So, you want to be a doctor? How to get into medicine in Australia

So, you want to be a doctor? How to get into medicine in Australia

9 months ago by Rob

Congratulations on your decision to pursue medicine as a career! Medicine is an interesting, valued and rewarding profession. The process of getting into medicine can be confusing, so here’s an introduction.


Criteria for getting into medicine

Unlike most other courses, getting into medicine doesn’t just require a high ATAR. Entry into medicine at most universities is based on three criteria:

  • ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank)
  • UCAT ANZ (University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand)
  • Interview (some universities also require a written application)

Each university differs slightly in how they go about selecting students for medicine, so it is important to research each university you are interested in to check what the criteria are and how they are weighted.

Also remember that some universities require specific pre-requisite subjects to be studied in your final year of high school (such as English, Chemistry or Maths), so make sure you check that you are studying the required subjects and are on track to achieve any minimum score that might be required. You can read more in our blog on prerequisite subjects.


The UCAT and preparing for it

The UCAT is a two-hour, computer-based test which assesses a range of mental abilities identified by universities as important to practicing in the fields of medicine and dentistry. It consists of five separately timed subtests which each contain a number of questions in a multiple-choice format:

  • UCAT Verbal Reasoning
  • UCAT Decision Making
  • UCAT Quantitative Reasoning
  • UCAT Abstract Reasoning
  • UCAT Situational Judgement

 The UCAT is a very difficult test. UCAT questions are completely different to those you will have encountered at school or university. The UCAT is highly time pressured, and the vast majority of students do not finish the test. It is a test requiring extreme concentration and quick-thinking skills.

The good news? It is possible to prepare for and do well in the UCAT. From our decades of experience, we know that the best way to prepare for the UCAT is to do a little bit of practice on a regular basis.

You can get started with MedEntry's free Diagnostic exam.


The interview and preparing for it

Most universities also use an interview to select students into medicine and dentistry. Interviews are as important, and in some cases more important, than UCAT score and ATAR when determining entry into medicine. Yet many students unfortunately do not prepare for them. We have heard of many instances of students who achieved an ATAR of 99.95 and UCAT score of 99, but failed to obtain an offer to study medicine because they performed poorly in their medical interview.

Each university differs in the structure, content and style of the medical interview. Therefore, it is essential that you familiarise yourself with the questions that you will be asked, and develop strategies to ensure you present your ‘best self’ to the medical interview panelists. MedEntry provides comprehensive interview preparation.


Applying for medicine

MedEntry recommends that students interested in medicine apply to more than one university (and ideally all universities for which they are eligible). This is because when interviews form part of the criteria for entry, there is always an element of subjectivity. Therefore, entry into one particular university cannot be guaranteed.

Students applying for medicine must register with their local state based academic authority, as well as interstate bodies (if applying for medicine in another state). Academic authorities include VTAC, UAC, SATAC, QTAC, TISC and the University of Tasmania. Registering with one academic body does not register you for other bodies.


Important dates

The entry process for medicine can be complex, and there are lots of important dates to keep in mind. A sample timeline is below (make sure you research the specific dates applicable for your year and your situation):



Start of March

Registrations for UCAT open

Mid - May

Deadline to register/book for UCAT

July to August



UCAT results sent to universities

Late September

Deadline for applying to state based academic authorities

October to January

Interview offers released*

November to January

Interviews conducted*


University offers released

*Dates vary depending on university

You can view this year's specific timeline here.

Remember that you are going to busy in your final year of schooling so it is important to be organised – note down important dates at the beginning of the year. This will help you avoid missing important deadlines!

More information regarding the medical entry process can be obtained from MedEntry's UCAT handbook.



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