How to Apply for Medicine at Auckland University

How to Apply for Medicine at Auckland University

6 months ago by Chris

Auckland University is a wonderful medical school offering a high quality medical degree. The process for entry is lengthy and can seem daunting at times. The aim of this blog is to help you understand the process for applying to medicine at Auckland University, including how your application will be assessed, what you need to do and relevant deadlines. 

High school students must complete a year of university studies before they can apply to study medicine at Auckland University. The two first year degree options are health sciences and biomedical science.


Criteria for entry into second year

As an undergraduate aiming to study medicine at Auckland university, it is essential that you focus on a set of four core papers (four of the eight units that you will study). These core papers, along with the results of your UCAT (a unique and unconventional exam), and your interview, will all be combined into one score. Applicants will be ranked by this score, and the highest scorers will enter medical school as a second-year student.

Each of the three contributing elements hold a different weight: Core GPA (60%, i.e. 15% per paper), UCAT (15%) and MMI interview (25%).

With such a high emphasis on your GPA, you should prepare for a successful first year of university by studying certain subjects at high school. While there are no official subject requirements, Chemistry (as well as Physics and Biology) will provide valuable knowledge that could contribute to a higher GPA. Advice on how to prepare for these core papers is outlined in our blog.


Applying to First Year

The official entry-level requirements for undergraduate students differ slightly depending on your course. The following table describes the minimum scores needed to gain entry into each Auckland university pre-med course. Acceptance is guaranteed if you meet these requirements. 

Curriculum BSc BHSc
NCEA 280 250
CIE 310 300
IB 33 33
ATAR (Australian students) 90 90


You will also need to complete the DELNA at Auckland University, or the Health Sciences Diagnostic English test at Otago University. These are to ensure your English ability is adequate to study, or alternatively whether you will need assistance. These tests are not designed to gatekeep students, but to ensure you obtain the best education, so don’t stress about these assessments.

You should apply to your first year of university via the Auckland University website. You can apply as soon as you like, typically around September before the year you want to study. Try to apply no later than the end of December, as some General Education courses will fill up quickly preventing you from enrolling in your first choice. Apply either as a Bachelor of Science majoring in biomedical science, or in Health Science depending on what interests you more. Biomedical Science is more science focused, whereas Health Science has more of a population health focus.

The university will contact you as you get closer to the start of the semester, with details on how to enroll. This process is completed through the Auckland University website. Enrolling as a pre-med student is very simple. The University provides “cohorts”, a list of possible timetables with the courses you need to take. Your task is to choose a General Education (Gen Ed) paper that interests you, and find a cohort that has space in its timetable for the classes in that Gen Ed. 

Gen Ed papers do not count towards the GPA used to allocate places in medical school, so you only need to pass this paper. Past students recommend introductory language papers in a language that you have never studied before. Māori is an excellent option for any New Zealand doctor, as it will broaden your cultural competence. A Science Gen Ed is likely to be easy for anybody in pre-med, but you can get a lot out of a Gen Ed paper unrelated to your degree. Some of the options like LAW 121G are very difficult and time consuming to pass. These should be avoided.


Content of First Year

Your first year of pre-med includes eight papers, four of which are core papers. You must enroll as a full-time student meaning that you take all of these papers within the same year.

The core papers, regardless of your degree, are:

  • BIOSCI 107 - Foundations of Biological Science
  • CHEM 110 - Chemistry of Life Science
  • POPLHLTH 111 - Population Health
  • MEDSCI 142 - Foundations of Medical Science

For an overview of each of the papers, please see our blog.

While both biomedical science and health science students sit the same core papers, you will take a slightly different selection of papers in the second semester based on your choice. You should choose the options best suited to your strengths. You can read more about specific papers on the Auckland university website. 

To be invited to an interview, you’ll need a GPA of 6 (B+) across all 8 papers, and you must not have failed any papers. Make sure you choose a good General Education paper, to ensure you keep your GPA high.  


UCAT & Interview 

To apply for medicine at Auckland university, you must also sit and succeed in UCAT. The UCAT testing period runs from July to mid-August. For first year students, it is best sat in the mid-semester break of semester one. Although it only counts for 15% of your application, it’s often used to differentiate between students who have achieved a similar GPA. It is a difficult and unconventional exam that requires a completely different type of preparation strategy. 

The five subtests are UCAT Verbal Reasoning, UCAT Decision Making, UCAT Quantitative Reasoning, UCAT Abstract Reasoning and UCAT Situational Judgement. Auckland University considers all five UCAT sections when scoring students. 

Unlike other exams you’ve been accustomed to, the UCAT is not a matter of reading, understanding and remembering information. It focuses on skills and aptitude. UCAT is also a highly time-pressured test that initially seems daunting. However, with the right strategy and practice, the UCAT exam can be mastered. 

Around the end of semester two, approximately 400 students will be invited for an interview. This is the final part of your application, and makes up 25% of the final score. Many students that assume they have the confidence to impress the panels often fall short because they lack the right strategy, and fail to understand the university’s priorities. Auckland university is looking for certain qualities. Knowing what these are can make the difference between admission and disappointment. The Auckland university interview is in MMI (multiple mini interview) format, and encompasses 8 stations which assess specific skills. These skills include: 

  • Fluency in English and communication skills
  • Resilience and adaptability
  • Commitment to learning and reflection
  • Ability to lead and work in groups
  • Awareness of the nature of the health profession
  • A commitment to the study and practice of health care
  • Empathy, sensitivity, and enthusiasm
  • Social responsibility
  • Commitment to inclusivity and equity


Entrance Schemes

Auckland medical school allocates approximately 120 of the 280 available seats to General Applicants every year. Last year, 80 of these went to first year general applicants, and 40 to postgraduate applicants. It is highly recommended to see if you are eligible for other entrance schemes, such as the Māori and Pacific Island student seats, as it can be an excellent way to improve your chances of admission. New Zealand’s health workforce for decades has not looked like its people. These entrance schemes help ensure equity in the admissions process. 


Medicine offers

There will come a time when your entire application for second year is complete. Your core GPA, your UCAT score, and your interview score will all be combined and ranked against other students. Late in December invitations to medicine are released. It is not over if you are not offered a place! You can apply again in a few years’ time if you complete a full bachelor’s degree at the university. 

If you are passionate about medicine it will happen for you, no matter how long it takes. 


Written by Thomas, a past MedEntry student who scored 99th percentile in UCAT and is currently studying medicine at Auckland University. 


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