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Studying Medicine – My First Year

Having just finished my first year of medicine at Monash University, it is clear to me that my first year studying medicine was not necessarily as I had expected. Having said that, at the start of the year I was very unsure as to what I should expect from the first of five years of my degree. As such, I am going to give you a basic outline of how the first year of the course is structured, and hopefully you can use this to help guide your decision on whether or not Medicine is the right choice for you....
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Is the median ATAR of medical students at USyd/UniMelb higher than at UNSW/Monash?

No, in fact, it is far lower. People assume that because the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne have a certain limited number of places for their “guaranteed entry” scheme (for which the minimum ATAR required is 99.90 or 99.95) the median ATAR of medical students at such universities must be very high. This is a myth and is completely untrue. The University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne have about 300+ places each in their graduate entry programs and only about 10% of places are from the guaranteed entry stream. The rest of the places are...
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What is UMAT? UMAT stands for Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test. It is a test developed by ACER and used to help select students into medicine, dentistry and other competitive health science courses at university. The UMAT consists of questions in three main categories: Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving, Understanding People and Non-Verbal Reasoning. What courses require UMAT? For a full list of courses that require UMAT, please visit How long is UMAT? The UMAT takes a total of approximately 3 hours. There is also 10 minutes of reading time before the exam commences. When is UMAT?...
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Tips for Medical Interviews

By now you may have finished your year 12 exams. For those who sat the UMAT this year, it almost seems like the end of the road. However, there is one crucial component for entry into medicine that many major universities require – the interview. It is important you prepare and practice for this last step, especially because this time, you are competing against a tough cohort: all those students who performed outstandingly in both the UMAT and ATAR. The first step to preparing for any interview is to start practicing. Whether this be attending the MedEntry Interview Training sessions,...
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Is the UMAT even relevant to medicine?

Sometimes it can feel like the UMAT has got nothing to do with being a doctor. It can feel like just another one of the oddly-shaped hoops one must jump through in the medical entry process. However, this mindset that the UMAT is just a barrier to doctor-hood can be demotivating and counterproductive. In this post, I’ll give some real life examples of how each section of the UMAT relates to skills I’ve had to develop in medical school, and how UMAT preparation is related to, or perhaps even beneficial to, the study of medicine. Section 1: Logical Reasoning and...
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Is this my only shot at getting into Medicine?

Many students sit the UMAT for the first time thinking that they must to do well in UMAT because it is the only way for them to be accepted into their dream uni degree, medicine. This is untrue! This thinking places an enormous amount of unnecessary pressure on students. The reality is there are numerous ways to be accepted into medicine. Sitting UMAT, getting a good ATAR and smashing an interview may be the easiest and quickest way to get into medicine, but it is not the only one. Other options to be accepted into medicine can include:  • Taking...
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One on one with a medical school interviewer

I was fortunate enough to have jumped through the hurdles that lie on the way to medical school, and there are quite a few benefits on the other side. One of these is being able to talk to doctors, health professionals or community members that have had previous experience as interviewers. The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a past interviewer to understand what they are looking for in medical interviews.    1. As a community member are you concerned about the medical/dental focus of some of the scenarios? “The scenarios in the MMI (multiple mini...
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Behind the Scrubs, Part 2: Student’s views of Undergraduate Medical Courses in NSW – Joint Medical Program, University of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle (UoN) has taken a unique teamwork approach within their Bachelor of Medicine course, collaborating with the University of New England to create the Joint Medical Program. Although this joint effort represents a new modelling of the course, UoN has offered an undergraduate Medicine course for almost forty years, and has gained an unofficial reputation for creating doctors with superior clinical skills. Their use of ‘Problem-Based Learning’ to train students to think critically and integrate concepts has been extensively harnessed by other medical schools. In this article, 4th year medical student Emma gives us further insight into...
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Behind the Scrubs, Part 1: Student’s views of Undergraduate Medical Courses in NSW – Western Sydney University

The Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) is the newest addition to NSW's undergraduate medical courses, opening its doors for the first time in 2007. UWS has a particular commitment towards providing health care and education for the Western Sydney region, including a focus on the area of Indigenous health. To find out more about the UWS medical course, I caught up with Jess, a third year medical student at Western Sydney.   Evie: So Jess, you're now more than half-way towards graduating from UWS! Could you share with us what the...
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Pathways into medicine: UMAT vs GAMSAT

Living in our corner of the world and having a desire to pursue medicine will mean that at some point you will encounter either the UMAT or the GAMSAT. I experienced the former a multitude of times and the latter most recently, and have achieved success in both. This blog will guide you through both exams and pathways.   If you are a student pursuing medicine in New Zealand, the UMAT will be your only concern. It is not possible to directly enter medicine as a high school leaver at either Auckland or Otago, so the UMAT is a barrier...
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Sample MMI question: A Contemporary Issue Scenario

Scenario: Vaccinations are an important part of an individual’s immunity and keeping a community safe from disease. It is ideal that all children get immunized at the appropriate age to prevent contraction of preventable diseases. However, there are some in Australia that oppose vaccination. They argue the harm of vaccinations outweigh the benefits, and the lack of freedom of choice in how their children should be raised. Their claims often have no scientific basis, and create unnecessary fear in society. You are on the advisory board of the Australian Government looking to change the laws on how to deal with...
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Discrimination in university admissions?

