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UCAT Medicine: Undergraduate Medical Admissions & Entry Requirements 2023-2024

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If you’re interested in getting into an undergraduate medical school, then you’ll almost certainly need to sit the UCAT ® exam as it’s one of the key entry requirements for most undergraduate pathway medical schools around Australia. This article aims to provide you an overview of where the UCAT ® exam fits into the medical school admissions process, which medical schools use the UCAT ® exam, what UCAT ® cutoff scores you’ll need, and more.

Sitting the UCAT for Medicine

The UCAT ® or the University Clinical Aptitude Test is a computer-based standardised test designed as an essential criterion for medical school entry via the undergraduate pathway. Your UCAT ® score is used by the Australia and New Zealand consortium of universities for medical, dental and sometimes clinical science degree programmes. The test is designed to assess aspiring medical and dental students and select those with the most appropriate abilities and behaviours required to succeed in these professions.

The UCAT ® exam is one of the mandatory entry requirements for many undergraduate-entry medical schools in Australia. To successfully earn a spot, candidates generally need to have displayed excellence in three separate avenues.

  • Academics: This is most commonly the ATAR score that you receive at the end of your secondary education, but academic excellence can also be measured via a GPA score or Course Weighted Average score (WAM) if you’ve commenced tertiary study. This pillar of the entry requirements exists to assess whether candidates can deal with the high workload and lifelong learning requirements inherent in a medical or dental profession. It is important to note that many undergraduate universities are placing less emphasis on this section and are focusing more on the UCAT and medical school interviews process.

  • UCAT ® Exam: This entry exam is an aptitude test designed to check whether candidates have the skills and techniques required by healthcare professionals. This ranges from reading comprehension, mental mathematics, pattern recognition and logical reasoning.

  • Interview: The interview requires candidates to respond to various styles of questions, most often in a face-to-face setting. It can be structured in many different ways from a 30 minute panel interview to a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format where candidates may need to cycle between 5-10 short stations (approximately 8-10 minutes per station). Overall, the interview is designed to assess the professionalism and ethics of aspiring medical students.

Note that the undergraduate pathway is not the only pathway into medical school - The Graduate pathway (which uses the GAMSAT ® exam ) is another option. For further details, review our guide to medical pathways here.

Undergraduate Medicine & the UCAT

Where does the UCAT Exam fit into the medical admissions process?

As mentioned previously, the UCAT ® exam is a computerised assessment that students complete in their final year of secondary education (i.e. year 12) or in their early university years. It is one of the three important components of the process of getting into medical school, alongside academics and interview. The way that these components work together differs from university to university and are summarised in the table below.

How Hard is the UCAT exam?

Considering the value of your performance on the UCAT ® exam as essentially representing ⅓ of the medical entry criteria, it’s often recommended that students approach the UCAT ® exam with an extensive amount of preparation equivalent to how they’d approach the ATAR in year 12. In fact, as more universities place more emphasis on the UCAT than academics, your preparation should be focused even more so on the UCAT. This is coupled with the fact that you cannot sit the UCAT ® exam earlier in year 11 as a practice run. The exam is only available to students in their final year of secondary education, or to those who have completed year 12.

Many tutors recommend starting your preparation for the UCAT ® exam 6-9 months prior to the actual exam. Since exams are generally scheduled annually in July, this would mean that you should consider commencing your preparation around December of the previous year. This provides you with plenty of time to improve your skills through consistent UCAT ® study. Don’t fret though if you’re starting later than this, you can make up for this by increasing your frequency of study. For further tips, review our guide to preparing for the UCAT ® exam.

Which Universities Use the UCAT exam?

As mentioned above, the UCAT ® exam is a key admissions requirement for undergraduate-entry medicine as well as a host of other healthcare degrees, such as dentistry. As such, there is a long list of universities in Australia and New Zealand that use the UCAT ® exam as part of the entry criteria. A list has been provided below - Note that each of these universities use your UCAT ® score in a different way, with further details provided later on in this guide.

New South Wales

Victoria

Western Australia

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

New Zealand

Which Universities don’t require the UCAT?

Students often wonder how to get into medicine without sitting the UCAT ® exam, or with a low UCAT ® score, since the exam is challenging. There are only a handful of universities which do not require the UCAT ® exam.

  • University of Sydney

  • Bond University

  • James Cook University

  • Melbourne University

University Degree ATAR Information Interview Information Other Information
University of Sydney Undergraduate degree + MD 99.95 ATAR minimum - unless special circumstances eg. EAS scheme Written assessment
Panel interview
Interview offers are given based on 99.95 ATAR only. Final offers are given based on interview performance.

