Frequently Asked Questions

UCAT

How do I get into Medicine?

To get into medicine in most countries, you need to satisfy three criteria i.e., do well in:

  • Your high school/university;
  • a generic skills test and
  • an interview.

New Zealand and Australia are no different. In NZ the three criteria are: Grade Point Average, UCAT score and an interview. In Otago University there is no interview for Medicine, but there is for Dentistry. In most universities these three criteria are equally weighted.

Because medicine is the ONLY course where the government strictly controls the number of places, the demand is high which is one of the reasons why it is seen as an attractive profession.

The University Admissions page provides details on entry requirements for various universities.

The UCAT is a two hour test with 225 multiple choice questions in five subtests. UCAT is administered on computer throughout July and early August.

Verbal Reasoning with 44 questions: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a written form. 1 minute instruction section; 21 minutes test time

Decision Making with 29 questions: Assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information. 1 minute instruction section; 31 minutes test time

Quantitative Reasoning 36 questions: Assesses the ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form. 1 minute instruction section; 25 minutes test time

Abstract Reasoning 50 questions: Assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information. 1 minute instruction section; 12 minutes test time

Situational Judgement 66 questions: Measures the capacity to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them. 1 minute instruction section; 26 minutes test time.

UCAT is one of three criteria used by NZ and Australian universities in selecting students into high demand health related careers such as medicine and dentistry:

  • UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test)
  • First Year Uni GPA or NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) score
  • Interview performance (Panel or MMI)

 

At Auckland University, the above are weighted 15%, 60% and 25% respectively. At Otago, a certain UCAT threshold is required.

The above three criteria are weighted equally by most Australian universities.

Most countries in the world have three such criteria which need to be met to be accepted into medical school: Academic performance in school/university; a generic skills test (UCAT, MCAT, GAMSAT, UKCAT, BMAT etc); performance in an interview.

The UCAT is a two hour test. UCAT is administered in July. MedEntry offers UCAT Courses, UCAT Tuition, UCAT advice, UCAT preparation and UCAT Coaching.

MedEntry UCAT Prep has become synonymous with aptitude test success and is trusted by more students than all other providers combined. Performing well in the UCAT is critical for students wishing to enter medicine or other health science courses.

You will find information on the specific requirements of each university here.

For more information about the UCAT, you can view our free resources page.

The following universities require UCAT for medicine and/or dentistry:
 
  • University of Auckland
  • Otago University
  • University of Western Australia
  • Curtin University
  • Adelaide University
  • Flinders University
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Monash University
  • La Trobe University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of New England
  • Western Sydney University
  • University of Queensland
  • Griffith University
  • University of Tasmania

The universities listed in http://gemsas.edu.au/ plus Flinders, and Sydney don't require UCAT (they require GAMSAT).

James Cook University is the only one with school leaver entry for medicine that does not require UCAT. Reasons for this are mentioned in the blog: "Ranking of Australian/New Zealand Medical and Dental Schools".

All other universities offering medicine/dentistry require UCAT.

Both Auckland and Otago University require UCAT for entry into medicine. Please see the next question below which gives details of universities and courses which require UCAT.

You will need to sit the UCAT if you are interested in any of the following university courses:

  • University of Auckland (Medicine)
  • University of Otago (Medicine, Dental Surgery)

The following universities in Australia also need UCAT:

  • Monash University (Medicine)
  • University of Adelaide (Medicine, Dental Surgery)
  • University of Newcastle/University of New England (Medicine)
  • University of New South Wales (Medicine)
  • University of Western Sydney (Medicine)
  • University of Queensland (Medicine - conditional entry, Dental Science)
  • University of Tasmania (Medicine)
  • University of Western Australia (Medicine, Dentistry)
  • Curtin University (Medicine)
  • Griffith University (Dentistry)
  • Charles Sturt University (Medicine, Dentistry)
  • Flinders University (Clinical Sciences/Medicine)
  • La Trobe University (Dental Science)

In New Zealand and Australia, there is increasing competition to get into medicine and dentistry meaning that the UCAT cutoffs to be invited for an interview is increasing. High-quality preparation with the right online learning platform and teaching will help you achieve your UCAT potential. 

Even high achieving students can stumble in the UCAT: it is a very different exam than school/uni and requires a different skillset. Some students with perfect high school / university scores have missed out on a place in medicine and related courses due to their low UCAT scores. In some cases, your UCAT score is more important than your academic scores.

