Frequently Asked Questions
Does MedEntry UCAT Prep help?
In 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 ATAR or GPA.
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.
You may find opinions expressed on forums and by some organisations that intense UCAT preparation may not help. Everyone is welcome to their opinion of course, and we agree that poor quality UCAT preparation does not help. That is why choosing high-quality, trusted preparation with a proven track record like MedEntry is important.
In addition, those who believe that UCAT preparation does not work often include:
- The UCAT Consortium and Pearson VUE, which administer UCAT and therefore have a vested interest in ensuring that students don't prepare, for several reasons (for example, their job becomes harder if students prepare; possibility of legal challenges).
- Universities, which also have a vested interest in claiming that UCAT and interview preparation may not help (which could be considered hypocritical, since universities coach students for aptitude tests and interviews at assessment centres for jobs).
- Individuals who may have done a poor quality preparation course and/or may not have done the work required and therefore may not have got into medicine.
- Individuals who may have done well in UCAT without preparation. Some of these students may have obtained an even higher score with good quality preparation (even in 99th percentile, there is high end, and low end of 99th percentile), which could have enabled them to gain a scholarship to study medicine, or placed them higher in terms of ranking meaning a lower ATAR or interview score was required to enter medicine.
- Much of the 'research' published showing UCAT Preparation may not help is done by those who are funded by test producers and they don't declare this conflict of interest.
But don't just take our word for it, check out the student testimonials about our program.
- Feedback statistics show that 99.1% of our students would recommend MedEntry’s services to their friends. Here at MedEntry UCAT Prep, we are result orientated.
- A survey of a random sample of students who have been through our full training program showed that 92% were offered interviews, and 88% were offered places in one or more medical schools.
- Evaluation by an independent statutory organisation, RDWA, carried out every year, has shown that students found MedEntry courses extremely useful.
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 Workshops.
We encourage you to attend the MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop. Many students from other cities, interstate, and overseas, attend our UCAT workshops because there are several benefits of attending. Our students come from all over the globe, from over 45 countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Dubai, UK, Canada etc.
But don't just take our word for it, check out the hundreds of glowing Google and Facebook reviews of our workshops posted by our happy and successful students. We have more and higher ratings than every university in Australia! MedEntry's global offices have over 3000 reviews at a star rating of 4.9+, far exceeding that of any university. Most often heard feedback: 'The best lecture I have ever attended'.
Three of the main benefits of the MedEntry UCAT workshop are:
- Learn strategies for approaching the UCAT questions
The study guides on the Online Learning Platform (OLP) do provide detailed approaches to different UCAT question types, but it is always more effective to be taught this information than simply to read it yourself – after all, according to the psychiatrist William Glasser, we learn 10% of what we read, but 50% of what we see and hear!
The UCAT workshop highlights what kind of approaches to questions are the most important, and what types of UCAT questions are the most common. This allows you to make the most of all the resources provided by MedEntry, and perform as well as possible on the UCAT. In evaluations, MedEntry students say that they either did not use the resources on the OLP, or did not know how to efficiently and effectively use them, until they attended a MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop.
Additionally, some inside knowledge and information that is not available elsewhere is provided at the UCAT workshop. You will also find that many of the skills that you learn at the UCAT workshop are transferrable, and useful for school and university study.
Attending a MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop provides motivation to perform well on the UCAT, as it can make the whole UCAT process feel clearer and more real.
You will also meet fellow students with similar interests and passions. This is a fantastic opportunity for developing your thinking and forming new friendships and study groups, as well as a great source of motivation.
Attending the MedEntry UCAT Workshop and the MedEntry weekly classes for UCAT is a unique opportunity for many reasons. Never before would you have attended a class where your peers are from all over Australia, New Zealand and the UK. This is also the only opportunity for you to check out your competition: motivated and able students from all over Australia & NZ. Remember that your scores on the live UCAT will be compared with this cohort.
Additionally, you will hear from current medical students about how they used MedEntry to obtain excellent scores on the UCAT, as well as what to expect from studying at university. It is an invaluable opportunity to first-hand tips from people who have gone through it all before, and to be able to ask any burning questions you might have about the UCAT or university!
