29 April, 2016
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Given that GAMSAT® Exam, applications and interviews make up most of the medical school admissions madness, you’d be forgiven for not knowing how important your GPA is in helping to secure a place.
The fact is, if you’re applying to a school that uses your GPA and GAMSAT® Exam to rank you for an interview, your GPA is actually the thing that can help you, or hurt you, the most. The reason being, your GPA is calculated on a scale of 7, so every little increase or decrease in your grade can have a pretty significant effect on your overall GPA (and therefore your combination score for medical school admissions).
In addition, even for hurdle schools (schools that only use GPA as a hurdle and rank candidates for interview solely on their GAMSAT® Exam – UQ, USyd, Monash, Flinders), you still usually need a credit average to apply, so the age-old adage of ‘Ps get degrees’ won’t quite cut it.
I don’t mean to freak everyone out, but if you’re in the position where you’re still at uni and know you want to do medicine, then you’re actually pretty lucky, because you still have control over your GPA. So with that in mind, pull your finger out! Especially if you’ve experienced the first year under-performer phenomenon, where you’re so liberated post HSC® Exam and succumbing to those ‘uni night’ parties (they don’t really need to specify a particular night, it’s pretty much every day of the week…). You don’t have to give that all up, but just reel it in a bit because you’ll be kicking yourself if your 4.99 GPA means that you actually can’t apply to any Australian medical school. So be consistent, make study plans, develop good exam technique and bump that GPA up.
The other issue is of course studying for the GAMSAT® Exam itself, and the impact that can have on your uni studies. Some people look at S3 and think their uni curriculum will cover it. But don’t kid yourself – simply doing first year organic chem won’t actually prepare you for success in the GAMSAT® Exam if you haven’t practised GAMSAT® Exam style questions and pushed yourself to complete them under true exam conditions*. So the question of when to take the test is one worth considering.
But back to GPAs – there’s no denying how important they are so make sure you put enough effort in to keep it above the minimum and even more if you want to walk away with a competitive combination score. As for those who are looking for a bit of advice about how to boost your GPA, I’ll be covering that in another post for fear of rambling on too long, so keep an eye out on the blog.
* I’m aware that there are freaks who don’t study at all for the GAMSAT® Exam and kill it. These people are anomalies and should be treated with suspicion, especially if they try to convince you to wing it. You’d be better off putting your $470 towards Powerball.