Frequently Asked Questions - UMAT
How do I get into Medicine?
To get into medicine in most countries, you need to satisfy three criteria ie., do well in:
1. your high school/university;
2. a generic skills test and
3. an interview.
New Zealand and Australia are no different. In NZ the three criteria are: Grade Point Average (GPA), UMAT and an interview. In Otago University there is no interview for Medicine, but there is one for Dentistry.
Because medicine is the only course where the government strictly controls the number of places, the demand is high which is one of the reasons why it is seen as an attractive profession.
Medical Entry Criteria provides details on entry requirements for various universities.
Getting into Medicine:
UMAT is one of three criteria used by NZ and Australian universities in selecting students into high demand health related careers such as medicine and dentistry:
1. UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test)
2. First Year Uni GPA or ATAR
3. Interview performance (Panel or MMI)
At Auckland University, the above are weighted 15%, 60% and 25% respectively. At Otago, UMAT is weighted 33% and GPA 64%.
The above three criteria are weighted equally by most Australian universities.
Most countries in the world have three such criteria which need to be met to be accepted into medical school: Academic performance in school/university; a generic skills test (UMAT, MCAT, GAMSAT, UKCAT, BMAT etc); performance in an interview.
The UMAT is a three hour test. UMAT is administered in July. MedEntry offers UMAT Courses, UMAT Tuition, UMAT advice, UMAT preparation and UMAT Coaching.
MedEntry UMAT Prep has become synonymous with UMAT success and is trusted by more students than all other providers combined. Performing well in the UMAT is critical for students wishing to enter medicine or other health science courses.
You will find information on the specific requirements of each university here.
For more information about the UMAT, you can download our information sheet from the free downloads page.
Both Auckland and Otago University require UMAT for entry into medicine. Please see the next question below which gives details of universities and courses which require UMAT.
You will need to sit the UMAT if you are interested in any of the following university courses:
- University of Auckland (Medicine)
- University of Otago (Medicine, Dental Surgery)
- Monash University (Medicine)
- University of Adelaide (Medicine, Dental Surgery)
- University of Newcastle/University of New England (Medicine)
- University of New South Wales (Medicine)
- University of Western Sydney (Medicine)
- University of Queensland (Medicine - conditional entry, Dental Science)
- University of Tasmania (Medicine)
- University of Western Australia (Medicine, Dentistry)
- Flinders University (Clinical Sciences/Medicine)
- Latrobe University (Dentistry, Oral Health Science)
- Charles Darwin University (Clinical Sciences)
- Curtin University (Medicine)
- Charles Sturt University (Dentistry)
You can sit the UMAT in your final year of schooling (year 13) and any number of times thereafter. Many students and parents mistakenly believe that they can only sit UMAT once and only in first year of university.
MedEntry suggests that all students who are interested in pursuing medicine sit UMAT as early as possible (in year 13), for many reasons.
1. Sitting UMAT in year 13 is great practice for you. When you sit UMAT again in the first year of your university degree, you will already be familiar with the process and experience of sitting UMAT. This will greatly reduce your stress levels and increase your performance. You will already be ahead of others. Performance generally improves on re-sits (this competitive advantage is generally not available to Australian students). Remember that both Auckland and Otago University allow only one attempt at applying for medicine after the first year of your university degree (but remember there is no limit of the number of attempts at UMAT). Therefore, doing well in UMAT is essential.
2. UMAT tests skills that need to be developed over a period of time. Students who start earlier with their preparation do better in UMAT. UMAT preparation will also boost your year 13 school performance and your university GPA by enhancing your thinking skills.
3. If you do well when you sit UMAT in year 13, you can apply for an undergraduate medical degree in Australia. There are many benefits to studying medicine as an undergraduate. However, once you start a university degree, you are NOT eligible to apply to most medical schools in Australia.
4. Students in Y13 intending to pursue medicine have to make a decision about whether to start at Auckland or Otago university. One of the factors to consider is what your UMAT score is likely to be (because they are weighted differently at these universities). By sitting UMAT, you will get an idea of this, so will help you make a better decision.
5. The thinking skills that you learn by preparing for UMAT will help you get a better score in Year 13. Further, most First Year university exams are MCQ type (Multiple Choice Questions). You will learn the psychometrics of how such questions are designed and marked, so you will be able to do much better in first year university as well, enhancing your GPA.
