by Liam R., 12 November, 2018
Firstly, if you are contemplating this question, then it likely means that your assault on the GAMSAT was successful. Congratulate yourself on this! Surviving the torturous run up and the terrifying and enduring leap of an exam the GAMSAT is is something to celebrate. Now, with one of the three components of your application set, it’s easy to become preoccupied obsessing over the GPA needed to secure yourself an interview at your university of choice.
I get it. I really do. You are filled with such excitement and trepidation in the months that follow, trying to work out your chances of getting into medical school, running hypothetical situations over and over again in your head. It’s important to realise firstly, these are hypotheticals and none of us really know what will happen, so try and keep this stress to a minimum.
But what we can do is try and demystify the typical GPAs required for each University. During my foray into the life of Medical School applications, I found that the topical conundrum throughout June veered from, “what GAMSAT score did you get”, or “what GAMSAT score do I need”, to the far more complex, “what GPA do I need to be competitive for a place in Medical School?”
So, what score does one require? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, for a few reasons. One, Universities all have different criteria and weightings on the different components used to assess their applicants. Further, it is only one mere component of the said application process. Multiple aspects of an application are considered when selecting an applicant: GPA, GAMSAT, interview performance, and even portfolios at some universities.
Because of this, we are limited in making statements of absolutes such as “ What GPA/ GAMSAT score do I need to get into Medical School?” You can find some past data here on our guide to Graduate Medical Schools in Australia, but it’s important to read through this data with a fresh set of eyes.
One look at the tables and we immediately realise that the system is more turbulent than a plane flying through a capricious pressure system and as such, these results can be misleading. The marks required at universities change all the time - depending on popularity, the number of spots available, changes in admission requirements and by the reputations of the universities. So here, we come back to the limitation of placing absolutes on these scores.
As we said, universities create a combination score which allows them to appreciate GAMSAT and GPA, it’s calculated using the following formula.
Combo = (GAMSAT/100) + (GPA/7.0)
Now, knowing this, we can appreciate the ratio of these scores. What I mean by this is that some universities place greater emphasis on different parts of a student’s application: GPA, GAMSAT, Interview, and Portfolios.
The University of Melbourne uses 50-50 weighting between GPA and GAMSAT to rank students for interviews, then considers each of three equally when offering spots. These scores combined are what determines if a student will be offered a spot. Therefore, we can see pretty simply while one area lacking can be supplemented by another.
Again, it is dependent on the university. For example, Flinders University only uses GAMSAT to determine who they will interview. Then, once a student has been interviewed, will consider each GPA, GAMSAT, and Interview scores equally.
To explain further, let’s consider the following example:
A student at Melbourne University gained entry with a combined score of 1.49; the combination of a 6.02 GPA and 63 GAMSAT. Another student with a combined score of 1.85 may miss out. This is because it comes down to interviews and how people perform in them, Student 1 with the lower GPA and GAMSAT may have killed the interview and therefore gained a greater entry ranking than the smart chook with the super GAMSAT and GPA. These examples, while hypothetical, highlight that numbers aren’t everything and that the process in its entirety needs to be appreciated.
I began this piece with congratulations on conquering the GAMSAT, and I will now extend that further. If you, for example, scored 65+ In the GAMSAT and put yourself in a solid position to gain interviews, you are already in a decent position. When you started this GAMSAT journey, you were 1 in 10,000+ medical student hopefuls. With approximately 2,000 spots nationwide each year, those odds are pretty tough.
However, following a good GAMSAT and a strong interview, you should take solace in how far your odds have come, and how far you have come. The process of getting into Medicine is undoubtedly a difficult one, and in my opinion, obsessing over details such as GPAs of the past isn’t always the best use of time. Do your best, look after yourself, and trust the process.
GAMSAT, GPA, and interview performance are all important. Don’t purposely neglect one aspect of your application. Most importantly, don’t neglect yourself in the process.