Entry into Medicine in NZ: Two Crucial Facts

Entry into Medicine in NZ: Two Crucial Facts

8 months ago by Robert

Are you a New Zealand student wanting to study medicine or dentistry at a New Zealand university? Then it is important that you are aware of two key reasons why entry into medicine / dentistry in New Zealand is unique:

1. New Zealanders have the opportunity to sit UCAT in year 13 and then re-sit UCAT in the first year of their university degree (which has several benefits)

2. There is a limit to the number of times New Zealanders can apply to medicine.

This blog will discuss both of these points.


Sitting UCAT in Year 13

Students are eligible to sit UCAT in their final year of schooling. For Australians, this means they get one attempt at UCAT before they apply to study medicine. However, New Zealanders are fortunate to have the opportunity to be able to sit UCAT twice: once in year 13, and then again in first year of university.

If you are interested in pursuing medicine, you should seriously consider sitting UCAT in year 13, for many reasons.

You will become familiar with the UCAT exam

Sitting UCAT in year 13 is great practice. When you sit UCAT again in the first year of your university degree, you will already be familiar with the process and experience of sitting UCAT. This will greatly reduce your stress levels and increase your performance. You will already be well ahead of most others sitting UCAT for the first time. Performance in UCAT usually significantly increases on re-sits.


You can develop your skills over time

The UCAT tests skills that are best developed over a period of time. Musicians and athletes spend months and years training because they realise that practice is required to be good at what they do.  In a similar way, students who start earlier with their UCAT preparation do better in their exam. Preparing for and sitting UCAT in year 13 will provide a significant advantage to you over other candidates.


It will help you be strategic about where to apply

Students in year 13 intending to pursue medicine have to make a decision about whether to study first year at Auckland or Otago university. This can be a difficult decision for some students. One of the factors to consider when choosing where to study is what your UCAT score is likely to be. This is because UCAT is weighted more significantly at Auckland university compared to Otago university. If you perform well in UCAT, you can consider applying to Auckland university to boost your chances of obtaining entry into medicine.

By sitting UCAT in year 13, you will get an idea of how you are likely to score in UCAT, so it will help you make a better decision.


You open up the possibility to study in Australia

If you do well when you sit UCAT in year 13, you can consider applying to medicine directly as a school leaver in Australia. This significantly increases the chances of you obtaining entry into medicine, since there are many more medical schools in Australia. Furthermore, applying to Australia provides you with the opportunity to study medicine as an undergraduate, which has several advantages. Once you start a university degree, you are NOT eligible to apply to most medical schools in Australia. Note that as a New Zealand citizen you will pay the same fees as Australian students. You can read more about studying medicine in Australia in our blog.


You will gain skills beyond UCAT

The thinking skills that you learn by preparing for UCAT will help you get a better score in year 13 and in first year of university. UCAT preparation with MedEntry will help you learn important skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, psychometrics, study skills and stress management, that will boost your high school scores and GPA.

Note: UCAT scores are valid for one year only. Therefore, if you are applying to Auckland or Otago, you must re-sit the UCAT in first year of university.


Limits to applying for medicine

Unfortunately, unlike Australia and most other countries, in New Zealand there is a limit to the number of times you can apply for medicine. Both the University of Auckland and Otago have restrictions on how many times you can apply to the medical program.

For example:

  • At both Auckland and Otago University, you can apply for medicine only once after the first year of your university degree.
  • At Auckland University, you can apply to medicine only once as a graduate.
  • At Otago University, you can apply to medicine only once if you are applying in the alternative category.

With these limitations it is vital that you ensure that your academic grades and UCAT score are the best they can possibly be. Quality preparation for UCAT is essential to ensure that you do not miss out on your chance to study medicine.



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