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How to study Medicine

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There are different routes into medical degrees in Australia:
  • An Undergraduate Bachelor degree which lasts 5-6 years
  • Graduate Entry Medical Degrees (MDs)

There are also a number of medical schools that award a doctor of medicine qualification (MD or MChD) where graduates receive a master’s qualification. These degrees are provided by 21 University Medical Schools in Australia accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). All these medical degrees from Medical Schools in Australia are equivalent becoming a doctor. All medical degrees are competitive and will require a strong academic background, very good English and usually an additional medical entry test and interviews.

Undergraduate entry Programs Offered

Undergraduate entry Programs Offered
Australian universities offer undergraduate entry medical programmes:

  • Monash University (5 years)
  • University of Adelaide (6 years)
  • University of Newcastle (5 years)
  • University of Tasmania (5 years)
  • University New South Wales (6 years)
  • Flinders University (6 years)
  • James Cook University (6 years)

Three more Australian universities offer integrated bachelors + Medical Degree (MD) programs, guaranteeing a spot in the MD course at the time of application, assuming successful completion of the bachelors:

  • University of Sydney (7 years)
  • University of Queensland (7 years)
  • University of Western Australia (6 years)

The integrated options typically are a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (or similar) then followed by graduate Medicine.

Application Requirements

There are essentially three parts to the admissions process. Your admissions decision is determined based on your grades, your standardized test scores, and on your interview performance. These are not necessarily in equal proportions.

1. Academic record (IB/A Level scores) – Applications to Australian medical schools are highly competitive. Though Students with 37-38 IB/AAB GCE might technically meet the minimum cut off, typically students should only expect to see an offer with a 40+ IB or AAAA on Cambridge GCE A Levels. It is also important to note that most universities will have a quota for international students going into their Medicine programs. So this may mean that even though you have met the entry requirement, you are not guaranteed a place in the program.

2. Medical Entry test – ISAT/UCAT – there are different tests that may be required

ISAT – International Student Admissions Test – The ISAT is required for students from overseas applying to medical schools in Australia. According to the ISAT website ‘ISAT is a 3-hour computer-based multiple-choice test designed to assess a candidate’s intellectual skills and abilities that are the foundation of academic success at tertiary level.’

The ISAT is widely required by universities in Australia. Nearly all well-known undergraduate pathway schools will ask for it, with the exception of University of Newcastle and University of Adelaide, which require PQA, and University of Sydney, which doesn’t require a test at all.

  • Test Structure – The test is broken into 100 questions, which are a random combination of mathematics and verbal questions. Students have three hours to complete the test. Breaks are permitted at any time; however, the clock does not stop during breaks.
  • Test Dates – Except for a two-week period in late February into early March, the ISAT is available year-round. Students can register for it anytime online. The ISAT test result is valid for two years.
  • Score Guide – Students receive a raw score out of 100 and a scaled score out of 200. Typically, students who score above 180 or in the 85th percentile or above are likely to be shortlisted for interviews.

UCAT – University Clinical Aptitude Test – The UCAT is a two-hour computer-based test which assesses a range of abilities identified by universities as important to practicing in the fields of medicine / dentistry / clinical sciences. The test consists of five separately timed subtests which each contain a number of questions in a multiple-choice format. Once started the test cannot be paused for a break but before each subtest there is a timed instruction section.

3.Interview (if shortlisted) – Interviews can come in one of two formats: panel interviews and multiple mini interviews (MMI). Panel interviews are the traditional format. Candidates will sit in front of a group of 5-6 individuals, who will ask the student questions evaluating their grasp of scientific concepts, their commitment to medicine, and their personal values.

The MMI is where panel members are split up into separate rooms, and students will rotate through each of the stations. In each room, students will be asked one or two questions. They will have 5-10 minutes to answer before moving on to the next room. This format has become increasingly popular in recent years and allows students to compose themselves before going to the next session.

Graduate Entry

A graduate entry medical degree is usually 5 years and can be completed after a Bachelors Degree in any discipline.

The following medical schools offer Graduate Entry medical programs:

  • The Australian National University (ANU)
  • Deakin University
  • Griffith University
  • Macquarie University
  • Monash University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Western Australia

The content of these courses is not very different from an undergraduate degree and you will need to have a bachelor degree, and though this doesn’t have to be a Science degree you will need a good knowledge of science to be successful on the Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT)

Top ranked universities in Australia for Medicine (QS Rankings 2020):

  • The University of Melbourne – =16th in the world
  • The University of Sydney – 18th in the world
  • Monash University – =31st in the world
  • UNSW Sydney – 46th in the world
  • The University of Queensland – =48th in the world
  • The Australian National University – Top 100 in the world
  • The University of Adelaide – Top 100 in the world
  • The University of Western Australia – Top 100 in the world
  • The University of Newcastle, UoN – Top 150 in the world
  • Deakin University – Top 200 in the world

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