An all-too-common fallacy about preparing for UCAT is that all you need to do is 'familiarise' yourself with the test by doing some practice questions. That's like saying the way to become a great basketball player is to familiarise yourself with a basketball court and practice taking a few shots. The UCAT is a skills-based test: you cannot ‘cram’ information the night before. You have to overlearn the strategies to solve UCAT style problems so that thinking becomes automatic and fast.

  1. It will improve your UCAT score and hence enhance the probability of getting a place in medical school
  2. Even if you are 'naturally' proficient at such tests, it will further improve your score. Even in the 99th percentile there is a massive range of scores. Getting a top score in the 99th percentile will not only lead to offers from several medical schools (there are about 15 medical schools you can apply to, in Australia: so you can choose the best one for you), it is also likely to lead to scholarship offers
  3. MedEntry UCAT Prep provides:  1.Training in foundational skills which are tested in UCAT (critical/logical thinking, problem solving, decision making, interpersonal skills etc).  2.Practice in a simulated test environment with feedback.  3.Test taking strategy. These skills are also useful for your school/uni exams. Hence those who use MedEntry's services end up getting better Year-13/GPA scores than those who do not.
  4. The foundational skills mentioned above are also the skills employers seek in their employees in any career (called 21st century skills). These skills are far more useful in life than 'knowledge-specific' subjects that you learn at school/uni.

UCAT preparation at any time is better than no preparation at all.

When to start your preparation depends on several factors such as your level of motivation, the UCAT score you hope to achieve, the medical school you aim to get into, your current level of generic skills etc.

About 47% of our students start their UCAT preparation at the beginning of their first year of university; 19% begin before their first year of university (in Year 13); and 34% commence their preparation around April or later in their first year of university.

What is important is not when you start, but how intensely and consistently you prepare, as well as the quality of the resources you use for UCAT preparation.

The following blog explores this issue in more detail:

Why 6 weeks preparation isn't enough for UCAT

Anyone in Year 12 or lower levels are NOT permitted to sit the UCAT. 

Everyone else can sit the UCAT. 

This means, anyone who is in final year of high school (Y13) can sit the UCAT.  

Those who have completed high school, in gap year, studying at university, graduates, postgraduates can also sit the UCAT.

Some universities require you to sit GAMSAT if you have completed a degree.

However, some universties require you to sit UCAT even if you have completed or in the process of studying/obtaining/completed a degree.

Such universities are: University of Auckland, University of Otago, University of Newcastle, University of Western Sydney, and University of New England. University of New South Wales, Curtin University and University of Tasmania may also permit entry to graduates with a UCAT score. 

University of Adelaide requires UCAT if you have completed one or two years of university at their university.

The requirements for such 'non-standard' entry varies from time to time and you are advised to check each university website for the latest information.

New Zealand students assume that they must be in first year of a prescribed course to apply to medicine: its true ONLY if you are apply to NZ med schools. If you intend to apply to Australian medical schools, you can be in Year 13, doing ANY degree at uni, in ANY year at uni, graduate, postgrad etc.

Some Australian universities require you to sit GAMSAT if you have completed a degree. However, some universties require you to sit UCAT even if you have completed or in the process of studying/obtaining/completed a degree.

Such universities are: University of Newcastle, University of Western Sydney, University of New England, University of Auckland, University of Otago. University of New South Wales, Curtin University and University of Tasmania may also permit entry to uni students/graduates with a UCAT score. 

University of Adelaide requires UCAT if you have completed one or two years of university at their university. James cook University does not require UCAT whether you are a school leaver, at uni, graduate or postgrad.

The requirements for such 'non-standard' entry varies from time to time and you are advised to check each university website for the latest information.

The UCAT runs throughout July and into early August.

When you register, you will have a choice of testing dates and times. You can choose a date/time that suits you.

The sooner you register, the more likely it is that you have a wider range of dates to choose from.

If you have not been successful the first time you sit the UCAT, you can re-sit it without being penalised. In fact you can resit the test ANY number of times as long as it isn't in a single year. You can only sit in Year 13 or thereafter (ie not in Year 12).

Please note that UCAT scores are valid for one year only. Therefore if you are applying to Auckland or Otago, you must also sit the UCAT in the first year.

Keep in mind that both Auckland University and Otago University allow only one attempt at applying for medicine after the first year of your undergraduate degree. Therefore, UCAT preparation is essential to ensure success.

Please also read the FAQ: When can I sit the UCAT?

