UCAT or GAMSAT? Which route is harder? Which route is easier?

2 years ago by Rob

For a simple comparison of UCAT and GAMSAT, please read this article: UCAT vs GAMSAT


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

It’s a question anyone wanting to gain entry into medicine will inevitably ask: ‘Am I better off sitting the UCAT 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 UCAT (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.


University Clinical Admissions Test

Graduate Medical School Admissions Test

What is the UCAT?

UCAT is the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test. UCAT is one of three criteria (UCAT, 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 UCAT you will be ineligible for these undergraduate medicine courses.

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 UCAT structure?

total test duration: 2 hours
test type: multiple choice
essay questions: none
assumed knowledge: none.

There are 233 multiple choice questions that come from 5 different ‘constructs’ i.e sections:

  • section one: Verbal reasoning

  • section two: Decision making

  • section three: Quantitative reasoning

  • subtest four: Abstract reasoning

  • subtest five: Situational Judgement test

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

  • section two: written communication (this 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 UCAT?

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

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 UCAT help me gain entry into medicine?

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

  • ATAR score (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) and;

  • UCAT score and;

  • Interview score or oral assessment.

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 mini interview (MMI).

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


So is the UCAT easier and GAMSAT harder?

Consider these final points:

  • GAMSAT is almost thrice the duration of UCAT.
  • GAMSAT requires essay writing whereas UCAT does not: It is entirely multiple choice.
  • UCAT has no assumed knowledge (it is a test of generic or transferable skills) whereas GAMSAT requires specialist knowledge in areas of physics, chemistry, biology etc.
  • UCAT is a more time pressured exam but easier to prepare for, because it is more structured, whereas GAMSAT curriculum is much more broader
  • GAMSAT is more expensive to sit than UCAT

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



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