In 2021, the process for getting into Medicine is harder than it’s ever been.
Every year over 14,000 students apply for Medicine, but less than 5% of them actually succeed.
The Medicine Entry system is designed to pick out the top 5% of students who are ‘naturally gifted’ with the IQ and intellectual skills to become our doctors & Medical professionals of the future.
But the reality of the Medicine entry system is that it’s far from perfect, and it’s flaws have created an unfair advantage towards a certain fraction of the Medicine applicants.
That’s why in this blog post, we’re going to break down what the Medicine Entry process is, why it creates an unfair advantage towards some students, and how you can provide this advantage to your child.
This is perfect for any parent looking to set their child up with the best possible chance of getting into Medicine, so let’s get started.
So what is the Medicine Entry System?
20 years ago, the process to get into Medicine was dramatically easier.
Aspiring Medical students were judged solely on their school results, and if they got a high enough score then they were instantly accepted into Medicine.
The process to get into Medicine has now drastically changed, with students being required to excel in 3 different major assessments in order to get accepted.
This means that if you want your child to get into Medicine immediately after year 12, then they will have to excel in the following 3 assessments.
The 3 Key Assessments For Medicine Entry
As you can see, the first assessment universities look at is your child’s ATAR score.
The ATAR is just the combined results from all of your child’s school subjects, which they add together to create your child’s ATAR score.
This counts for 1/3 of your child’s Medicine application, and your child will need a 98+ ATAR score (putting them in the top 1 to 2% of their state).
This is a very challenging mark to achieve, and it’s likely that your child will need to be one of the top students (if not the top student) in their school.
The second assessment the universities consider is your child’s UCAT score.
The UCAT is an aptitude test your child will sit in July of Year 12. This test is designed to find students who aren’t just book smart and achieve high ATAR scores, but who are also suited to working in the Medicine profession.
This also counts for 1/3 of your child’s Medicine application. Which means it’s of equal importance to all of your child’s school subjects combined.
Your child will need to achieve at minimum a 90th percentile UCAT score, placing them in the top 10% of all Medical applicants for their year.
The final assessment the universities look at is your child’s Medical interviews.
For students that achieve outstanding ATAR and UCAT scores, a select number are invited to attend a medical interview at the universities they have applied to. This is where students are able to demonstrate their passion for medicine, and character qualities and interests beyond their raw ATAR and UCAT scores.
This counts for the final 1/3 of your child’s Medicine application. And although the difficulty of these interviews depend on the specific university your child is applying for, they will still need to roughly be in the top 30 to 40% of interview applicants in order to succeed.
So what’s the key takeaway?
The key takeaway from all of this is that your child’s school subjects alone will not dictate whether or not they are able to study Medicine in Australia. In fact the school subjects constitute only 1/3 of their entire Medicine application. With the other sections (the UCAT & the interviews) constituting the other 2/3.
As a parent your focus should be on the bigger picture of helping your child get into Medicine, which means considering the UCAT & Medical interview aspects just as much as your child’s school subjects.
It’s important to remember that Medicine is an extremely demanding & competitive course, and as a result universities want to test students as much as possible to ensure that they are good candidates for the job.
The good news as a parent is that you don’t need to balance all 3 of these assessments at once. First you must help your child with their ATAR & UCAT exam, and only once they succeed in these 2 aspects do they need to worry about their Medical interview preparation.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what it takes to get into Medicine in Australia, let’s have a look at the next question.
So why does this system create an unfair advantage towards some students?
The Medicine admissions system is designed to create an even playing field for all Medicine applicants, so that the ‘naturally gifted’ students who have the innate talent & intellectual ability for Medicine will succeed, while those who do not possess such talents will fall short.
In particular, the UCAT exam and the Medical interviews are the parts of the Medical admissions process used to safeguard against students who only possess ATAR ‘book-smarts’ without possessing the actual specific skills required for Medicine.
And this is exemplified clearly through the official UCAT ANZ website, which states that the UCAT exam is an “admissions test” which “helps universities to select applicants with the most appropriate abilities and professional behaviours required for new doctors and dentists to be successful in their clinical careers. It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as interviews and academic qualifications.”
In short, the UCAT exam and the Medical interviews are what’s supposed to ‘even the playing field’ for all Medical applicants.
But the truth behind the Medical admissions system is that these 2 exams are responsible for giving some students an unfair advantage in the admissions process.
This inequality is due to a knowledge gap between those who simply listen to the advice of the universities & schools. And those who are lucky enough to find proper guidance from a medicine admissions expert on how to succeed in the process.
Introducing The “Knowledge Gap
The issue with the UCAT exam and the Medical interviews is that you will find conflicting advice as to how you should help your child prepare.