Please also read the FAQ: Can I sit the UMAT more than once?
Yes! Even high achieving students stumble in the UMAT. Some students with perfect year 13 scores/First Year GPA have missed out on a place in medicine and related courses due to their low UMAT scores. In some cases, your UMAT score is more important than your academic score in securing a place in the health sciences.
Research shows training can significantly improve UMAT score by familiarizing you with the types of questions that will be asked and developing strategies to tackle them. Even ACER now admits that training for UMAT helps.
An all-too-common fallacy about preparing for UMAT is that all you need to do is 'familiarise' yourself with the test by doing some practice questions. That's like saying the way to become a great basketball player is to familiarise yourself with a basketball court and practice taking a few shots.
Once upon a time, people were wrong. They thought that the automobile was an electric death-trap that would never replace the horse and carriage, computers were only for academic nerds, and people who used tuition were simply cheaters. Then, cars stopped exploding every time you started the engine, people realised that you could use computers for more than just calculating the digits of pi, and the 'cheaters' with the tuition... well, they started getting it. They got better grades, got into better Courses at Uni and just plain old got better. Times change, rules change.
Some people point not only to their own success, but also to the success of some others, as proof that UMAT Prep is unnecessary to get into medicine. Such arguments are spurious because they gloss over the obvious truth that certain people are more capable than others. Individuals succeeding without UMAT Prep simply don’t prove that everyone else can do the same, any more than Madonna’s success proves that everyone can become a star. Such individual achievements prove only that there are exceptional people who can overcome enormous obstacles and achieve their goals. The plain fact that many ordinary students have not achieved extraordinary results is pretty strong evidence that, for most of us, UMAT Prep can be a big help.
"Kids take prep courses to ace tests that are supposed to measure inborn aptitude," (page 100, Time Magazine, December 20, 2004).
There are three types of knowledge: Known Knowns; Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns. The people who don't prepare are in the last category. They don't know what they don't know!
People who are low on any scale, do not even know enough to recognize how much they are missing. People who are high on a scale, are deeply aware of how much they are missing, so they think they aren't really all that high. This can be about any skill, aptitude or talent. Many of us suffer from omission bias, ie., we prefer erring through inaction to erring through action, even though research shows errors of omission are costlier than errors of commission.
Consider this story about the French marshal Louis Lyautey: when the marshal announced that he wished to plant a tree, his gardener responded that the tree would not reach full growth for a hundred years. “In that case,” replied Lyautey, “we have no time to lose. We must start to plant this afternoon." Students thinking of preparing for improvement in performance in UMAT have no time to lose. They must get started now.
So start preparing now!
Please also read this article. (Does the MedEntry program really work?)
In 2017, the UMAT will be held on Wednesday 26 July 2017.
If you have not been successful the first time you sit the UMAT, you can re-sit it without being penalised. In fact you can resit the test ANY number of times. You can only sit in Year 13 or thereafter (ie not in Year 12).
Please note that UMAT scores are valid for one year only. Therefore if you are applying to Auckland or Otago, you must also sit the UMAT in the first year.
Keep in mind that both Auckland University and Otago University allow only one attempt at applying for medicine after the first year of your undergraduate degree. Therefore, UMAT preparation is essential to ensure success.
Please also read the FAQ: When can I sit the UMAT?
You can register for the UMAT online at http://umat.acer.edu.au/. Registrations for UMAT 2017 open in early December 2016.
Please note that enrolling with MedEntry UMAT Preparation course does not represent or include an application to sit the UMAT.
ACER is the Australian Council for Educational Research; the organization that administers the UMAT. You will need to contact ACER to register for the UMAT. Please visit http://umat.acer.edu.au/ for more information.
ACER has extensive expertise in developing and using many high stakes tests such as the UMAT, HPAT, GAMSAT etc in many countries.
The registration fee is A$250. If you are eligible for a concession, the registration fee is A$150. If you are sitting the UMAT outside Australia and New Zealand, there is an additional A$185 fee.
Registrations for UMAT 2017 open in early December 2016.
Your completed registration must be received at the UMAT office at ACER by 2 June, 2017.