Bookings open on the Pearson VUE website from 1 March 2022.

To sit UCAT, you will need to complete the two-step registration process (Step 1: create Pearson VUE account; Step 2: select appropriate date and venue) to secure your UCAT test day.

https://www.ucat.edu.au/ucat-anz/ucat-anz-2022/

You first need to create an account at:

https://wsr.pearsonvue.com/testtaker/profile/create/SignUp/UMAT

You can then book a test date by signing in at:

https://wsr.pearsonvue.com/testtaker/signin/SignInPage.htm?clientCode=UMAT

Test allocations are available on a first-come, first-served basis - popular dates can get booked quickly - so you need to book as soon as possible to get your ideal test date.

 

Please note that enrolling with MedEntry course does not represent or include an application to sit the UCAT.

The registration fee is $305.

If you are eligible for a concession, the registration fee is $199 (Australia only).

If you are sitting UCAT outside Australia and New Zealand, the fee is $380.

If you miss the booking deadline above, late bookings are accepted until 31 May 2022 and incur an additional late booking fee of $85.

If you wish to cancel your exam and receive a refund you will need to cancel your test through your online Pearson VUE account before the deadlineThere is a fee that will automatically be deducted from your refund. If you miss the deadline you will not be refunded.

Many parents and students report difficulty of getting in touch with Pearson Vue, so your experience is not unusual. Their call centre staff may not understand your problem due to communication problems or may be unable to assist immediately.

The best option is to email them at: https://www.ucat.edu.au/contact-us-form

You can also try calling them:

  • In New Zealand phone:  0800 451 260
  • In Australia phone:  1800 512 320
  • UK Head Office phone: 0011-44-161-855-7397

You can reschedule your test through your Pearson VUE account before the late booking deadlineAfter this date you will need to contact Pearson VUE Customer Services to have your booking changed. Rescheduling is dependent on availability and in some instances you may need to travel to another location.

Graduate entry route in NZ requires you to resit UCAT after your degree, but if you intend to apply to Australia, you will need to sit the GAMSAT.

For a simple comparison between UCAT and GAMSAT, please read this blog:

UCAT vs GAMSAT

The graduate medicine entry route requires that you complete a degree first before applying for Medicine. This means studying hard for an additional 3 or 4 years (and paying the fees), to maintain high grades with no guarantee of getting into Medicine. So you will have exams for at least 7 years: three years of first degree and 4 years of condensed medical degree. Undergrad medicine, for eg at Monash, is far less stressful because in the first year they ease you in, and in final year you are working as an unpaid intern (so no exams).

You also need to sit a test called the GAMSAT, which is a six hour test (compare this with UCAT which is a two hour test) as well as doing well in the interview. The preparation courses for GAMSAT are also far more expensive, in the range of $1500 plus.

The GAMSAT has been described by most people as ‘the most horrible thing I've ever had to do in my life’. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if you do a Biomedicine or Biosciences degree, you will automatically be offered a place in Medicine, as some universities misleadingly make you believe. If you miss out on a place in Medicine, you may end up with a degree that is not useful for your future, and a waste of several years of your life.

The median age of students entering graduate medical programs in Australia is 25.4 years. By that age, you would have completed your medical degree and probably working as a Registrar in your chosen specialty if you choose the Year 12 entry (UCAT) route. Imagine entering medical school at 25 via graduate entry, then trying to study for the specialist training exams in your early thirties with a family to care for!

Further, when you apply through the graduate entry pathway, you can only apply to one university (with upto 6 preferences) and you will be interviewed only by one university. The universities have colluded to make it this way, so that it is less work for them and easier for them to select students (although it imposes harsh restrictions on aspiring doctors).

Some people think universities are education oriented organisations, but in reality they are massive businesses with annual income of each university around two billion dollars - they earn about $30,000 per year of study at university for each student they enrol (about $10,000 from you, and the rest from the government). This means that the longer you study at university, the better it is for them. This is the reason why some universities are moving towards graduate-entry medical programs. It is to increase universities' income, not because it is good for you! Furthermore, universities are prohibited from charging full fee for undergraduate medicine, but they can charge full fee for graduate medicine!

With the higher debts of graduate entry and the uncertainty of whether you will get into medicine, universities will be laughing all the way to the Bank, but you will end up in the classic wheel of borrowing to pay for a degree to get a job to pay off what you borrowed (if you don't get into medicine).