And the reason for this, is because the Medicine Entry system wants to create an even playing field for all Medicine applicants. Meaning they have a vested interest in convincing you of the following 2 points:
- That UCAT & Medical interview preparation is largely ineffective.
- That you should start your UCAT & interview preparation with as little as 6 weeks before your test.
The educational system wants to convince parents & students of these 2 key points, because if everyone follows these 2 pieces of advice then an even playing field is created for all Medical applicants.
This is why if you ask your school or research online, you may see or hear advice similar to this:
If everyone does a limited amount of preparation for these 2 tests, and begins preparing with a very small amount of time to spare, then the only thing left to distinguish between those who succeed & fail is whether or not they are inherently gifted for Medicine.
This would create a perfectly fair & balanced system for students hoping to get into Medicine.
But the reality behind the Medicine Entry system couldn’t be more different…
The problem with the Medical admissions system, and the UCAT exam in particular, is that it does a very poor job of acting as an objective measure of students “inherent Medical skills & qualities”.
Instead of being an objective test, like an IQ test where study barely impacts results. The UCAT exam can absolutely be studied for. Despite the Medicine Entry system claiming that students cannot.
The reason why this was discovered was simply because of the competitiveness of Medicine. Every year over 14,000 students apply for Medicine, and this means thousands of parents are constantly looking to give their child a special advantage over their competitors.
Over the past few years, growing numbers of parents have realised that the UCAT exam & the Medical interviews can in fact, be effectively be prepared for. And as a result, many reports have indicated that the average Medicine applicant who takes their application seriously now begins with around 4-8 months remaining.
The main issue that continues to create inequality amongst applicants is that the Medicine Entry system still advises many parents & students to start their preparation with little to no time remaining because the exam ‘cannot be effectively studied for’.
This gives these students an unrealistic expectation of what it takes to get into Medicine. As some other students are starting their UCAT preparation from Year 10 or Year 11 giving them substantially more time to prepare for a test which can in fact be effectively studied for.
The good news is that over time, more people are coming to understand that the UCAT exam (and the Medical Interviews to a lesser extent) can be effectively prepared for. And ultimately this will lead to the playing field becoming more balanced amongst all of those who compete for placements into Medicine.
However as it stands right now, many students are still being misled into starting their preparation far too late. And there is still a significant inequality between those who start their preparation early and study hard and others who believe the exam cannot be studied for.
As a result, the majority of students who ended up with placements into Medicine in 2020 did so because they knew the true nature of the Medicine Admissions system and started their preparation early.
So what does this mean for your child & how can you provide them with an advantage?
The good news is that if your child is hoping to get into Medicine, then you can use this knowledge to provide them with a significant advantage over the other Medical applicants who start their preparation far too late.
Typically it’s always the students who start their preparation early that actually end up with placements into Medicine. So if you’re hoping to give your child a realistic chance of getting in, then you need to ensure that they start their preparation as soon as possible.
Unfortunately right now, there’s still a decent portion of parents & students who are misled into believing that the Medical admissions process (and the UCAT exam in particular) cannot be studied for. The hope is that in the future, more parents & students will become aware of the true nature of the exam in order to level the playing field. For this reason we would greatly appreciate it if you could share this post with your friends & family.
But once again, the good news for you is that if you simply get your child to start their Medicine Entry preparation early, then you will be able to dramatically improve their chances of getting into Medicine.
So what should you do next?
At this point you should understand the full process required to get into Medicine (and the 3 different assessments required to succeed), and you should understand that the Medicine admissions process can be effectively studied for.
This means that all you need to do now is share this blog with your child, and encourage them to start their UCAT & Medicine preparation sooner rather than later.
It is important to remember though that starting early is only 1 step in the long journey which is helping your child get into Medicine.
And while starting early will almost certainly provide your child with a significant advantage. It will all be for nothing if they approach their study in the wrong way.
This is why we’re currently running a free webinar on how you can help your child excel in the Medical admissions process, and prepare in the right way for their Medical Admissions.
In this webinar, Medical Admissions expert Charlie Franklyn will cover the following 3 things:
- How the Medicine Entry process works in Australia
- How to help your child excel in the Medicine Entry process
- How to find the right support for your child in the Medicine Entry process
The focus on this webinar is to ensure that while your child starts their preparation early, they are also preparing themselves effectively.
Thousands of students each year start their preparation from as early as year 11 or year 10, but still a decent portion of them don’t get accepted into Medicine despite their head-start advantage.
The difference here is that some of these students approach their study with proven support & guidance, while others start preparing with little to no guidance and waste time studying ineffectively.
The goal of this webinar is to ensure that your child starts preparing not just early, but effectively as well. This will immediately place them in the top 10% of students and on the right track towards getting into Medicine, but only if you pay close attention to the entire presentation.
So if you’re looking to set your child up for success, then register by clicking here:
You can register for the webinar by clicking the button below:
Med Prep School Team