THIS IS A PROVISIONAL ENTRY COURSE: Candidates must maintain a weighted average mean of 65.0 (out of 100) throughout their undergraduate degree to progress to MD. Candidates who have an ATAR of 99.95 will also be eligible for the Vice Chancellor’s scholarship, and the candidate will require a weighted average mean of 75.0 to maintain this.
Bond University BMedSt + MD 96+ ATAR minimum

38+ IB minimum
MMI (Multiple Mini Interview)

Bond University has a Bachelor of Medical Studies program that is open to Year 12 school leavers and students who have finished an undergraduate program. This is a 2-part Medical Program with the Bachelor of Medical Studies followed by a Doctor of Medicine. Enrolments in Bond University are strictly limited and often have much higher course fees (approximately $400,000). Candidates need to have strong academic results and meet all the subject prerequisites. They also need to sit a psychometric test and pass an interview before they are successful. Psychometric testing will be offered to those who meet the ATAR cutoff, and then individuals will be selected for the interview process from their ATAR and psychometric scores.

James Cook University MBBS No specified minimum

87.5 previous ATAR minimum

98.55 previous ATAR mean
MMI (Multiple Mini Interview)

James Cook has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program that is open to Year 12 school leavers. James Cook requires high academic scores, a special application and an interview before candidates can pass through into medical school. The MBBS course is often very competitive due to its high prestige. Interview offers are given based on ATAR and a DIRECT WRITTEN APPLICATION to the university in addition to QTAC. It is speculated that JCU receives around 3000+ written applications a year and only 900 interviews are sent out.

Melbourne University Undergraduate degree + MD 99.00+ ATAR
(full-fee)

99.90+ ATAR
(CSP)
MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) THIS IS A PROVISIONAL ENTRY COURSE: Once entry requirements are met, and an ATAR of 99.0+ (full-fee) or 99.90+ (commonwealth supported place) is achieved, and the candidate maintains a weighted average mean of 75.0 (out of 100) throughout their undergraduate degree, they are GUARANTEED an interview for the MD program.

Do You Need the UCAT for Graduate Medicine?

It’s important to remember that the undergraduate pathway is not the only way into medical school - For students who have a low UCAT ® score, the graduate-entry pathway is another option for aspiring medical students.

For this pathway, students must have completed an undergraduate degree with a high GPA (the exact requirements for this changes for each university), similar to how a strong ATAR score is required for the undergraduate pathway. However, the UCAT ® exam is not a requirement - You’ll need to sit the GAMSAT ® exam instead. The GAMSAT ® exam is another standardised exam designed to assess the capacity of aspiring medical students to perform in clinical situations. It’s required for most graduate entry medical degrees in Australia as well as a suite of graduate entry dentistry, clinical science, podiatry and optometry courses. Review our other guide to read more about the comparison between the UCAT ® vs GAMSAT ® exam. Review our separate guide to get a greater breakdown of the different medical school pathways.

UCAT Medical Admissions Timeline

An important list of UCAT ® 2023 dates and UCAT ® medicine deadline can be found below:

Concession Scheme opens
Access Arrangements open
1 February 2023
Booking Opens 1 March 2023
Concession application deadline 10 May 2023
Access Arrangements application deadline 17 May 2023
Booking Deadline 17 May 2023
Late booking deadline 31 May 2023
FINAL late booking deadline 5 June 2023
Cancellation deadline 10 June 2023
Testing begins 3 July 2023
Last testing date 11 August 2023
Results delivered to universities by early September 2023

The UCAT ® exam is usually set during the month of July every year, in preparation for the medical admissions cycle in the following year.

UCAT Medical Schools - Admission Requirements

University Degree ATAR Information UCAT ® Information UCAT ® Cut Off 2022 (guide) Interview Information Prerequisites

University of Adelaide
(Direct)

BMedSt + MD Minimum ATAR of 90
Median ATAR of 99.35

33+ IB minimum

40% of total consideration
20% of total consideration Non-Rural

96th (interstate)
72nd (South Australian applicants)

Rural
56th
Panel - 40% of total consideration

Final offers will be considered based on a combined score consisting of 40% ATAR weighting, 40% interview weighting, and 20% UCAT ® weighting (cognitive subsets only)
One of Chemistry, Maths or Biology

Central Queensland University
(Provisional - 7 years)

Undergraduate degree + MD Minimum ATAR of 95 UCAT ® ANZ aggregate score from first 4 sections Non-Rural

86th (Queensland applicants)
96th (interstate)