Some people feel that they want to go to so-called "prestigious" universities (eg. Sydney University) which offer only graduate medicine. However, unlike other disciplines such as law, in medicine it does not matter which university you graduate from.

Perhaps 15 years ago, when GAMSAT was new, it was easier than UCAT but now most medical students who sat both tests claim GAMSAT is harder. GAMSAT is getting much harder for several reasons (eg many professionals wanting to change careers, the 'late bloomers', many school leavers putting off the hard work and difficult decision).

Another important reason: It has been well documented that there is a general decline in psychometric test performance as a person advances in age. For eg, see "Socio-economic predictors of performance in the UCAT": Puddey and Mercer, BMC Medical education, 2013, 13:155. This shows that performance of candidates sitting UCAT between 16 years and 45 years consistently drops with age. So you are far better off sitting the test as early as possible (in year 12).

MedEntry provides many free sample questions as well as a free online half-exam.

For those who have purchased access to the MedEntry olp, you will have access to thousands of practice questions with full solutions.

In the MedEntry UCAT workshop, numerous past UCAT questions will be discussed.

When you purchase the MedEntry UCAT package, you will get numerous resources for you to use. You will also get additional recommended reading in the UCAT Courses. This is definitely much more than you need, if you use it properly. How to efficiently and effectively use these resources is also discussed in the UCAT Courses.

We also recommend that you use the UCAT Consortium's three practice exams (plus the additional 400 questions) that is provided for free on their website.

Apart from these, we do not recommend any other courses or programs. There are some websites spruiking UCAT products which are scams, run by bankrupts etc. They are also likely to mislead you.

For more information on the UCAT, you can visit the UCAT website at https://www.ucat.edu.au

We offer two main types of personalised tutoring:

  • Face-to-face UCAT tutoring: This is available exclusively as part of the Diamond package, and is available in all major cities and towns across Australia and New Zealand. If you are not enrolled in the Diamond Package and wish to access face to face UCAT tutoring, you can do so by upgrading to the Diamond Package.
  • Virtual UCAT tutoring: This service can be added on to a Platinum or Online package, and is available across Australia, New Zealand and the world

You will receive a total of ten one hour sessions of one-on-one tutoring. Further UCAT tuition sessions can be arranged at additional cost. UCAT tutors will also be available for support via phone and email between sessions. The location and exact timing of the UCAT tutoring is negotiable between you and your UCAT tutor.

All our UCAT tutors have performed exceptionally well in UCAT, interviews and school and have been trained by MedEntry.

No.

If you enter medicine through the school leaver entry pathway, you can start studying medicine straight after Year 12. Such program is far better than doing a degree first, for several reasons.

More than half the medical school places in Australia are allocated for such school leaver entry pathway.

You can sit the UCAT in your final year of schooling (year 13) and any number of times thereafter. Many students and parents mistakenly believe that they can only sit UCAT once and only in first year of university. They are misled by Auckland and Otago unis which tell you that you need to sit the test in the first year of uni because they don't want you to gain a competitive advantage over other students.

MedEntry suggests that all students who are interested in pursuing medicine sit UCAT as early as possible (in year 13), for many reasons.

  1. Sitting UCAT in year 13 is great practice for you. 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 ahead of others. Performance generally improves on re-sits (this competitive advantage is generally not available to Australian students). Remember that both Auckland and Otago University allow only one attempt at applying for medicine after the first year of your university degree (but remember there is no limit of the number of attempts at UCAT). Therefore, doing well in UCAT is essential.
  2. UCAT tests skills that need to be developed over a period of time. Students who start earlier with their preparation do better in UCAT. UCAT preparation will also boost your year 13 school performance and your university GPA by enhancing your thinking skills.
  3. If you do well when you sit UCAT in year 13, you can apply for an undergraduate medical degree in Australia. There are many benefits to studying medicine as an undergraduate. However, once you start a university degree, you are NOT eligible to apply to most medical schools in Australia.
  4. Students in Y13 intending to pursue medicine have to make a decision about whether to start at Auckland or Otago university. One of the factors to consider is what your UCAT score is likely to be (because they are weighted differently at these universities). By sitting UCAT, you will get an idea of this, so will help you make a better decision.
  5. The thinking skills that you learn by preparing for UCAT will help you get a better score in Year 13. Further, most First Year university exams are MCQ type (Multiple Choice Questions). You will learn the psychometrics of how such questions are designed and marked, so you will be able to do much better in first year university as well, enhancing your GPA.

Please also read the FAQ: Can I sit the UCAT more than once?

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