Late registrations for UMAT will be accepted up to 14 days after the normal closing date (16 June) on payment of a late fee of $65 in addition to the registration fee.
The registration system will close after this time and it will NOT be possible to register for UMAT 2017.
Graduate entry route in NZ requires you to resit UMAT after your degree, but if you intend to apply to Australia, you will need to sit the GAMSAT.
The graduate medicine entry route requires that you complete a degree first before applying for Medicine. This means studying hard for an additional 3 or 4 years (and paying the fees), to maintain high grades with no guarantee of getting into Medicine. So you will have exams for at least 7 years: three years of first degree and 4 years of condensed medical degree. Undergrad medicine, for eg at Monash, is far less stressful because in the first year they ease you in, and in final year you are working as an unpaid intern (so no exams).
You may also need to sit a test called the GAMSAT, which is a six hour test (compare this with UMAT which is a three hour test) as well as doing well in the interview. The preparation courses for GAMSAT are also far more expensive, in the range of $1500 plus.
The GAMSAT has been described by most people as ‘the most horrible thing I've ever had to do in my life’. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if you do a Biomedicine or Biosciences degree, you will automatically be offered a place in Medicine, as some universities misleadingly make you believe. If you miss out on a place in Medicine, you may end up with a degree that is not useful for your future, and a waste of several years of your life.
The median age of students entering graduate medical programs in Australia is 25.4 years. By that age, you would have completed your medical degree and probably working as a Registrar in your chosen specialty if you choose the Year 12 entry (UMAT) route. Imagine entering medical school at 25 via graduate entry, then trying to study for the specialist training exams in your early thirties with a family to care for!
Further, when you apply through the graduate entry pathway, you can only apply to one university (with upto 6 preferences) and you will be interviewed only by one university. The universities have colluded to make it this way, so that it is less work for them and easier for them to select students (although it imposes harsh restrictions on aspiring doctors).
Some people think universities are education oriented organisations, but in reality they are massive businesses with annual income of each university around a billion dollars - they earn about $30,000 per year of study at university for each student they enrol (about $10,000 from you, and the rest from the government). This means that the longer you study at university, the better it is for them. This is the reason why some universities are moving towards graduate-entry medical programs. It is to increase universities' income, not because it is good for you! Furthermore, universities are prohibited from charging full fee for undergraduate medicine, but they can charge full fee for graduate medicine!
With the higher debts of graduate entry and the uncertainty of whether you will get into medicine, universities will be laughing all the way to the Bank, but you will end up in the classic wheel of borrowing to pay for a degree to get a job to pay off what you borrowed (if you don't get into medicine).
Some people feel that they want to go to so-called "prestigious" universities (eg. Sydney University) which offer only graduate medicine. However, unlike other disciplines such as law, in medicine it does not matter which university you graduate from.
Perhaps 15 years ago, when GAMSAT was new, it was easier than UMAT but now most medical students who sat both tests claim GAMSAT is harder. GAMSAT is getting much harder for several reasons (eg many professionals wanting to change careers, the 'late bloomers', many school leavers putting off the hard work and difficult decision).
Another important reason: It has been well documented that there is a general decline in psychometric test performance as a person advances in age (eg digit symbol substitution test). For eg, see "Socio-economic predictors of performance in the UMAT": Puddey and Mercer, BMC Medical education, 2013, 13:155. This shows that performance of candidates sitting UMAT between 16 years and 45 years consistently drops with age. So you are far better off sitting the test as early as possible (in year 13 or First year at University).
There are some UMAT sample questions you can download from here. In the MedEntry UMAT workshop, numerous past UMAT sample questions will be discussed. The MedEntry LMS has thousands of UMAT sample questions for you to practice on. The Eureka UMAT website has numerous questions for you to develop the skills.
UMAT sample questions are also available at:
When you purchase a MedEntry UMAT package, you will get numerous resources for you to use. You will also get additional recommended reading in the UMAT Courses. This is definitely much more than you need, if you use it properly. How to efficiently and effectively use these resources is also discussed in the UMAT Courses.
We also recommend that you obtain the ACER's two practice exams (plus the additional 61 questions released in 2013) that you can buy when you register for UMAT.
Apart from these, we do not recommend any other courses or programs. There are some websites spruiking UMAT products which are scams, run by bankrupts etc. They are also likely to mislead you.