INTERVIEW
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Not Getting Medical School Interview Offers? Here’s What To Do

Published on
May 2, 2024
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Receiving a medical interview offer is highly rewarding after months of hard work and stress. However, only a few applications get accepted for a medical school interview each year, demonstrating the strongest performance in their educational (ATAR or GPA) and entrance exams (GAMSAT or UCAT).

If your preferenced medical school calls you for an interview,  you ought to congratulate yourself that you have managed to reach the final hurdle in the admission timeline. But having said that, there are always two sides to a coin, i.e., students who succeed in getting an interview offer and those who face medical interview rejection.

Unfortunately, a med school interview rejection can be difficult to accept and even heart-breaking. In fact, a rejection closely resonates with the feeling of failure, which can heavily deteriorate your morale, maybe even making you feel like you want to give up.

But, before you make any rash decision and move off a career in medicine, you need to realise that the road to becoming a doctor is competitive and there are many students, just like you, who could not secure a spot in med school. Remember that being intellectual is not the only driving force to becoming a prospective student or a doctor; resilience, good communication skills and a go-getter mindset are also crucial characteristics.

So giving up is exactly the opposite of what a good doctor would do.

The first step you need to take is to understand what could have prevented you from receiving a GEMSAS interview offer, helping you to then reassess your application. The three main factors that significantly influence the medical school’s decision on interview offers are as follows:

  1. GAMSAT or UCAT scores
  2. GPA and ATAR
  3. Portfolio 
  4. Other Factors - Postgraduate Bonuses 

Improve Your GAMSAT/UCAT Score

One of the most important requirements in most Australian medical schools has to be undertaking the GAMSAT or the UCAT psychometric evaluation, depending upon your degree of qualification. These tests are designed to provide guidance for medical schools to rank suitable candidates whose skills and academic knowledge are not just appropriate for a medical school curriculum but also to flourish in the medical profession.

And whilst we are discussing the reasons behind not receiving a medical interview offer, it is good to reassess the GAMSAT and UCAT scores you achieved. 

Although few med schools completely overlook these entrance exams, like Monash University with regards to the GAMSAT scores, there are other medical schools who consider the GAMSAT or the UCAT to better understand your cognitive abilities like problem-solving, interpretative nature and analytical thinking. 

GAMSAT Score

GAMSAT scores can either be weighted or unweighted, a decision that is based on the medical school’s preference. If you applied to University of Melbourne, University of Queensland and the University of Notre Dame, an average of the three GAMSAT sections is taken into consideration, rather than the overall score, which weights Section 3 twice as much as Section 2 and Section 1.

Now that you understand your score, you need to ensure that your GAMSAT performance matches that of the universities you were applying to. For instance, imagine you chose ANU that considers the unweighted GAMSAT score but performed inadequately in Section 1 and 2, then it is evident that the overall score did not meet the medical school’s threshold and you need to put more focus on strengthening your foundation in verbal reasoning and writing. 

You can draw solid insights from this analysis to also gain meaningful direction to your GAMSAT preparation for the next sitting. Remember that the GAMSAT is a tedious and higher-order intellectual examination, so having a GAMSAT tutor who knows the ropes will help you cover where your performance is currently lacking. Alternatively, you can sign up to a GAMSAT course.

UCAT Score

The UCAT is an aptitude test that is mostly undertaken by Highschool leavers. If you happen to be in this cohort who did not achieve an acceptable UCAT score, we are here to tell you that it is totally acceptable, and in fact, normal. 

The UCAT exam should first not be assumed as a high school test which is rich in content and second, the UCAT evaluates your ability to demonstrate a specific skill-set for a career in health-care, which you are not accustomed to in your high school education. Therefore, the preparation for the UCAT should be highly systematic and focused on improving skill and time management, rather than rote learning heavy concepts.

Similar to what we suggested to improve your GAMSAT score, draw an analysis to understand what is the hardest part about the UCAT exam for YOU. This is going to vary a great deal for  every individual. Some may have difficulty managing their time to finish the exam while others may struggle to use the keyboard shortcuts to navigate efficiently. 

It is essential to segregate the pros and cons before you begin preparation and jot down different factors that influenced your performance on the day of UCAT.

Another vital information that can organize your study is if you take time out to research about your preferenced university’s eligibility requirements. Why is this important you may ask? 

