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I don’t have time for the UCAT during year 12, should I do the GAMSAT instead?


A lot of people think because their final year of school is such a busy one, they should forget about doing the UCAT and focus on their school exams instead. Some say, “Don’t worry if you are not sitting the UCAT, you can always just sit the GAMSAT during Uni and get into Medicine that way”. Whilst this is true, the graduate entry route is no doubt harder. You compete with a far wider range of test takers. The percentage of students who actually get into Graduate Medicine may also be lower than the undergraduate route.

The decision to sit either the UCAT or GAMSAT is your choice. Below is a table comparing the Undergraduate and Graduate route into medicine to help you decide. For more in depth information about medicine at certain universities, please see our earlier articles comparing Medicine at Melbourne or Monash and Medicine at USyd or UNSW.

Undergraduate Route v Postgraduate Route

Undergraduate entry into medicine – UCAT Graduate entry into medicine – GAMSAT
Total test duration 2 hours 6.5 hours
Test type Multiple choice Multiple choice and extended response
Essay questions None Yes
Assumed knowledge None Yes. You are expected to know about:Humanities ,Social sciences , BiologyPhysics
Number of sections One section – all three types of questions are now mixed together Three separate sections
Constructs tested
  •  Five subtests
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Decision making
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Abstract reasoning
  • Situational Judgement
  • Reasoning in humanities and social sciences (requires essay)          
  • Written communication (requires essay)            
  • Reasoning in biological and physical sciences (previous knowledge assumed)
When does the test take place? You can only sit the UCAT in you FINAL YEAR of secondary schooling or higher. Students in year 11 or lower are NOT eligible to sit the UCAT even if they are undertaking year 12 subjects You can sit the GAMSAT if you have completed a bachelor degree, or will be in your second last year/final year of study in a bachelor degree at the time of sitting the GAMSAT
Criteria for entry

Entry into undergraduate medicine has three usually equally weighted factors:            

  • Your year 12 ATAR score (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) and;             
  • Your UCAT score and;           
  • Interview score or oral assessment

Entry into graduate medical and dental program is based on these three criteria:            

  • WAM (Weighted Average Mark) or GPA (Grade Point Average) of bachelor degree and;            
  • GAMSAT score and;            
  • MMI (Multiple Interview Rounds)
These factors may not be equally weighted. Universities may differ in their weighting of performance on each criteria
Median age of test-takers UCAT – 18 years (Usually school-leavers) GAMSAT – 25 years (from a wide range of backgrounds, lawyers, engineers, scientists, accountants, etc)

So should I do the UCAT instead?

If you are still undecided, consider these points:

  • GAMSAT is almost twice the length of UCAT
  • GAMSAT has both multiple choice questions AND essay writing. The UCAT is entirely multiple choice.
  • UCAT has no assumed knowledge. (It is an aptitude test) The GAMSAT assumes previous knowledge in several areas of sciences. (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc)
  • In order to be able to sit the GAMSAT, you have to spend about 3 more years at University studying a Bachelor degree that may not help you in your medical career.
  • By sitting the UCAT, you can start studying what you want straight away. Year 12 is already stressful enough, the last thing you would want is to continue studying at that same pace to achieve a high GPA/WAM in your bachelor degree so you can have the chance to gain entry into graduate medicine.


For more information about the UCAT preparation packages MedEntry offers, please click here

UCAT stress – friend or foe?
Time management in the final year of school

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