Medical Entrance and UCAT
3 years ago by Rob
Medicine is seen as an attractive career in most countries for several reasons such as a satisfying job which involves you with the lives of those around you, making a positive difference to people’s lives, job security etc.
Doctors help people in their time of need and use their knowledge to overcome their grievances so that they can get on with their life, whether they be a janitor or the chief executive officer of a major company. Dealing with people and helping them overcome their troubles would naturally bring you great satisfaction.
However, training and practicing doctors are incredibly costly for the government, and universities have been made to limit their intake of medical students. Only about 1800 places are available for undergraduate entry in Australia and NZ, and a further 1200 for graduate entry. This limitation places great pressure on prospective students to perform, which gives rise to a large amount of competition among peers.
Most Australian universities use three criteria for selection: Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR); the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) and an interview. The weighting for these three varies between universities, but usually about a third each.
The first thing you should know about the UCAT is that it is all relative. It’s like the ATAR or the ICAS (International Competitions and Assessments for Schools run by the University of NSW); your score is compared to all the other students’ scores and given a percentile ranking. The second important thing about this test is that it is strictly timed, and you only get one shot at it each year. You can actually sit for this test in year 12, and thereafter. However, you can prepare for the test from much earlier.
The UCAT test is broken down into 5 subtests which are detailed in MedEntry FAQ under UCAT (What is UCAT?).
All the questions in the UCAT are multiple-choice and each subtest is timed separately, meaning that you can’t move between tests or allocate your own time to each test. The whole test is 120 minutes duration.
You will need a percentile ranking of 85+ in UCAT if you want a decent shot at getting into Med School. MedEntry provides lots of practice which builds up your accuracy, confidence, speed and endurance, concentration – things which will help you immensely when the time comes.
The last bit is the interview, which will account for the last third of your final score. Like for any test, it’s good to prepare. If you’re like most people and this is your first interview, it would be wise to take an interview training course so you have an idea of how to approach it. Some things they’re looking for are maturity, communication skills, certainty of career choice and ability to engage with people among other things. Basically they’re just checking your suitability for the medical profession and that you’re a well-rounded person. At UNSW and James Cook you have to write up a supporting statement to submit before your interview, so make sure you’re prepared to answer questions based on that.