Rural

35th (local)
44th (interstate)
MMI English

Western Sydney University/Charles Sturt University
(Direct - Joint Program in Medicine)

BClinSci + MD Need to meet relevant academic threshold

Non Greater Western Sydney: ATAR of 95.5 or equivalent

Greater Western Sydney: ATAR of 93.5 or equivalent

91.5 ATAR for rural applicants

38+ IB general applicant

36+ IB local applicant

25% UCAT ® Performance

Different sections are differently weighed - heavy emphasis on Verbal Reasoning (Usually scaled score of 750+)
Non-Rural
Countrywide
96th

Greater Western Sydney
90th

Rural
62nd
MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) and MAQ questionnaire

75% of consideration based on Interview Performance
None

Curtin University
(Direct)

MBBS Minimum ATAR of 95 UCAT ® ANZ required Non-Rural
TBC for 2022
88th for 2021

Rural
TBC for 2022
88th for 2021
MMI
Once a candidate’s ATAR meets the given threshold, they are ranked based on a combined UCAT ® (40%) and ATAR (60%) score, and then offered an interview.
English, Chemistry

Flinders University
(Direct)

BClinSci + MD 90% Academic Results - no minimum ATAR 10% UCAT ® section 1-4 only TBA for 2022 No interview None

Griffith University
(Provisional - 6 years)

BMedSci + MD Minimum Academic Requirements must be met High rank required TBA for 2022 Pass interview English

Monash University
(Direct)

BMedSci + MD Minimum 90 ATAR UCAT ® Non-Rural

TBC for 2022
93rd (UCAT ® only)
90 (UCAT ® and ATAR)

Rural
TBC for 2022
59th for 2021
MMI style interview
Selection depends on UCAT ® and Monash University
The final offer is based on a combined score consisting of 33% ATAR, 33% UCAT ® cognitive subsets and 33% interview. The UCAT ® SJT may be used to differentiate similar candidates.
English, Chemistry

University of Newcastle and University of New England
(Direct - Joint Medical Program)

BMedSc + MD Minimum ATAR for urban high-school is 94.30

Minimum ATAR for rural high-school is 91.40
Interview invitation based on marks in UCAT ® section 1-4 Non-Rural

95th

Rural

55th
Previously Non-COVID (prior 2020):

PQA (Online assessment)

MSA (In-person interview)

Multiple skills assessment (8 stations and then an online test)

Due to COVID (for 2022 entry):

MSA (Online interview) and no PQA
None

University of New South Wales
(Direct)

BMedSci + MD Minimum ATAR of 96.00

(97.21 minimum entry 2021)

38+ IB minimum
Overall UCAT ® ANZ

Need more than 50th percentile

Situational Judgement not considered
Non-Rural

TBC for 2022
94th for 2021

Rural
57th
Panel - Interview score required and scores are not averaged

Interview offers will be made based on ATAR and UCAT ® results and a final offer will be made based on performance across all three categories of ATAR, UCAT ® , and interview results.
English

University of Queensland
(Provisional - 7 years)

Undergraduate degree + MD Minimum ATAR of 95.00 (25% of total consideration) Competitive UCAT ®
(25% of total consideration)
Non-Rural

96th

Rural

56th
Successful Multiple Mini Interview (50% of total consideration) English

University of Tasmania
(Direct)

BMedsci + MD Minimum ATAR of 95.00
Significantly higher ATAR needed for entry
Greater than or equal to 50th percentile
Score based on first 4 sections
TBA No interview English, Chemistry

University of Western Australia
(Provisional - 6 Years)

Undergraduate degree + MD Minimum ATAR of 99 for non-rural

Minimum ATAR for rural is 96
Applications based on UCAT ® score Non-Rural

TBC for 2022
88th for 2021

Rural
TBC for 2022
88th for 2021
Interview is a modified MMI format

Final offers are given based on a combined score consisting of 40% ATAR, 40% interview, 20% UCAT ® results. These weightings are different for rural applicants.
English

University of Auckland
(Direct)

BHSc or BSc + MBChB Need to meet academic merit Need competitive UCAT ® ANZ No Cut Off Need to show desirable personal qualities during MMI style interview

Final offers will be based on 60% first year GPA, 15% UCAT ® score, and 25% MMI interview.
Must apply as a first year university student studying health sciences with several courses (or equivalent) as pre-requisite. See their website for more information

University of Otago
(Direct)

BHSc + MBChB Need to get >70% on each paper Need to score high in all 5 UCAT ® sections No Cut Off Panel - Interview required if you already have professional health experience Must apply as a first year university student studying health sciences with several courses (or equivalent) as pre-requisite. See their website for more information

