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UMAT or GAMSAT? which route is harder? which route is easier?

Medicine entry via GAMSAT or UMAT? what’s the difference?

It’s a question anyone wanting to gain entry into medicine will inevitably ask: ‘Am I better off sitting the UMAT and doing an undergraduate medicine degree, or should I sit the GAMSAT to gain entry into a graduate medicine course?’

To make things easier, below is a comparative summary of some of the key elements of both the GAMSAT (graduate entry pathway) and the UMAT (undergraduate entry pathway) so you can make up your own mind. See our earlier blog entries for a simple comparison of studying medicine at Monash or Melbourne and studying medicine at Usyd or UNSW.


Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test

Graduate Medical School Admissions Test

What is the UMAT?

UMAT is the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test. UMAT is one of three criteria (UMAT, ATAR and an interview) used by most universities in selecting students into high demand health related careers such as medicine and dentistry. Without satisfactory completion of UMAT you will be ineligible for these undergraduate medicine and health science courses.

What is the UMAT structure?

total test duration: 3 hours
test type: multiple choice
essay questions: none
assumed knowledge: none.


There are 134 multiple choice questions that come from 3 different ‘constructs’ i.e sections:

  • section one: logical reasoning and problem solving
  • section two: understanding people
  • section three: non-verbal reasoning

When do I sit the UMAT?

You can only sit the UMAT in your final year of secondary schooling, or higher.
Students who are currently in Year 11 or lower are NOT eligible to take UMAT even if they are undertaking one or more Year 12 subjects.

How does UMAT help me gain entry into medicine?

Gaining into an undergraduate medical degree entails three, usually equally weighted criteria:

  • ATAR score (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank – year 12 results) and;
  • UMAT score (Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admissions Test) and;
  • Interview score or oral assessment.

What is the GAMSAT?

GAMSAT is the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test. The GAMSAT is a test used to select candidates applying to study medicine and other health science courses at Australian universities that offer grauduate-entry programmes.                                                                                                                                                                                                      .

What is the GAMSAT structure?

total test duration: 6.5 hours
test type: multiple choice and extended written response
essay questions: yes
assumed knowledge: yes.

The three sections of the GAMSAT are:

  • section one: reasoning in humanities and social sciences (this requires essay writing)
  • section two: written communication(this also requires essay writing)
  • section three: reasoning in biological and physical sciences. (this section does assume a certain level of knowledge)

When do I sit the GAMSAT?

GAMSAT is available to any student who has completed a Bachelor degree, or who will be in the    penultimate (second-last) or final year of study for a Bachelor degree, at the time of sitting the test.


How does GAMSAT help me gain entry into medicine?

Applicants are selected for admission into the   graduate-entry medical and dental programs on the basis of these three criteria:

  • WAM (weighted average mark) or GPA (grade point average) of bachelor degree and;
  • GAMSAT score and;
  • multiple interview rounds (MMI).

The universities may differ in their weighting of performance on each of the criteria.


So is the UMAT easier and GAMSAT harder?

Consider these final points:

  • GAMSAT is almost twice the length of UMAT.
  • GAMSAT requires essay writing whereas UMAT does not: It is entirely multiple choice.
  • UMAT has no assumed knowledge (it is an aptitude test) whereas GAMSAT requires specialist knowledge in areas of physics, chemistry, biology etc.

For more information on the UMAT including UMAT preparation and UMAT practice papers please see MedEntry UMAT preparation.


A comparison of medicine at Usyd and UNSW
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