Entry into medicine in New Zealand is unique for two key reasons:
1. New Zealanders have the opportunity to sit UCAT in year 13 and then re-sit UCAT in the first year of their university degree.
2. There is a limit to the number of times New Zealanders can apply to medicine.
This blog will discuss both of these points.
Sitting UCAT in Year 13
Unlike Australians, New Zealanders are able to sit UCAT the year before they apply for medicine. Any student can sit UCAT if they are in their final year of secondary schooling or above, and this includes year 13 students.
If you are interested in pursuing medicine, you should sit UCAT in year 13, for many reasons.
Sitting UCAT in year 13 is great practice. When you sit UCAT again in the first year of your university degree, you will already be familiar with the process and experience of sitting UCAT. This will greatly reduce your stress levels and increase your performance. You will already be ahead of others. Performance generally increases on re-sits.
UCAT tests skills that need to be developed over a period of time. Students who start earlier with their preparation do better in UCAT.
If you do well when you sit UCAT in year 13, you can consider applying to medicine directly as a school leaver in Australia. There are many benefits to studying medicine as an undergraduate (for more information, please read the Information for Students/Parents https://www.medentry.co.nz/message-to-parents). Once you start a university degree, you are NOT eligible to apply to most medical schools in Australia. As NZ citizen you will pay the same fees as Australian students.
Students in year 13 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 UCAT score is likely to be (because they are weighted differently at these universities). By sitting UCAT in year 13, you will get an idea of this, so it will help you make a better decision.
The thinking skills that you learn by preparing for UCAT will help you get a better score in Year 13. Furthermore, most First Year university exams are in MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) format. UCAT preparation will help you 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, thereby enhancing your GPA.
Note: UCAT scores are valid for one year only. Therefore, if you are applying to Auckland or Otago, you must also sit the UCAT in first year of university.
Limits to applying for medicine
Unlike Australia and most other countries, in New Zealand there is a limit to the number of times you can apply for medicine. Both the University of Auckland and Otago have restrictions on how many times you can apply to the medical program. For example:
At both Auckland and Otago University, you can apply for medicine only once after the first year of your university degree.
At Auckland University, you can apply to medicine only once as a graduate.
At Otago University, you can apply to medicine only once if you are applying in the alternative category.
Therefore, quality preparation for UCAT is essential to ensure that you do not miss out on your chance to study medicine.