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Your ATAR is just as important as your UCAT score when it comes to applying for medical schools in Australia. Because of this, a lot of discussion around choosing subjects for senior high school/college remains. It often centres around which subjects will scale the best and which ones are required for applying to medicine. Of course these things are important when thinking about applying for a medical course, but it may also be worthwhile to start thinking about which subjects will help you once you are a medical student and also which subjects will help you to perform better in the UCAT exam.
If you are a student who enjoys science, then Biology will be highly beneficial to your medical studies. In pre-clinical years, a biology background is the foundation to most of your learning. In their first year of medicine, some students are required to complete a biology bridging course so that they can catch up to the level of students who have studied Biology in school. The medical program acknowledges that biology is an important basic foundation to the medical course even though it is not a prerequisite for entry to the course at most Universities.
In addition to this, some Verbal Reasoning questions in the UCAT are based on Biological Sciences. For example, the question could be about the life cycle of fruit flies or the growth of a certain species of plants. Having an understanding of research and hypothesis testing can improve your ability to answer these UCAT questions.
Another area of study that can help is “logic and proofs”. It is a topic that is covered in many double maths degrees or specialist maths programs (check your school’s specific syllabus to see if this topic is covered in the program). Many students find it difficult to summarise verbal riddles or puzzles into more concise rules when attempting UCAT Quantitative Reasoning and UCAT Decision Making questions. Having a background of logic laws can help to summarise this information into symbolic rules which are much more concise than the stimulus. This can save students a lot of time in the UCAT since they don’t need to re-read the stimulus each time they answer a UCAT question.
Of course, these recommendations will not work for everyone and it’s a good idea to choose subjects that you’ll enjoy and that you are good at in order to perform well in years 11 and 12. It’s also important to make sure that you are performing well in subjects that are pre-requisites for medical schools so check the criteria for each University that you intend to apply to (check out our handbook for details). Finally, don’t forget to enjoy your last few years in high school!