UCAT Entry Pathways

University Pathways Non-Standard Entry
University of Adelaide
  1. School Leaver
  2. Internal University Course Transfer
  3. Rural Entry
  4. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
The only pathway for tertiary students is if they commence study at Adelaide University and MUST be within 2 years of tertiary study. Otherwise this is only for school leavers.
Curtin University
  1. School Leaver
  2. Internal University Course Transfer
  3. Rural Entry
The only pathway for tertiary students is if they commence study at Curtin Uni and are not in their final year of study. Otherwise this is only for school leavers.
UNSW
  1. School Leaver
  2. Non-standard
  3. Internal BMedSci Course Transfer (Lateral Entry Scheme)
  4. Rural Entry
  5. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
  6. Gateway Entry
Open to tertiary students
University of Queensland (Provisional)
  1. School leaver
  2. Graduate Entry
  3. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
  4. Rural entry
None
Flinders University (Provisional)
  1. School leaver
  2. Graduate Entry
  3. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
  4. Rural Entry
None
Central Queensland University (Provisional)
  1. School leaver
  2. Graduate Entry
  3. Rural Entry
  4. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
None
Monash University
  1. School Leaver
  2. Gap-year students
  3. Graduate Entry
  4. Rural Entry
  5. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
Within 2 years of completion of ATAR, no commencement of tertiary studies
University of Newcastle and University of New England
  1. School Leaver
  2. Non-standard
  3. Rural Entry
  4. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
Open to tertiary students
University of Western Sydney and Charles sturt university
  1. School Leaver
  2. Non-standard
  3. Rural Entry
  4. Greater Western Sydney consideration
  5. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
Open to tertiary students
University of Tasmania
  1. School Leaver
  2. Non-standard
  3. Rural Entry
  4. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
Open to tertiary students
Griffith Medicine (Provisional)
  1. School leaver
  2. Gap year students
  3. Rural Entry
  4. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
ATAR can be used for up to 3 years, no commencement of tertiary studies
University of Western Australia (Provisional)
  1. School leaver
  2. Gap year students
  3. Graduate Entry
  4. Rural Entry
  5. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Entry
None

What UCAT Score do I need for medicine?

The UCAT ® exam is made of 5 subtests and your final scaled score is a score out of 3600 for the first 4 sections ( Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning ) and a scaled score out of 900 for Situational Judgement. These scores are based on the performance of the cohort. The UCAT ® percentile is how high these scores rank among other people taking the UCAT ® in the same year. A rough guide to the UCAT ® score cut-offs is shown in the table above. In general, to be competitive you should be aiming for the 95th+ percentile.

For more information about UCAT ® scores and how they work, visit our Definitive Guide to UCAT ® Results.

What are My Options to Study Medicine If I Got a Low UCAT Score?

There are many options for prospective students. One option offered by some universities (such as Curtin University) is the ability to transfer courses into medicine. This course transfer involves the completion of 200 credits within one year, a course weighted average of 80% and a completed UCAT ® ANZ test. Successful students will transfer directly into undergraduate medicine in the first year. See the above table - UCAT ® Entry Pathways for more information

Another option is to take a gap year and then re-attempt the UCAT ® ANZ. This is preferred for those students that performed well in the ATAR but poorly in the UCAT ® exam. Since UCAT ® exam results are only valid for one year, repeating the UCAT ® exam is a highly regarded option for these candidates. Depending on your medical school of interest, you can also commence a different undergraduate degree, and sit the UCAT ® exam in your first year of university - That way you’ll also have a back-up option if you’re unsuccessful. Note that this depends on the medical schools you’re interested in as some do not permit entry once you’ve commenced any tertiary study.

Finally there is also the graduate pathway to consider - The Graduate pathway (which uses the GAMSAT ® exam ) is another option for students who have completed an undergraduate degree. For further details, review our guide to medical pathways.

Undergraduate Medical Interviews

Alongside the UCAT ® exam, students will generally need to go through undergraduate medical interviews before they can finally be accepted into medical school. Undergraduate medical interviews are split into multiple different types that differ between each university. There are multiple different formats such as the MMI (multiple mini interview) , multiple skills assessment and long form semi-structured traditional panel format.

An MMI is a multiple mini interview, where candidates will travel between multiple stations answering questions on multiple scenarios or questions. This provides assessors with a view of all the qualities possessed by aspiring candidates and gives them a good idea as to which candidates they should choose to be their next batch of future doctors.

