So you’re in Year 11 and thinking about pursuing a career in medicine. You’ve got great grades as well as the people skills to become a doctor, so there should be no problem getting in. Then you find out about the UMAT. You hear that it is a major obstruction to your journey, and only a select few are able to succeed in it. You hear about all the people who have done poorly despite studying so hard. You may even hear about the people who passed that didn’t do much work.
It’s very easy to fall into the hysteria of the UMAT, but with this guide you’ll have enough balanced information to start your UMAT journey.
The UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test) is a test written by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research), the results of which can be used by Universities to determine a student’s accessibility to a certain course. For most medicine courses, UMAT results will be used in conjunction with your ATAR. If these two scores are high enough you will be offered an interview. Only after overcoming these three challenges will you score yourself a career in medicine. It can be very difficult to achieve a high ATAR score and a high UMAT score, and many of the skills you need to succeed in both UMAT and interviews need to be developed over a period of time. So it is best to start in Year 11!
The best time to start your preparation is right after the previous UMAT test has been completed. You should try to do some research about what questions were present in the test. The most recent UMAT exam is the best indicator for next year’s exam, and this information can help you focus your preparation.
Next you should find some resources to study from. There are a lot of UMAT preparation companies that offer study materials. Your challenge is to find the one that is best suited to you and most accurately simulates the UMAT. Ask past students which course was the best and why in preparing them for the UMAT. You can also compare their free sample questions with the sample questions released by ACER in their UMAT information booklet.
MedEntry fit me best because the materials were online and could be accessed anywhere. Their section 3 (Non-Verbal Reasoning) questions were harder than in the UMAT so I was very well prepared. And their section 2 (Understanding People) questions were very accurate in style of the UMAT. If you’re also thinking of using MedEntry check out their freebies, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Once you’ve found your company, it’s time to start studying!
When you’re in Year 11 it’s important to prioritise. Take time to do your assignments and study for school subjects, but leave some time for UMAT. At least once a week set aside an hour for UMAT preparation. If you’re using MedEntry, try out the drills - you can repeat them as many times as you want! Especially for section 3, this really helped me learn all the possible algorithms for the real UMAT. You can study alone or with friends but remember quality is better than quantity: 1 hour of pure study is better than 3 hours of distractions and breaks!
One hour of study a week, or even more will give you the edge over other students who only start preparing in year 12 whilst they are juggling all of their other subjects! Good luck!