Simply because each undergraduate medical school considers a pre-defined percentage of the UCAT or may not consider it at all during their ranking process. If you are in the know-how about the UCAT requirements, then your study plan can allocate the necessary hours for the UCAT along with other personalised evaluation adopted by the med school, like Newcastle University’s 2-step assessment - Personal Qualities Assessment and Multiple Skills Assessment.

The tutors at Fraser’s have a long-standing reputation for educational excellence in the UCAT space and have mentored many students to achieve a high UCAT score and begin their medical study. So if you are planning on re-taking the UCAT, we recommend you to enrol into our strategy weekend program or sign up with a personalised tutor who can monitor your progress and provide professional advice on how to succeed in the test.

Boost Your Academic Record 

Besides acquiring an acceptable GAMSAT or UCAT score, your academic transcripts should also be sound enough to catch the attention of the medical school.

The ATAR and the GPA scores are crucial indicators to help you transition into the next stage of the medical school selection process and also determine your eligibility to apply via certain pathways.

But what if your academic score does not meet the university expectations? Certainly, you cannot restart high school from scratch or repeat an undergraduate level of study. Instead there are other educational qualifications that you can enrol into and opt into for a different entry pathway into medicine.

For instance, Deakin University offers the ‘Graduate Entry Pathway’ for students who have successfully finished their bachelor’s degree. Additionally, the university also has a kind of alternate entry pathway in the form of postgraduate bonuses for students with:

  1. Prior work experience - 2% added to their GPA and GAMSAT score
  2. Financial disadvantage - 2% added to the GPA and GAMSAT score
  3. Deakin Graduate - 4% added to their combined GPA and GAMSAT score
  4. Rural Applicants - 4% or 8% bonus depending upon your region of residence.

NOTE: You will need to provide credible proof of evidence to gain access to these adjustment factors.

Let us take a look at Griffith University.  

Griffith medical school, and many others, recognise a variety of educational backgrounds and do not restrict students based on an area of study. Basically, if you failed to achieve a minimum GPA score during your bachelor’s degree, then you may consider pursuing a standalone Honours or other key postgraduate degree, such as, Masters by Research, or a PhD.

This is exactly why the team at Fraser’s advocates you to conduct appropriate research on the medical school’s entry requirements before lodging your application. 

Work On Your Portfolio Or Personal Statement

Portfolios and personal statements add great value to your medical school application. Universities such as UNDA and University of Wollongong are interested in the aspects you mention in your portfolio, it is important to write a convincing statement that highlights your interpersonal skills and experiences leading up to becoming a doctor.

If you were unsuccessful at a Notre Dame or UOW interview but your academic transcripts were impressive, it is evident that your internship or work experiences may not have conveyed your key transferable skills to the medical school, or maybe the statement itself was not well-formulated, and had grammatical and syntactical errors. 

Since you are aiming to study at a portfolio university, you need to ensure that the content reflects the kind of attributes that each university is looking for. Also, keep in mind that there is no room for major errors, especially when it comes to displaying your achievements in a clear and concise manner. This is where a portfolio tutoring package can really come in handy.

So begin by diverting your full attention to work on personal development. There is no definite answer on where to start, it can be something as elementary as volunteering or undertaking a health-related internship. Typically, workplace developments also have a positive impact on an individual level, so gaining work experience can help you reflect upon some of your key learnings and implement it into your newly-drafted portfolio. 

Our qualified tutors at Fraser’s know the nitty gritty details of what the portfolio universities expect from their prospective students. Hence, our portfolio courses are also modified to meet the requirements of these medical schools. 

Where To Next?

The purpose of this article was to shed light on areas that you could work on to receive a medical interview offer in the next admission cycle. 

Remember you only get a call back for an interview depending upon your academic records, so do your best to refine your academic position. Since you have to motivate yourself to restart the admissions process yet again, we recommend you to enrol into our UCAT or GAMSAT prep courses. In this way, you’ll be able to maintain focus with the benefit from studying with peers.  

Our course packages provide a holistic approach to learning the UCAT and GAMSAT concepts with like-minded people, and you will see results in the improvement of your overall score.

Once your medical school application looks presentable and promising, now it boils down to whether you are a good communicator and possess the non-cognitive skills to make your mark in the medical interview and future practice!