book for you
How to use UCAT Books during preparation
Recap: Best UCAT book in Every Category

Medic Blog Disclaimer

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s move on to our list of UCAT books:

Best UCAT Books for Practice Questions

It is important to understand that all UCAT books that exist are published by commercial companies. Which means, they are not official practice material. Nonetheless, they can be extremely beneficial, and provide additional questions and advice to help prepare for the exam. In no particular order here are the best UCAT books for practice questions: 

Get Into Medical School – 1250 UKCAT Practice Questions, Third Edition

Get into medical school UKCAT book

Price: £12 – £15 (Amazon UK), $38 – $41 (Amazon AU), $25 – $30 (Amazon US)

The Get into Medical School – 1250 UKCAT Practice book by ISC Medical, is a popular book choice, The book starts off by discussing the UCAT and how it is marked. The authors then dive into the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) section, they cover the format and purpose of the QR section and provide techniques for passing the section. The authors include about 60 pages worth of practice questions (That is a lot!). The questions provide a good spectrum of difficulties that candidates could expect in the UCAT with detailed explanations for worked solutions.  

After this chapter, the authors cover the Abstract Reasoning (AR) Section in the same format with about 75 pages of AR practice questions. This book in my opinion is arguably the best book to prepare for the Abstract Reasoning section, it really covers every possible question type possible!

The Verbal Reasoning (VR) section is also covered comprehensively with about 69 pages worth of practice questions. Finally, the book also looks at the Situational Judgement (SJ) with about 38 pages worth of practice questions and helpful tips and techniques for answering SJ questions.

Pros

  • The book contains  over 1250 questions covering the Abstract reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making And Quantitative Reasoning Section.
  • It contains comprehensive, fully explained answers, tips and techniques.
  • It also includes a Mock Exam to stimulate the  live exam.

Cons

  • The questions in some of the sections are a lot harder than what you would actually face in the real exam – particularly the quantitative reasoning and abstract reasoning subtests. However that shouldn’t put you off, in most cases students find the actual test a lot easier.
  • There are limited tips, strategies and techniques recommended for each subtest.

Score Higher on the UCAT – 1500 UKCAT Questions, Fourth Edition

Socre Higher UCAT Book

Price: £15 – £20 (Amazon UK), $35 – $45 (Amazon AU), $25 – $30 (Amazon US)

The book is written by teachers and doctors from Kaplan Test Prep that have helped thousands of students prepare for the UCAT. The book starts off explaining the UCAT, its format, timing and how it is scored. They cover each subtest and the new Decision Making section. The initial chapter also proposes their key tips on how to get a high score in the UCAT, which is really insightful and made me realise the importance to improve strategy and pace.

The next chapter is a diagnostic test with questions to help identify your strengths and weaknesses before you begin to revise, the test covers verbal reasoning (VR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), Abstract Reasoning (AR), Decision Making (DM) and Situational Judgement (SJ). The book has chapters dedicated to each subtest of the UCAT with detailed examples, exercises, and timed practice sessions so that candidates can master the different question types. I also liked how the authors identified the common challenges specific to each subtest and proposed tips to overcome them which they encourage you to put into practice when attempting exercises. For example, managing  time in Verbal Reasoning using the keyword approach. The book offers many other helpful tips that are specific to each subtest.

The book also includes two full-length practice tests at the end  with detailed answers to review and mark yourself.

Pros

  • The book contains 1500 practice questions
  • A realistic mock online test
  • Two full-length practice tests
  • A personalised core report
  • Discount on their brand new UCAT Question Bank with additional 2000+ practice questions

Cons

  • Limited strategies and tips recommended for each subtest.

Ultimate UCAT Collection: Guide, Mock Papers and Solutions

Ultimate UCAT Collection

Price: £15 – £20 (Amazon UK), $40 – $50 (Amazon AU), $25 – $30 (Amazon US)

A three-in-one book collection from Uniadmissions. The 1250 question UKCAT guide  starts off by covering the basics and offering general advice on passing the exam. The third chapter dives into the verbal reasoning section of the exam, and provides about 40 pages of verbal reasoning practice questions as well as  key tips on tackling the subtest, this was really insightful. The next chapter after this was the Decision Making subtest, the authors were able do a good job in breaking down the subtest and provided practice questions that cover the different question types in the exam. The authors also cover the remaining sections – Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement in the same detail and provide practice questions and detailed worked explanations. The book offers very helpful time-saving techniques for each subtest. The UCAT papers (volume 1 and 2) both include 3 full mocks, that’s 6 in total. 

Please note: Each book in the collection can be bought individually.

Pro

  • The collection includes over 2500 practice questions
  • A lot of detailed examples and exercises for each subtest.
  • A lot of helpful time-saving techniques for each subtest

Cons

  • Limited tips and strategies recommended for each subtest

Best UCAT Practice Books By Subtest

The practice books covered above can be split by subtest, if you are looking to improve your skill on a specific section of the exam, find below the best UCAT books for each subtest. This was based on the quantity and quality of questions provided, we picked each category based on the spectrum of questions and how closely they resembled the exam. As well as, the level of depth provided in worked solutions.

Best UCAT Book For VR

Best UCAT Book For DM

Best UCAT Book For AR

Best UCAT Book For QR

Best UCAT Book For STJ

Best UCAT Books For Exam Strategies and techniques

Beyond the UCAT practice books covered above, you’ll likely need supplemental help on exam strategies and techniques for each subtest. Here, we discuss the best UCAT strategy books.