What is discrimination? Discrimination can be defined as unwarranted unfavourable treatment towards an individual or groups of individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category. Such treatment is usually in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated. Discrimination could be based on someone’s gender, race, location, or socio-economic basis, etc. Discrimination is against the law under the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT), Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), Anti-Discrimination Act 1996 (NT), Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD), Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA), Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (TAS), Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic) and...
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Famous Australian Doctors: Great Models for Aspiring Students

Medical interviews Congratulations to those who got a medical interview. It is a good idea to prepare for the interview. You may need to have examples of role models during the interviews. If you need some some inspiration for finding your role model, we have found some inspiring doctors below. These short biographies of their notable work will be great for medical interviews.  Remember, MedEntry offers great medical interview training packages  and medical interview guide .  Frank Macfarlane Burnet An Australian virologist best known for his contributions to immunology . He won the Nobel Prize in 1960 for predicting acquired immune...
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I don’t have time for the UMAT 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 UMAT and focus on their studies instead. Some say, “Don’t worry if you are not sitting the UMAT, 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 is also far lower than the UMAT percentage intake. The decision to sit...
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Time management in the final year of school

The final year of school can be a tough year. If you want to do well and obtain entry into your chosen course, you have to put in the effort and work. On top of assessments and exams, there is also UMAT preparation. How do you fit it all in? We have tips for you below on how to optimise your time.  UMAT preparation is a subject A lot of students find it a difficult task to manage all their subjects and do UMAT preparation as well. But the process can be made easier starting with a simple mindset change....
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When should I start preparing for the UMAT?

Confused about how to approach UMAT preparation? When should I start my UMAT prep? Is there even a point to preparing for the UMAT? Well, if you are reading this, you would have started preparing already. What is the UMAT for? If you are interested in undergraduate medicine, dentistry or other health science related fields, you will need the UMAT. (More info: ) The UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test) is a test administered by ACER to help in the selection of students for those given courses. It is usually sat in year 12 for students going...
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University rankings and prestige: how much do they really matter for studying medicine?

Is studying medicine at Melbourne more prestigious than Monash? Is studying medicine at Usyd more prestigious than UNSW? And in the end, does it really matter? University rankings and prestige: how much do they matter for studying medicine? Prestige, prestige, prestige. It’s a battle cry often heard echoing from the halls of the oldest universities and repeated with an unwavering insistence of certain parents that: ‘my son will only obtain his the degree from The University of…’ (Well, we don’t need to name names here..) When selecting the university with the right medicine course for you, we would suggest that...
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An explanation of UMAT results: how are UMAT results calculated? And other UMAT results FAQs.

How are UMAT results calculated? Unfortunately ACER does not release the marking scheme that is used determine UMAT scores. There is some speculation as to the following: answering a question correctly that is not answered correctly by the majority of UMAT candidates will be weighted more heavily. And conversely, answering a question incorrectly that most UMAT candidates do answer correctly, will be weighted more heavily against a candidate’s UMAT score. However, because ACER does not release the marking scheme or question weightings for the UMAT it is impossible to be absolutely certain of this. What is certain though, is the...
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UMAT or GAMSAT? Which route is better?

Medicine via  UMAT  or GAMSAT? For a simpler comparison of UMAT against the GAMSAT please see the following article:  ‘UMAT or GAMSAT? which is harder? which is easier?‘. Our view is that UMAT route is far superior for several reasons including: 1. No guarantee: Even if you do ace your GPA and do well in GAMSAT, there is no gurantee that you will get in: there is an interview as well. 2. More stress and uncertainty: You have just finished a hard slog for your final high school exams. Do you really want to continue to do that for another...
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Why is so much weight placed on just one test, the UMAT?

It may seem unfair that a   three hour test is so impor­tant. Remember, though, that the UMAT is not a one-shot, all-or-nothing affair. Your standardised test scores account for about a third of your medical school entry, depending on which university you apply. The other essential components include your ATAR score and  medical entrance interviews . Further, if you score poorly in the UMAT (due to lack of preparation or other unfortunate event), you can re-sit the UMAT next year. As discussed  here , UMAT is an objective test of  medical entrance  in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. The ...
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