How do I get into Medicine?
To get into medicine in most countries, you need to satisfy three criteria ie., do well in:
1. your high school/university;
2. a generic skills test and
3. an interview.
Australia is no different. In Australia the three criteria are: ATAR (GPA if at university), UCAT and an interview. 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.
A more detailed breakdown of the admissions process can be read here
The UCAT is a two hour test with 233 multiple choice questions in five subtests. UCAT is administered on computer in July.
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; 24 minutes test time
Abstract Reasoning 55 questions: Assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information. 1 minute instruction section; 13 minutes test time
Situational Judgement 69 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 most Australian and NZ universities in selecting students into high demand health related careers such as medicine and dentistry:
1. UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test)
2. ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank)
3. Interview performance (Panel or MMI)
The above three criteria are weighted equally by most 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.
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 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.
You will need to sit the UCAT if you are interested in any of the following university courses:
You also need to sit the UCAT if you wish to enter Medicine or Dentistry at the two universities in New Zealand (Auckland and Otago).
Yes! Even high achieving students stumble in the UCAT.
Some students with perfect year 12 scores (99.95) 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 year 12 score in securing a place in the health sciences.
Research shows training can significantly improve UCAT score by familiarizing you with the types of questions that will be asked and developing strategies to tackle them.
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.
Once upon a time, people were wrong. They thought that the automobile was an electric death-trap that would never replace the horse and carriage, computers were only for academic nerds, and people who used tuition were simply cheaters. Then, cars stopped exploding every time you started the engine, people realised that you could use computers for more than just calculating the digits of pi, and the 'cheaters' with the tuition... well, they started getting it. They got better grades, got into better Courses at Uni and just plain old got better. Times change, rules change.
Some people point not only to their own success, but also to the success of some others, as proof that UCAT Prep is unnecessary to get into medicine. Such arguments are spurious because they gloss over the obvious truth that certain people are more capable than others. Individuals succeeding without UCAT Prep simply don’t prove that everyone else can do the same, any more than Madonna’s success proves that everyone can become a star. Such individual achievements prove only that there are exceptional people who can overcome enormous obstacles and achieve their goals. The plain fact that many ordinary students have not achieved extraordinary results is pretty strong evidence that, for most of us, UCAT Prep can be a big help.
"Kids take prep courses to ace tests that are supposed to measure inborn aptitude," (page 100, Time Magazine, December 20, 2004).
There are three types of knowledge: Known Knowns; Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns. The people who don't prepare are in the last category. They don't know what they don't know!
People who are low on any scale, do not even know enough to recognize how much they are missing. People who are high on a scale, are deeply aware of how much they are missing, so they think they aren't really all that high. This can be about any skill, aptitude or talent. Many of us suffer from omission bias, ie., we prefer erring through inaction to erring through action, even though research shows errors of omission are costlier than errors of commission.
You might be familiar with the quote by Benjamin Franklin: "by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail". These words definitely ring true for the two-hour, gruelling marathon that is the UCAT.
Consider this story about the French marshal Louis Lyautey: when the marshal announced that he wished to plant a tree, his gardener responded that the tree would not reach full growth for a hundred years. “In that case,” replied Lyautey, “we have no time to lose. We must start to plant this afternoon." Students thinking of preparing for improvement in performance in UCAT have no time to lose. They must get started now.
So start preparing now!
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.
Please also read the FAQ: Does the MedEntry program really work?
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 63% of our students start their UCAT preparation at the beginning of Year 12; 18% begin before Year 12; and 19% commence their preparation around April or later in Year 12.
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:
Anyone in Year 11 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 (Y12) can sit the UCAT.
While you can't sit the UCAT before Y12, you can start preparing for UCAT before then (recommended).
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 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.
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 in subsequent years, but you may not sit it more than once a year.
Please note that UCAT scores are valid for one year only.
Bookings open on the Pearson VUE website from 1 March 2021.
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.
You first need to create an account at:
You can then book a test date by signing in at:
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 2021 and incur an additional late booking fee of $85.
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.
You can also try calling them:
This blog has useful information:
You can reschedule your test through your Pearson VUE account before the late booking deadline. After 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.