What is UMAT and how to prepare for it

Common questions about UMAT answered by MedEntry, the Trusted UMAT Preparation Institution.

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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.


Because the demand for medicine, dentistry and some other health science courses is so significant, the year 12 score required to get into such courses became extremely high. Universities therefore needed another method for selecting students into medicine.

UMAT was developed with the goal to assess qualities considered desirable in the health professions, including problem solving, empathy and abstract reasoning skills. Many universities also use an interview to select students into medicine and dentistry. 

Whether or not you agree that UMAT effectively assesses qualities required to be a successful medical student and doctor, the reality is that you must sit UMAT to gain entry into many health science courses.

What courses require UMAT?

You will need to sit UMAT if you are interested in any of the following courses:

universities needing umat2018

How many questions are in UMAT?

There are a total of 134 questions in UMAT, with the number of questions divided among the constructs as follows:

The number of questions in each section of UMAT

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?

The UMAT will take place on 25th July 2018. 

Depending on which testing centre you sit UMAT, there may be a morning session and an afternoon session. 

How do I register for UMAT?

You can register for UMAT by visiting https://umat.acer.edu.au/

When do registrations for UMAT open?

Registrations for UMAT open in early December each year. 

When do registrations for UMAT close?

Registrations to sit UMAT will close at 5pm AEST on 1 June 2018. 

Late registrations are accepted until 5pm AEST on 15 June 2018 upon payment of an additional $65 late fee in addition to the registration fee. 

How much does UMAT cost?

The fee to sit UMAT is $260. 

If you are eligible for a concession, the fee is $160. The registration fee includes access to one of the ACER practice exams (you can purchase additional ACER exams at extra cost). 

When can I sit UMAT? Who can sit UMAT?

You can sit UMAT in your final year of high school and any year thereafter. 

When are UMAT scores released?

UMAT scores are released in late September each year.

You will receive an email from ACER which will inform you how to access your results.

Where can I sit UMAT?

UMAT is offered in the following locations:

umat test locations2018

How hard is UMAT?

UMAT is very difficult test! Many practicing medical specialists believe that UMAT was the hardest test they ever sat. The questions are completely different to those you will have encountered at school or university, and there is a strict time limit which means that the vast majority of students do not finish the exam. It is a three-hour long test requiring extreme concentration.

The good news? It is possible to prepare for and do well in UMAT.

How can I prepare for UMAT? How can I study for UMAT? How can I do well in UMAT?

Successful preparation for UMAT can be summarised in five key steps:

  1. Understand the importance of UMAT 
  2. Familiarise yourself with UMAT-style questions
  3. Learn strategies for tackling each type of question 
  4. Attempt full length practice exams under timed conditions
  5. Identify your weaknesses and work on them

Let’s consider each of these in turn. 

  1. Understand the importance of UMAT

    UMAT is often as important, and in some cases is more important, than your year 12 score in determining whether or not you will get into medicine. Even if you achieve a perfect ATAR of 99.95, this does not guarantee you a place in medicine at all universities. Some universities do not even consider your year final 12 score in deciding whether or not you will be offered an interview for medicine – they only consider UMAT initially. 

    Unfortunately, most students do not recognise the importance of UMAT and some do not even prepare, and therefore miss out on getting into their dream course. 

    MedEntry recommends treating UMAT as another subject and allocating your time accordingly – if you are in year 12 you should spend about 10% of your study time on UMAT, and consider increasing this as the UMAT draws closer. 

  2. Familiarise yourself with UMAT-style questions

    The first step in studying for UMAT is to understand the types of questions that you will face. UMAT is not a test of knowledge, it is a test of your generic skills. Therefore, the questions in UMAT will be very different to anything you have been exposed to at school and university. 

    UMAT is composed of questions drawn from three constructs: 

    Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving: these questions typically require you to interpret text as well as graphs and other data, and then draw conclusions based upon them. See our sample logical reasoning and problem solving questions.

    Understanding People: these questions usually involve interpreting an emotionally-charged interaction between two or more people, and then making inferences about the characters’ thoughts, feelings, behaviour and intentions. See our sample understanding people questions.

    Non-Verbal Reasoning: these questions require you to reason in the abstract by identifying and extrapolating patterns within a sequence or matrix of objects. See our sample non-verbal reasoning questions.

    You can get a taste of each type of question by downloading a free UMAT trial exam

  3. Learn strategies for tackling each type of question 

    Each type of question requires a certain approach, and there are strategies you can learn to help you answer challenging questions quickly and accurately. There are many strategies to learn, which are covered in-depth in both MedEntry’s guides and two day UMAT course. 

    The following blogs, written by academics and those who have scored 100th percentile in UMAT, will give you a sample of some of the strategies that you can use in UMAT: 

  4. Attempt full length practice exams under timed conditions

    Sitting full-length practice exams under timed conditions is the most effective preparation for UMAT. Doing so will familiarise you with the extreme time pressures that you will face, as well as allowing you to practise concentrating for three hours (something we very rarely do!). Furthermore, full-length exams will expose you to the various types of questions that you will face in UMAT, and reviewing the solutions will help you understand where you went wrong. 

    ACER provides practice exams which you can (and should) purchase when you register to sit UMAT. Keep in mind that these questions are often easier than the real UMAT, and do not include all the types of questions that you may encounter, particularly the newer style questions. 

    MedEntry provides all students with 10 full length practice exams, with an option to upgrade to an additional 5 exams. These exams have been meticulously researched to ensure they simulate both the style and difficulty of the real UMAT. Importantly, because MedEntry has been preparing students for UMAT for over 20 years, we are familiar with the trends and changes that have occurred over the years. There have been some important changes to UMAT over the last year, so it is important that you become familiar with these types of questions. Avoid practising on outdated and poor-quality materials! 

  5. Identify your weaknesses and work on them

    Once you have completed a few full length trial exams, you will start to understand your weaknesses. Identify which type of question you find most difficult, and if possible, which subtype of question you find difficult (e.g. pick the middle questions in the non-verbal reasoning construct). You should then work on your weaknesses by learning further strategies (by reading the guides and reviewing solutions in depth) and attempting as many practice questions of this type as possible. 

    In addition to the full-length exams, MedEntry provides all students with drills categorised by question type, so you can work on the questions you find most difficult. An unlimited question trainer (Eureka!) is also available for further learning. There are plenty of extra resources for the (very few) students who manage to complete all of the exams.

What UMAT score do I need to get into medicine? What is a good UMAT score? What is UMAT scored out of?

The UMAT score that you need to get into medicine or other health science courses depends on the university to which you are applying. In general, a UMAT percentile of at least 85 will usually secure you a medical interview offer. 

Broadly, you will receive two types of score: 

  • UMAT overall score: this is out of 300, although in practice anyone who receives a score above 200 will have done exceptionally well in UMAT. This is a sum of your section scores. ACER does not release how it calculates UMAT scores. 

    overall score 2017

  • Percentile: this is an easier concept to understand. If you receive a percentile of 90, it means that you have performed better than 90% of students and 10% of students have performed better than you. 

    percentile score 2017

All MedEntry students obtain access to the University Admissions Guide which discusses each university’s entry requirements in detail. All MedEntry students also receive detailed information on how to interpret their results when UMAT scores are released in late September each year. 

Where can I get more information about UMAT?

You can find out more about the UMAT by: