Australia Medical School Application & Admission Requirements: What you should know when applying
UAC Application Forms
If you’re getting ready to apply to medical school, you’re probably asking yourself, “where do I start?” The UAC applications is the first step and coupled with that, it’s extremely important for you to also apply directly to the university. This is because students can fall into the trap of applying via UAC alone. They often fail to realise that the medical schools they are applying to will not receive their applications until they have applied directly via each university website.
Choosing a University
The truth is every medical school has undergone an extensive qualification process and are all equally accredited to deliver a quality course in medicine or dentistry. Therefore, you should avoid getting hung up on the notion of only going to a well-known institution or university with an established brand. While you may want to consider key factors such as location, university teaching style, or facilities, a smart strategy for a good chance of entry is applying to as many universities as possible.
How ATAR & UCAT are considered by Medical Schools
The ATAR is a ranking of Year 12 results that measures each students’ overall academic achievement compared with all other final year students in Australia (excluding Queensland). The ATAR is a rank, and not a score out of 100. It allows tertiary institutions to compare the overall achievement of all students who have completed Year 12.
The UCAT (university clinical aptitude test), is the medical school admissions aptitude test which replaced the UMAT starting 2019. This test is a 2 hour computer based test made up of 5 sections. The test originated from the UK where it was previously known as the UKCAT (United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test). As a medical school applicant you will be aware that an admissions/aptitude test will be part of the process to get into medical school, however this is the first year the UCAT will be used as an entrance exam in Australia and New Zealand, so students will need to search more thoroughly for support with the test.
Try a free UCAT Practice Test
Different universities will vary in the way UCAT and ATAR scores are used. For example, some universities will issue interview offers based on the UCAT, and then will take ATAR / OP into consideration once it becomes available. Some will use both from the start - UCAT and ATAR. On average, each university gets roughly 3000 applications. Depending on the university, 500-600 students on average will receive an interview offer and about 150 undergraduate spots will be issued to students after the interviews.
Based on research from NIE (National Institute of Education), the following are the average ATAR scores required by universities.
- The University of Adelaide (Medicine, Dentistry & Oral health) – ATAR 90+
- Curtin University (Medicine) – ATAR 95+
- Monash University (Medicine) – ATAR 90+
- The University of Newcastle (JMP) (Medicine*) – ATAR 94.3 (91.4 rural apps.)
- UNSW (Medicine) - ATAR 96+ (2018 lowest was 91.45)
- The University of QLD (Medicine PRV & Dentistry) – ATAR 99+
- University of Tasmania (Medicine*) – ATAR 95+
- The University of Western Australia (Medicine & Dentistry) – ATAR 99+**
- Western Sydney University (Medicine) – ATAR 95.5 (93.5 or lower for WS)
- Charles Sturt University (Dentistry) – ATAR 93+
- James Cook University (Medicine & Dentistry) – ATAR 96+
- Bond University – ATAR and psychometric test (Medicine) – ATAR 96+
James Cook University & Bond University do not require the UCAT. For James Cook University, the application and interviews are weighted more heavily. Bond University requires that a psychometric test is taken.
Other universities use the UCAT alongside factors such as academic achievement and interview performance. The factor may be significant or may contribute a small amount to the final outcome. Some universities use the score (sometimes in addition to the above uses) to differentiate between candidates who have ‘scored’ equally at some point in the process. The UCAT score provides an additional way of ranking such candidates in order to decide who can proceed to the next stage.
Once your application has been reviewed, the universities will decide whether they should invite you to interview. This is the final stage of the application process, which university admissions teams rigorously assess, and so it’s a final stage which should be taken equally seriously. The medical schools format their interviews in the following ways:
- Panel Interview
- Semi-Structured Panel Interview
- MMI: Multiple Mini Interviews (the increasingly popular option)
Most of them usually stick to a set style, however they also have the right to change the format with very little or no notice at all. So students should keep an open mind when going to each of their interviews and prepare for the different styles.
Next steps to get you started
With this in mind, it’s important to apply strategically to medical school. The first tip is to apply to as many as possible and increase your chances of getting in! The next is to review those which require the UCAT. As most use this admissions test as an extra hurdle in the application process, it’s important to take this test seriously and to prepare as much as possible for it. You can access the free Online UCAT practice test and UCAT Question Bank Free Trial to familiarise yourself with this exam.