UCAT Study Guide –  200 Exam Strategies, tips and Preparation tactics, Second Edition

UCAT Study guide 2019 edition

Price: 2nd edition available from 1st June 2019

Not to toot our own horn, but toot. We created the first ever UCAT book focussed on solely exam strategies. The UCAT study guide is written by our founder, Michael O. Carter, who scored one of the highest UCAT scores in 2015. Since then he has helped thousands of students pass the exam through his blog. Michael created this book because he noticed that despite many students practising loads of UCAT questions they still scored poorly in the exam. The book guides you through identifying your weakness and improving your skills before test day. Includes over 200 proven exam strategies  and tips for each subtest, from pattern finding techniques for the Abstract Reasoning subtest to speed reading strategies for the verbal Reasoning. This guide has you covered. The new edition includes a full 30-day schedule to help structure your preparation and insert urgency. 

Pros

  • Step-by-step guide to prepare for the UCAT test
  • Over 200 proven exam strategies, tips and preparation advice (covering all five subtests) – 10X more than any other UCAT book
  • Detailed explanation of strategies with worked through solutions
  • Common Pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • Full 30-day Study Schedule
  • Exclusive content from the blog

Cons

  • The downside is that it contains no practice questions, which is expected since it is solely focussed on strategies and exam tactics.

Mastering the UKCAT, Second Edition

mastering the UKCAT

Price: The third edition will be available in 2019

The Mastering the UKCAT book takes you step-by-step through the proven techniques for each subtest in the exam. The authors do a great job at deconstruct all question types in the exam,  and highlight core strategies, common pitfalls, and top tips — as well as the tactics examiners use to trip you up. The book provides some practice questions, as well as techniques to ensure success, demonstrated through worked examples.

At the end of each section, there is ample practice questions for you to try, to implement what you have just learnt.

Pros

  • Works through proven exam techniques
  • Takes you systematically through worked examples
  • A lot of advice on common pitfalls and examiner tricks
  • Provides bite-sized chunks of information to make your preparation easy and accessible

Cons

  • Not many practice questions, which is expected as the book is not solely focused on practice questions

Every year we do a poll in our Facebook UCAT Study group (It’s free to join) and ask past candidates which UCAT practice book would they recommend to future candidates. The winner of last year’s poll…

Most Recommended UCAT Books

Avoid Buying these UCAT Books

Unlike earlier books mentioned, We recommend you DO NOT buy any of the books shown below – they are either older editions or outdated. Therefore, are not an equivalent standard to what you can expect in the exam.

UCAT books to avoid (1)

UCAT books to avoid (2)

How to Pick the Right UCAT Book For You

We do not recommend buying every book recommended in this article. We encourage you to vet any advice you get (including ours) before deciding on which book to get. Nonetheless here are some helpful tips to consider when making your choice:

#1. Number of Practice Questions

And that brings us to first understanding the number of practice questions included in a book. Obviously the more practice questions the better, right?  The best selling books all replicate the breadth and depth of the different types of questions that can be asked in the exam and cover the spectrum of difficulties as well. However, make sure to also take into account the ratio of practice questions. If you find the verbal reasoning section the hardest of the 5 subtests you would ideally want a practice book that contained more verbal questions (i.e a practice book with a higher ratio of verbal reasoning practice questions) so that you can practice more and improve your overall verbal skill. Make sure to recognise your weakest section (using the official practice tests) before picking a practice book, you want to select one with a higher ratio of practice questions for your weakest section.

#2. Number of Mock Exams

Mock exams are a great way to mimic the testing environment and further identify any area of improvement in time management and dealing with pressure. They also help give you an indication of what you a likely to score in the live tests. I recommend attempting at least 3 mock exams before test day. The more mock exams a book provides the better you’ll be able to gauge how you manage time our and handle the pressures of the exam.

#3. Detailed Explanations, Tips & Techniques

You will find yourself referring to answer rationales for items you either get wrong or find difficult.  in-depth and comprehensive explanations of the correct answers allow candidates fully understand the reason for why they were wrong and best books must provide fully explained tips and techniques to improve.There are practice books that offer better explanations for a particular subtest than others.  Have a look below for the best practice book for each subtest.

#4. Exam Strategies and tactics

Practising questions only familiarises you with the exam, what will give you an edge is honing the techniques and strategies that improve your accuracy and pace. The right preparation involves identifying your weakness and learning strategies to attempt each subtest.

Ultimately, we recommend picking   two books – a strategy book and a practice book with thousands of questions. The strategy book will give structure to your preparation and help in targeting weak points and developing your skills in each section of the UCAT, whilst the practice books will contain thousands of practice questions for you to practice and  implement techniques learned from the strategy book.

How to use UCAT books during Preparation

Practice books are arguably the most popular resources used to prepare for the exam. The major drawback with practice books is that they do not mimic the testing environment since the UCAT is a computer-administered test. Nonetheless, they are extremely beneficial to practice individual questions and further familiarise yourself with the different questions in the exam. Here is our advice on how to use UCAT books during prep…

Advice using UCAT books

Recap: The Best UCAT Book in Every Category

Here is our shortlist for the best UCAT books for the year, complete with links:

Best All-in-One UCAT Books

Best UCAT Book by Subtest

  • Verbal Reasoning – Score Higher on the UCAT: 1500 UCAT Questions
  • Decision Making – Ultimate UCAT Collection: 2500+ UCAT Questions
  • Abstract Reasoning – Get into Medical School: 1250 UKCAT Questions
  • Quantitative Reasoning – Get into Medical School: 1250 UKCAT Questions
  • Situationa Judgement – Ultimate UCAT Collection: 2500+ UCAT Questions

Best UCAT Book for Exam Strategies and techniques

  • UCAT Study Guide, Second Edition (Available soon)
  • Mastering the UCAT, third Edition (Available soon)