The following table showcases the typical layout of interviews for each university

University Type of Interview Time per Station Number of Stations
Bond University MMI 7 minutes 8
CSU MMI 10 minutes 4
Curtin University MMI 8 minutes 8
Griffith University MMI 7 minutes 8
Monash University MMI 10 minutes 8
University of Newcastle and New England MMI 8 minutes 8
UQ MMI 9 minutes 8
UWA MMI 11 minutes 8
WSU MMI 8 minutes 10
University of Auckland MMI 8 minutes 8
James Cook University Semi Structured ~15 minutes 3
UNSW Semi Structured 40 minutes Panel
University of Adelaide Mix of MMI and Semi-Structured 15 minutes 2

To excel in an interview, candidates require 2 key qualities; Professional Behaviour and Ethical Behaviour. Each case or question requires thinking in both a professional manner and an ethical one. A candidate needs to demonstrate their thinking and attributes that would make them a valuable asset as a medical student and future doctor.

Undergraduate Medicine Place Types

Now that you understand the importance of the UCAT ® exam for the undergraduate medical school application process,it’s important to review the different types of undergraduate medicine places so you can take this into consideration while choosing between medical schools.

Bonded Medical Place (BMP)

The Bonded Medical Program offers bonded medical places to students, which often have lower entry scores and are therefore ‘easier’ to get. In return, bonded participants commit to work in an eligible regional, rural and remote area for 3 years after they complete their course. This is called a ‘return of service obligation’. In line with funding requirements, these places make up 28.5% of overall domestic places for Medicine. For further details, it’s highly recommended you review the Australian Government guidelines here

Unbonded / Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)

These Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) make up most domestic places for undergraduate medicine. Like a BMP place, these are substantially subsidised by the Australian Government, so students only pay a contribution, but there is no return of service obligation. It’s important to note that the Student Learning Entitlement was introduced from the start of 2022, limiting students to 7 years of full-time subsidised study in Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP). Australian citizens and permanent residents may utilise HECS-HELP to pay their upfront fees

Full Fee-Paying Place (FFP)

These are places which are not subsidised by the Australian government and require the student to pay the entirety of the fees upfront. FFPs are generally only available for international students or postgraduate entries, with some exceptions such as Bond University.

Direct Undergraduate Entry

Direct entry into undergraduate medicine is where candidates will enter their medical degree in their first year of tertiary study. Often these courses are shorter in total length but require candidates to start medicine from day 1 of university. For some, it’s the preferred option due to shorter total length.

The universities offering these places include:

  • Charles Sturt University

  • Curtin University

  • James Cook University

  • University of Newcastle and University of New England

  • University of New South Wales

  • University of Tasmania

  • Western Sydney University and Charles Sturt University

  • Bond University

Assured Pathway (Provisional) Entry

On the other hand, the Assured Pathway entry, also called Provisional entry, is where candidates essentially “reserve” their spot in medicine as a graduate student. They must complete an undergraduate degree of a minimum 3 years bachelor and then are able to complete a graduate medical degree, provided that they maintain a certain level of grades, often in the form of a minimum GPA. These “reservations” are generally based on your UCAT ® score, ATAR and interviews at the time of application following the completion of your secondary education.

The universities offering these places include:

  • University of Sydney

  • University of Western Australia

  • University of Queensland and Central Queensland University

  • University of Melbourne

  • Griffith University

  • Flinders

Further Resources

Now that you understand the importance of UCAT ® for medicine, it’s time to start preparing for the exam. The below free resources might be helpful:

  1. UCAT ® 2023
    Everything you need to know about UCAT ® 2023, from UCAT registration and UCAT 2023 dates to the answer to the question ‘How hard is UCAT 2023?’.
  2. What is the UCAT ® ?
    An introduction to the UCAT ® exam including which universities require the UCAT ®
  3. Pathways to Medicine
    A guide on how to become a doctor in Australia, with an overview of the different pathways.
  4. Australian Medical Schools Overview
    An overview of Australian Medical Schools, both undergraduate and graduate, with details on the course and entry criteria for each medical school.
  5. UCAT ® Abstract Reasoning
    An overview of what to expect from UCAT ® Abstract Reasoning and how to prepare.
  6. UCAT ® Quantitative Reasoning
    An overview of what to expect from UCAT ® Quantitative Reasoning and how to prepare.
  7. UCAT ® Situational Judgement
    An overview of what to expect from UCAT ® Situational Judgement and how to prepare.
  8. UCAT ® Decision Making
    An overview of what to expect from UCAT ® Decision Making and how to prepare.
  9. UCAT ® Verbal Reasoning
    An overview of what to expect from UCAT ® Verbal Reasoning and how to prepare.