The course aims to demonstrate the best principles and strategies needed to succeed in the UCAT. Students attending the workshop attempt short mini-tests in each UCAT section to give the students hands-on experience and allow the lecturer to clearly demonstrate the application of speed and accuracy techniques to each type of question found in the UCAT.
Further benefits of the MedEntry UCAT workshop include:
- Learn how to use the OLP efficiently and effectively
- Invest in your future by enhancing your thinking skills that will be useful throughout your career
- Interact with other like-minded students which will help develop your thinking skills
- Network with motivated and able students from various schools in your city, other states and overseas – many of whom will be your colleagues in medical school
- Discuss numerous past UCAT questions and efficient, effective and elegant ways of arriving at the answer
Attending a MedEntry UCAT Preparation Workshop is an invaluable opportunity that will allow you to achieve your best possible score on the UCAT.
Yes! Interviews are a crucial aspect of the selection process for entry into health science courses. In some universities, interviews are weighted at more than 50% of the total selection criteria. Most people focus on their ATAR scores, study for the UCAT but do not prepare for the interview. Hence we find students who have perfect ATAR (99.95) and perfect UCAT (99%), are not being offered a place medicine. Such people go to the interview thinking its just a 'chat'. Chat may be, but its the most important chat that will change the course of your life!
There are many reasons some people do not train for interviews. These include:
- being sucked in by the uni propaganda that you can't prepare (which is hypocritical since they train their graduates for job interviews)
- fear being put on the spot in the training sessions (better that you get used to it!)
- not knowing what they don't know
- when it comes to personality tests, we all think we are awesome
- thinking interview is just a chat
- varying levels of motivation
However, knowledge of the types of questions asked, coaching on interview technique and enhanced communication skills can dramatically improve your performance. You should not go into an interview unprepared or not having an understanding of what you will be asked. If you do, you will be at a competitive disadvantage compared to those who are prepared for the interview.
For most universities, your interview score will count for as much as your ATAR (33%). For some, its 40% and for some universities its much more important than your ATAR (interview score will contribute 80%) of your final ranking score. For two universties, interview score counts for 100%, once ATAR/UCAT thresholds are reached.
For one university, if you take a gap year, your interview score from previous year will be used: which means you get only one shot at interview! So doing well and obtaining the highest possible score in interview is of critical importance.
Even if you think you will get in without the training, there are several benefits of attending the MedEntry Interview training workshop. These include:
- The psychological and other principles learnt at the MedEntry Interview Training workshop will also be useful hroughout your life for other interviews (job interviews, Internship/Registrar interviews etc).
- Knowledge of the types of questions asked, the interview technique and enhanced communication skills can further your performance dramatically. You should not go into an interview unprepared or not having an understanding of what the interviewers are looking for, in your answers.
- Its the only opportunity you will ever get to benchmark your interview performance against your peers
- Its an opportunity to get feedback from experienced trainers, so you can improve further on your future interviews
- Your interview score and hence yor entry ranking will improve further (so you may get CSP rather than BMP place, be posted at city rather than rural campus, even be offered a scholarship if the ranking is high enough)
- You will never get honest feedback on your actual interview performance (for several reasons, including unis fearing being sued), so interview training is the only place to obtain honest and critical feedback
For a simple comparison between UCAT and GAMSAT, please read this blog:
"A difficult task postponed, becomes an impossible task later."
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 only three 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 a 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, which evetually comes from your taxes). 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 medical students who sat both tests claim GAMSAT involves more preparation. GAMSAT is getting harder for several reasons (eg many professionals wanting to change careers, the 'late bloomers', many school leavers putting off the hard work and the 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).
UCAT is a test of generic skills. Many studies have shown that preparation can improve performance in tests such as UCAT. Studies have even shown that intelligence is not fixed, and can be improved:
This graph shows the results of the same intelligence test given to the same people [one person per dot] at age 11 and again at age 90. There is a correlation of r= 0.54, shown by the grey summary line. This illustrates that intelligence, contrary to popular belief, can be improved (from "Intelligence' by Stuart Ritchie, p36).